Jacqueline Eaves, who worked as a housekeeping manager in the Facilities Department at Virginia Tech for 28 years, died Feb. 2.
She began working at Virginia Tech in 1984 as a housekeeper at former University President William Lavery’s residence. In a short period, she was promoted to a supervisor, and when she retired in 2012, she was a housekeeping manager, managing 70 employees and 1.5 million square feet of academic space.
During her career, she encouraged her staff and promoted their professional development so employees could improve themselves to become better housekeepers and supervisors. Eaves was well-known on campus and in the local community for her passion for helping others.
She was involved with many civic organizations including the NAACP, Odd Fellow’s Hall renovation committee, and the Montgomery County Office on Youth. Eaves was a 4-H leader and worked with the Girl Scouts. She was part of the first Girl Scout troop to integrate in the 1960s.
On several occasions, she organized and promoted food drives for the Montgomery County Food Bank. She also organized efforts to obtain school supplies for several regional elementary schools.
She was also a lifelong member of St. Paul AME Church in Blacksburg where she held many offices and served on many boards. She held many positions for the African Methodist Church’s annual Virginia Conference and was a life member of the Virginia Missionary Society.
At Virginia Tech and in the community, Eaves was well known for her commitment to diversity and appreciated for her thoughts on how to provide a more inclusive environment.
Her colleagues knew her as a staunch advocate of the Christiansburg Institute, a school that was founded in 1866 in Christiansburg, Virginia, to educate freed slaves. She graduated from the school in 1964 and served as president of the institute’s alumni board for more than 20 years.
At Virginia Tech, she served as a member and past president of the Staff Association for Facilities Employees, was a member of the President’s Award for Excellence Committee in 2000, was involved with the university’s restructuring efforts in 2006-2008 as a member of the Employee Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Division of Administrative Service’s Council from 2009-2012.
She was nominated for the 1997 President’s Award for Excellence and in 2009 received the Virginia Tech Staff Leadership Award.
She is survived by her daughter Karen Eaves, of Blacksburg; her parents. Walter and Myrtle Lewis, of Blacksburg; her sisters, Marilyn Saunders (Paul), of Fairborn, Ohio, Vera Worthy (Richard), of New Castle, Delaware, and Sheila Bradshaw (Harold), of Lakewood Ranch, Florida; her brothers, Walter Lewis Jr. (Bobbi), of Antioch, Tennessee, and James Lewis (Linda), of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; aunt Catherine Delay, of Radford, Virginia; and her special children and grandchildren, Corina Clark, Patra Clark, Regina Wingo, Sidra Jones, Angela Woodard, Annetta Watson, Stacy Eaves, Taylon Jessie, Zaylee Brown, and Zion Chinnery. She also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.