Funeral service for Wanda Jeanne Vann Homes-Syed, 76, Lawrence, will be 12:30 Tuesday April 23, 2013, at Calvary Church of God in Christ. Burial will follow at Oak Hill cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wanda Jeanne Vann Homes-Syed Memorial Fund, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.
IN CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF WANDA JEANNE VANN HOMES-SYED
Wanda Jeanne Vann was born October 26, 1936 in Mound City, Kansas to Olaf Vann and P. Aberta I. Bonner Vann, the eldest sibling of Olan L. “Pete” and Rose Marie. It was evident even then Wanda was something special. She and her siblings enjoyed a rich upbringing, as the family they were blessed into was a family of believers in Jesus Christ. As such, Wanda flourished and was reared in the fear and admonition of The Lord. Wanda began her ministry as a psalmist early in life singing in the church, and as a minister, in that, she was an inspiration not only to her family, which was and remains quite large but to anyone who got to know her. To know her was to love her.
Wanda attended and graduated from High School here in Lawrence and began taking college courses. But, life and love called one summer while she was visiting her mother’s sister, Aunt Ruth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wanda fell in love and married Lern Alexander Homes, who predeceased her in 1985. The love these two shared was great and Lerna Jeanne Homes and Harvey Alexander Homes were born. Wanda and her family lived in Queens, New York by this time. Although Wanda Jeanne was a loving wife and a truly doting and spanking mother, she never lost her love of singing. As a result she began to sing at many well known venues in and around New York. It wasn’t long before the secular world learned what the Body of Christ in Kansas and surrounding areas already knew, she was gifted.
In the mid 60’s Wanda Jeanne co-wrote a song called “Let Me Know” with Leon Pegosi and “Joya Landis” was born. Almost immediately she was asked to come to the island of Jamaica, West Indies to record a couple of songs and see what happened. Well, if you can access “itunes”, the internet and Google, then you would know that those couple of little dittys became extrordinary hits in the islands, states and abroad. Currently, those same songs can be purchased in a variety of venues and are included in many “Greatest Hits” compilations distributed by various labels.
Wanda’s heart was torn between her love of music and her family. Despite her success in music, she chose her family over fame and fortune, a choice many mothers today would not make. But she recognized the need to “be there” for her family, especially, her children. She was an outstanding mother, instilling the love of The Lord into her children. Her love of children didn’t stop with her own, so one day as she was riding the elevator in her building she met a girl, Francine, who had a brother, Freddy and a love affair began. Though Francine and Freddy had parents who loved them, Joya still became their adopted mother, a relationship as mother and child that has endured more than 42 years and remained in tact until her death. Joya’s love of music and her love of The Lord remained a constant so she married the two and began to sing at churches and religious functions throughout the country. That way she could use her gift and still live a life she could be proud of.
Her life and love brought her back home to Lawrence, Kansas to care for her ailing mother who was able to recuperate fully. That was when she met the family that would become hers until her departure to Glory, Calvary Church of God in Christ, Elder William Dulin, Pastor. That devine connection gave rise to the fundraising concert that produced the finishing of a portion of the basement of Calvary that remains to this day. After returning to New York, moving to California and then back to Lawrence to care for her beloved brother “Pete” who ultimately succumbed to illness and passed away in 1999, “Wanda” reemerged. Sadly, in 2000 and again in 2001 both Olaf and Alberta passed away, leaving Wanda and Rose to continue the legacy of God and family. Wanda remained in Lawrence and was a vital member of the community where she also continued her love of children, working at Southwest Junior High School, and was always an inspiration to her students and collegues alike. Besides family and dear friends, she also embraced her church family at Calvary Church of God in Christ and Barack Obama. She was thrilled to see his Presidency in her lifetime and was an ardent supporter. You may not agree with her politics but you couldn’t find fault in her walk with The Lord.
Whether you knew her as Wanda, Joya or the combination you were blessed because she shared her truest, greatest love, her love for God. She remained a faithful warrior of the Cross until her death on April 17, 2013. She passed peacefully, as the saints of God most often do.
Wanda Jeanne Vann Homes-Syed is survived by her baby sister, Rose Marie Vann Armstrong and her brother in law Ronald Armstrong, her daughter, Lerna Jeanne Homes Galbreith Conner, and her son, Harvey Alexander Homes, daughter in law Faye Homes. Grandchildren Danesha N.Galbreith Nichols and her husband Tyrone G. Nichols, Alyson F. Homes Griffin and her husband Thomas Griffin, Derek Amaire Galbreith, Jana J. Homes, Matthew A. Homes and his wife Courtney, great grandchildren, Alaneon Ford, Alyssa Ford, Avery Nichols, the triplets; Nathanael Nichols, Morgan Nichols, Kennedy Nichols, Kennedi Homes and the anticipated London Griffin. Additionally, sons-in-law Derek L. Galbreith and Billy C. Conner Jr, the children of Francine, Freddy, the children of Thomas Griffin, the children of Billy C. Conner Jr. are “her babies” and were loved by her dearly. There are a host of cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews and extended family that survive her and grieve. Further, the community, friends, merchants and all who have had the priviledge of knowing her grieve with the family.
Wanda Jeanne Vann Homes-Syed left this plane of cosciousness to be with The Lord whom she adored but she left her mark on all our hearts and Joya Landis left her mark on music. Though Wanda is no more until we reunite with her in “that great getting up morning” Joya Landis is a keystroke away making her voice immortal, fitting since she put on immortality when she exchanged this life for life everlasting. Remember always, God loves you and so does she.