Vesta Rea (Melton) McClinton, also known as “Vess,” was born in Katy, Texas to the parentage of Frank Sr. and Bessie Bell (Coverson) Melton on February 6, 1930. She was the baby girl and the eleventh of thirteen children to this union. She attended public schools in Houston and Almeda, Texas. After graduating from Jack Yates High School in 1948, she attended a business college in Houston where she acquired the skill of typing and short hand along with other business skills.
Sister Vesta obeyed the gospel after a tent meeting held in Houston, Texas by the late Brother R. N. Hogan in 1939. She was happy to say, “I’ve been running every since I made a start,” and the journey gets “sweeter as the years go by.” She looked forward to “exchanging her cross for a crown, which will be worth it all”.
She met the late, and affectionately called, “Apostle of Sound Doctrine”, Jacob McClinton, Sr. in January of 1949, as he was en route to Fort Worth, Texas to attend the Southern Bible Institute where the late Brother G.P. Bowser was president. After many letters, a few phone calls, and visits, she and Jacob Sr. were married at the Third Ward Church of Christ in Houston, Texas on June 25, 1950. She lovingly called him “Brother,” and he called her, “Sis.” They moved to Denver, Colorado where he preached at the Williams Street congregation. They then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana in October of 1951, and it was there where she began working with the ladies for Southwestern Christian College in a caring and fervent way. On January 8, 1952, they welcomed their first child Sherrie. In December of the following year, Jacob, Jr was born. Two years later, their youngest son, Johnathan was born.
In January of 1959, they moved to Youngstown, Ohio where they encouraged the sisters there to begin a chapter for SwCC and it grew into what was called the “United Fund Workers” of Ohio for Christian education. While growing the UFW organization, their baby girl, Candace was born on September 17, 1962. Sis. Vesta was chosen as the National Dinner Day Coordinator for Ohio. Before moving back to Texas in 1975, she was selected as the State Chair Lady of the United Fund Workers. These were opportunities that she treasured and enjoyed. They were a part of the “good ole days.”
God had well prepared Sis.Vesta for the greatest change made in her life on November 23, 1974, where her husband was suddenly killed in an auto accident while en route to SwCC for the lectureship, which they joyfully attended annually. She viewed the Lectureship as a “foretaste of Heaven.” The death of her husband led her to seek employment at SwCC. They needed another dormitory supervisor, and she was happy to accept the position so long as she could be a part of the college. She worked along with Sis. Ona Franklin at that time. Sis.Vesta said, “If SwCC would cease to exist, a great portion of my life would be taken away. I love the ground on which it stands.” Though she retired as a part of the staff, she continued to live there, assisting, encouraging, and upholding the morals of the college. Thus, she could say that, “I, too, am Southwestern Christian College.”
On September 2, 2019, Sis.Vesta left the aches and pains of her earthly body looking to receive her mansion, robe, and crown. She is now in paradise rejoicing with all of her loved ones who departed this life before her. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jacob Sr., one daughter, Sherrie, and one granddaughter, Crystal Andris; grandparents, George and Ada (Fluker) Coverson, John and Laura (Kennon) Melton, parents Frank Sr. and Bessie, five brothers: James (Minnie), Samuel Sr. (Lorine), Robert (Mattie), Leroy, and Frank Jr., brother-in-law Grant Lemon, six sisters; Novella, Lillie (Arthur), Willie Ada (Reece Sr.), Alberta (Louis), Doris (Archie), and Leola (Henry).
Sis.Vesta leaves to cherish her memory: two sons Jacob Jr. (Delores), Johnathan (Gale), one daughter, Candace (Johnnie) Holmes, another son-in-law, Ronald Andris, Sr., thirteen grandchildren: Ronald Jr. (Melitta), Jasonia, Simeon, Jacob III, Reuben (Tylesian), Angalina, Dinah, Aleesha, Jeremy, Sherita, Nathan, Ciara (Tevin) Moore, and Je’Marcus; along with a special granddaughter, Chesani Howard and two other special grandsons, Chad and Bryan Banks, fourteen great-grandchildren, one sister, Lucille (Melton) Lemon, and two sisters-in-law Joyce Melton and Kathryn Melton, one adopted daughter LaVon Burnough and a host of nieces, nephews, and good friends.