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‘Strong role model:’ NLV mayor mourns death of mother

Shortly after she was elected the first Black mayor in Nevada history, Pamela Goynes-Brown fondly reminisced about her mother’s push for her to go college.

The elder woman was still emotional about her daughter’s successes, North Las Vegas Mayor Goynes-Brown told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in February 2023. “She cried about it yesterday.”

The city on Friday city announced the death of Naomi Delores Jackson Goynes.

“As a lifelong resident of the city of North Las Vegas, the person who instilled my values in education and influenced my pride in our community was my mother,” Mayor Goynes-Brown said in a statement. “My mother was a strong role model for me and for women in our community who could see someone who looked like them rise into a leadership role. I will miss her dearly.”

Jackson Goynes was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1933.

Educated at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, she earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics and minored in chemistry.

Jackson Goynes became a teacher, getting her start in Arkansas before eventually going on to earn additional degrees, including a master’s, at Northern Arizona University and UNLV.

In pursuit of teaching careers, Jackson Goynes and husband, Theron, relocated to Las Vegas in 1964.

Overall, Jackson Goynes dedicated 36 years at the Clark County School District, retiring as an assistant principal of Bridger Middle School.

Theron Goynes was elected to the North Las Vegas City Council, where he spent two decades, more-than half the time as mayor pro temp, the city noted.

For their contributions to education, the couple was honored as namesakes of the Theron H. and Naomi D. Goynes STEM Academy in North Las Vegas.

Goynes-Brown has said that she hadn’t planned to pursue education past high school.

In a calm but stern demeanor, the mayor recalled, Jackson Goynes told her: “You don’t have to go to college, but you can’t stay here.”

The elder woman watched her daughter follow her footsteps as a Clark County educator, was present when she was elected to the City Council, and there when Goynes Brown made history as the state’s first Black mayor.

Jackson Goynes is survived by her husband, three children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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