From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Spears, Jewell A. King

(born: November 11, 1933  -  died: October 31, 2021) 

Jewell A. King Spears was an instructor at the Reid Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Richmond, IN. She was the first African American assitant director of nursing in-service at the Reid Hospital in Richmond, where she developed the nursing technician program. Promoted to the position in 1977, she later becoming vice president of the hospital before retiring in 1995.

In 1974, Spears was chosen by Indiana Governor Otis Bowen as the only registered nurse on the Emergency Medical Services Commission; she became president of the commission in 1977. She was also president of the Wayne County Welfare Board.

Jewell King Spears was born in Hazard, KY, the daughter of Janie Beatty King and Saul King (1902-1968). The family moved to Richmond, IN in the 1940s. Jewell Spears is a graduate of the Reid Memorial Hospital and the Earlham College nursing program; she earned her bachelor's degree from Earlham College. In 2009, she received the Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award from the Indiana University East School of Nursing [online article]. 

Jewell K. Spears was married to Glen A. Spears (1928-2007).

A much more detailed biography of Jewell A. King Spears is included in her obituary in the Palladium-Item, 11/04/2021, p.A6. She is buried at Earlham Cemetery in Richmond, IN. Her obituary and picture are also included in the Jewell King Spears (1933-2021) entry at Find A Grave.

For more see "Earlham grad becomes Reid's director of nursing," Palladium-Item, 2/27/2008, Region section, p. 3A; the Jewell A. Spears entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Glen A. Spears," Palladium-Item, 10/14/2007, Obituary section, p. 3C. See also Jewell Spears in the 2008 documentary "1:47" that tells the story of the 1968 explosion in Richmond.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Perry County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hazard, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Spears, Jewell A. King,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-09-12 13:50:35