Dr. Margaret Virginia Jolley, 93, was born in Morgan City on Sept. 13, 1920, and died Sunday afternoon, May 11, 2014, at Thibodaux Healthcare Center.
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Visitation for the dean and professor emerita of home economics will be from 8:30 a.m. until funeral time Monday at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on the Nicholls campus. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the church, with burial in Morgan City Cemetery.
She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews; great-nieces and nephews; and great-great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Homer Jolley and Frances Shannon Jolley; and siblings, Elizabeth Jolley Delahaye, Hannah Jolley Comerford, Barbara Jolley Joy, and Dr. Homer R. Jolley.
Dr. Jolley, who in 1974 became Nicholls State University's first woman academic dean, was dean of the Nicholls College of Life Sciences and Technology at the time of her retirement in 1977. In addition to home economics, the department she established in 1961, the college consisted of the departments of agriculture, biological sciences, engineering technology, and nursing and allied health technology.
"Margaret was an ideal citizen and a community leader," said Dr. Bonnie Bourg, a long-time close friend and Nicholls professor and dean of academic affairs emerita. "She was a wonderful friend, a good person, a devout Catholic, and well-rounded academically and socially."
Early in her career, Dr. Jolley was a high school teacher, an LSU Ag Extension nutritionist and a Louisiana Department of Education supervisor. She was president of the Louisiana Home Economics Association from 1964 to 1966.
A graduate of Central Catholic High School in Morgan City, she received a B.S. degree cum laude from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1940, an M.A. from Teacher's College at Columbia University in 1950, and a D.Ed. from Oklahoma State University in 1970. She also studied briefly at the University of Arkansas and the University of Colorado.
She worked for five years for the LSU Cooperative Extension Service, most of them as district agent for 17 parishes in southeast Louisiana. For two years she was a State Department of Education supervisor of adult home economics education. In 1961 she started the Nicholls home economics department, which she headed for 14 years until she became an academic dean.
She helped plan the university's cafeteria building, then known as Acadia Hall, and established several two-year and four-year degrees as well as Nicholls day-care and pre-school laboratory programs.
In the early 1940s, she taught at Chataignier (Evangeline Parish) and Brusly high schools and from 1955 to 1960 at Morgan City High School. Later, she was active in more than a dozen professional, civic, and religious organizations. In 1974, she chaired a committee of the American Home Economics Association. In the mid-1960s, she served on the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women and on the Morgan City Planning Commission.
She was a member of several honorary organizations, including Delta Kappa Gamma, Omicron Nu, Pi Lambda Theta, Kappa Delta Pi, and Alpha Lambda Theta. USL in 1960 recognized her as Distinguished Alumna in Home Economics. In 1966 she served as president of the Bayou Woman's Club of Thibodaux.
In 1958 she was grand regent of Catholic Daughters Court Massabielle No. 1134. From 1972 to 1973 she was an officer on the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Council at Nicholls.
In retirement, Dr. Jolley lived in Thibodaux, taught catechists, and was a St. Thomas Aquinas Eucharistic minister and lector. She assisted in founding the Marian Servants of the Word in Thibodaux and for about six years was a member of the service committee of the Bayou River Region Chapter of Magnificat.
Landry's Funeral Home in Thibodaux is in charge of arrangements.
Landry's Funeral Home - Thibodaux
821 Canal Blvd. P.O. Box 470
Thibodaux, LA 70301
Published in Houma Today & The Daily Comet from May 14 to May 16, 2014