The Obsequies of a Jewel
“I Lived Life My Way”
In 1968, The Washington Post declared it, “The Year America Unraveled”. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Jewel Lynn Caples was born.
On June 12, 1968, Jewel Lynn Caples was born to Gerald Dickerson and Eula Caples, in Chicago, Illinois. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Robert and Eunice Dickerson, and Bennie B. and Thelma Caples.
Jewel was a lively and adventurous child. If anything could be gotten into, she got into it. From the time she could walk, she could shake up a room. From the time she could talk, she could sing. Jewel wasn’t born into a Christian home, so she cut her teeth listening to The Supremes, Ray Charles, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and her dad, Gerald Dickerson.
At the age of 5, Jewel’s mom received Christ and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, so now her life was filled with Shirley Caesar, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin singing at New Bethel Church.
Jewel was lead singer in the choir at Free Holiness Church of Chicago. When her mom obeyed an evangelistic call, Jewel was singing on the corner of 63rd and Ashland Avenue. Sadly, her dad didn’t embrace the new lifestyle, so he and her mom divorced.
In 1978, Jewel’s family moved to Los Angeles, California, where her maternal grandmother had relocated. Jewel’s family joined her. Jewel continued to sing and pass out “Come To Jesus” tracks with her mom and other siblings. Jewel attended several elementary schools, as her mom sought to live in a safe neighborhood. In the 5th grade, her teacher Mrs. Sawyer sent a note home saying, “One day, I may have to pay hundreds of dollars to hear Jewel sing, but for now, could you please convince her to stop bursting out singing in class.” Every morning our home woke to Jewel singing. She sang in the school choir. She sang in churches, and in 1988, she began to sing in recording studios. Jewel gained notoriety as an artist with “Death Row Records” under the stage name “Jewell”. So, as The Washington Post had declared 1968 as, “The Year American Unraveled”, Jewel’s life began to unravel. Amid juggling a private life of family, Christian values, and a need to make a mark in secular entertainment, Jewel’s health began to decline.
In 2016, Jewel was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. Her life expectancy was less than 4 years. She set a course to spend more time with her sons, her grandchildren, her siblings, and her mom as she could. When 2021 came, she and her family celebrated. We started making plans for my birthday for the next year. Unfortunately, in the first week of February, she was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed with double pneumonia and fluid built up in her lungs. A couple of weeks later, a valve on the right side of her began to fail. The surgeon inserted a stint and wanted to sky lift her to a Utah Hospital. She refused saying, “I have a seventeen-year-old son, and I can’t leave him. I will set my affairs in order.” The surgeon said they needed to give her an infusion of medication that cost $ 29, 886. The insurance company denied it. Her mom rallied over two hundred (200) Christian’s believers and they prayed. The next day, Jewel was infused. Glory! Jewel went home.
February 7th, 2022, she was working on a podcast to start a project called Words of wisdom from Mama G. It would feature short messages of inspiration. She said to me (on the phone), “If you have insight that will be helpful to many others.” She laughed, saying “From your mouth to God’s ear.” We laughed together, she said “Mama, Pray on it. You can reach millions of people without leaving your house. Many are called, few are chosen.!” You have a gift when you speak, people listen.
On May 2nd, Jewel was rushed to the emergency room. Her kidneys were failing. Her heart was working desperately to pump enough blood to them, but fluid continued to build up and her kidneys were overwhelmed. On May 3rd, Jewell texted her mom that her oxygen level keeps failing. Doctors were running many tests. She told them, “I cannot die! Period! Because I have things to do.”
On May 5th, Jewell called her mom and said, “Mom, I’m tired. All my debts are paid.” They kissed at each other and said, “Good Night.” Around 4:30 a.m., the next morning, a bell rang; Jewell left this earthly tabernacle for an eternal state of rest.
A publicist once wrote: Jewell’s voice is as unique and classy as a black diamond, as smooth as a black pearl. In the often-rough edged world of urban contemporary music. Jewell sparkles with rare vocal sophistication. She is the Death Row Family jewel.
Jewel's memory will linger in the hearts of Many: Her Mom, Eula Guterz; Sons, Joe'l (Jackie) Caples, Ja-Mell Peyton, Ja-Waun Curtis; Grandchildren, Jailynn, Joe'l Jr, and Jaxon Caples; 3 sisters; DeAnna Caples, Leslie Dickerson, and Asia Massey and 1 brother, Gerald Dickerson; A Bonus Mother, Margaret Crawford Bitz and a Bonus sister, Brandi Walker, a host of uncles, aunts, cousins, and nieces; A host of Church family, Friends, and Business Associates. P.S. Gerald Dickerson Sr. (Christine), Will Peyton, and Shawn Campbell.
God Bless Everyone!
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Jewel