Beloved library supervisor dies

The Sweet Briar community said goodbye this week to Thelma Banks Jordan, the College’s longtime interlibrary loan supervisor, who passed away on Friday, Oct. 24.

Jordan first came to Sweet Briar in October 1954. She worked in the Information Center, taking brief times off for the births of her children, Veronica and Tyrone. In September of 1962 she began working at Mary Helen Cochran Library.

Thelma JordanJordan supported generations of students and faculty in their research, and has been acknowledged in numerous books and articles for the invaluable services she provided. She also was a mother to many students, providing advice, counsel and motivation to achieve success. In 2005 she received the Student Government Association Award for Excellence in Service.

Director of libraries and integrated information systems John Jaffe, who has worked with Jordan since he arrived at the College in 1979, spoke at her funeral Tuesday at St. Peter’s Baptist Church in Clifford.

“She was the most constant and regular presence in the library and in many people’s lives for years,” Jaffe said. “That smile and greeting the first thing in the morning can make anyone do wonders.”

In addition to Jordan’s warmth and the wisdom she shared freely with the many student workers she supervised, he described the pride she took in a job well done. As the interlibrary loan supervisor, Jordan would locate a library that had whatever the researcher needed — be it a book somewhere in Virginia or a manuscript at the Vatican in Rome — and deliver the material to the student or faculty member. And she did it even when they weren’t sure what they were looking for, Jaffe said.

“Thelma would make sure of exactly what was needed and provide it, no matter how slight the clues were.”

Among those who preceded Jordan in death were her husband, Roger, and daughter, Veronica Rene Jordan. Her son, Tyrone Anthony Jordan of Washington, D.C., survives her, along with a sister, brother, aunt and many nieces, nephews, other family and friends.

An obituary is published online in the News & Advance.