Tonya W. Jackson was born on February 13, 1961, in Buffalo, New York to Thelma Durham and the late Barnett Martin. Early on as a child, Tonya would overhear her mother studying the Bible and became intrigued which eventually developed into her own personal relationship with Jehovah. Tonya became a baptized Jehovah’s Witness on July 17th, 1983. Her spirituality was the most important factor in her life. Through this connection, she loved studying and researching the Bible. Tonya never missed an opportunity to speak to anyone she met about her God Jehovah. Tonya was a faithful member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses until the end of her life.
To know Tonya was to love her. She had a very comical and uncanny wit. She was known for her loving and caring heart. Tonya fostered relationships with all of her children and family members. She had a very close relationship with her children so much so, that they all felt like they were her favorite child. Tonya was the rock of her family, and her endearing love was the glue that kept them together. She was also known by her family as the tiger because of her bold and ferocious spirit. Tonya was also known as the family therapist. She was always available to be a listening ear and would give the best advice no matter the situation. Tonya was an amazing daughter to both her mother and father, and a primary caregiver to her mother until she was too sick to do so.
Tonya for many years had a childcare business that developed into an enterprise and made many lifelong connections. Those who were entrusted to her became family and were a village. This enterprise created bonds that will never be severed.
Because she was a native Buffalonian, she was a diehard Buffalo Bills fan and she loved to throw super bowl parties and didn't mind expressing how upset she was when her team lost. Tonya loved watching the Food Network and was an incredible cook. She loved spending time at the beach and was a music connoisseur.
Tonya was preceded in death, along with her father, Barnett Martin; husband, Paul Duane Jackson; brother, Leonard Pickett; and niece, Niesa Rector.
Tonya leaves to cherish her loving memories and thoughtful spirit with her mother, Thelma Ellen Martin; daughters, Stephanie Jackson (Antoine) Lowery and Nikea Jackson both of Spartanburg, SC; son, Steffon (Dora) Jackson of Spartanburg, SC; sisters, Brenda (Glasco) Martin and Sandra Lomax; grandchildren, Jalen Hoy Jackson, Jaden Lowery, Jordynn Lowery, Kenaja Epps, Murphy Epps and Alivia Hoey; great nephew, Braylen Green representing the Green family; aunts, Georgette (Josh) Wiggleton, Lucille (Luther) Dickey, Geraldine Blandin, and Rosa Foster; uncle, Calvin Durham; cousins, Cindy (Joey) Washington and Ivan Thompson; best friend, Joel Etheridge; adopted sister, Belinda Lash; and a host of other nieces, nephews, adopted family, and other loving relatives and friends.
Tonya had a special relationship with so many, it would be impossible to list them all, but the family would like to thank her tribe of sisters, friends, confidants, and loved ones who loved Tonya just the way her family did.
After a long battle with various illnesses, on May 11, 2023, Tonya fell asleep in death peacefully at her home surrounded by family and love. As hurt as we are, her life and legacy will always be kept in the hearts, minds, and thoughts of all who loved and knew her.
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