5/1/2010 - Graduate of class of 1935 honored with Alumnae Award
By Michael J. Brooks
Iona Gillespie Fontaine of Montgomery received the "2010 Alumnae Loyalty Award" at Judson College's annual J-Day celebration on April 10.
Fontaine graduated from Judson in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.
Jennifer Truelove, Judson's Director of Alumnae Relations and Annual Fund, explained that the award is given each year to an alumna recognized by her peers and by the executive board as having supported the work of the college through involvement in her local alumnae chapter, participating in campus activities and serving as a mentor to others through community involvement.
Fontaine was born in Poplar Bluff, Mo. but grew up in Montgomery. She attended Cloverdale Junior High School and Sidney Lanier High School before enrolling at Judson. During her summer vacations she worked for the Sunday School department of the Alabama Baptist Convention teaching study courses, in vacation Bible schools and assisting in assemblies sponsored by the Woman's Missionary Union.
She received a WMU scholarship for her college studies.
At Judson, Fontaine was an active sportswoman, served in student government and taught Sunday School at Siloam Baptist Church in Marion.
After graduation Fontaine taught in public schools in Clark and Marengo counties, and was persuaded to serve as football coach in 1945 when the regular coach was called to service in the closing days of World War II.
She began work in 1946 as education director in churches in Jackson and Montgomery while remaining active in the local WMU.
She married John Fontaine in 1958 and then returned to Sidney Lanier High School where she taught until her retirement in 1981.
Fontaine has been active in retirement as a hospital volunteer and at the Samaritan Inn, a ministry sponsored by the Montgomery Baptist Association providing lodging and support for families of those with medical needs who live outside the area.
She also teaches the "Ladies's Fontaine" Sunday School class at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Montgomery.
"Iona Fontaine is deservedly recognized for her more than 75 years of devotion to her alma mater," said Judson president Dr. David Potts.
"Her constant advocacy for Christian higher education in behalf of young women has been an important part of a truly remarkable life."
*Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.