Luvenia Pearson died Saturday at age 102, after spending more than 60 years educating cosmetology students across the Augusta area.
“She was something special,” said Henry James, a student from the 1970s.
James said Pearson was an energetic teacher who took time with every student who came her way.
“She was the one that encouraged everybody,” he said. “She would work with anybody to help them succeed.”
Pearson attended Poro Beauty School in Virginia and received an instructor’s license in 1942. When she came home to Augusta, she founded Luvenia’s School of Cosmetology and operated it until 1964.
In a 1991 Augusta Chronicle article, Pearson said she loved the independence that cosmetology offered to people, as a way to make a good living while helping other people feel good.
“The best feeling in the world is making people feel beautiful,” she said.
Pearson closed her school in 1964 because it could not compete with the new Augusta Technical College, which offered cosmetology at a lower price. She turned the school into a salon where she rented booths out to operators.
“They really are their own bosses,” she said.
Lola Richardson was a longtime friend of Pearson who said Pearson’s faith was what motivated her to invest so much in her students’ lives.
“She was a definite Christian woman who loved God and attended church every Sunday, even up until a few weeks before her death,” Richardson said. “She was very gracious and graceful.”
She said Pearson loved drinking coffee, watching Tiger Woods play golf and listening to President Obama’s speeches.
“She was a very wonderful woman,” she said.
Pearson was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. Benjamin Franklin Pearson.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Jeffrey Thomas will officiate. Burial will be in Cedar Grove Cemetery.