‘This one hurts so bad!!!’ Kansas City native Jhamelah Drone dies at 27

On her fifth birthday, Germaneke Drone received an extraordinary present: the birth of her sister Jhamelah Drone.

Splitting the celebration every year might be annoying for some siblings, but now, after her sister’s death, Germaneke Drone dreads the first birthday she can remember without her.

“She would never call it her birthday or my birthday. It was always, what are we doing on our birthday?” her older sister says. “She was goofy and good at making people laugh, and I will miss everything, even the arguments.”

Drone, a Kansas City native who graduated from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, died June 19 at 27 due to complications from diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Watching Drone’s health deteriorate over the past five years, her older sister saw how simple falls caused broken bones and weekly dialysis appointments were taking a toll.

“Because my mom and I did get to spend so much time with her leading up to her passing, I think it helps,” says Drone’s sister, 32, a mother of two and owner of Blakk Brew Coffee. “I think some people are taking it harder in my family because they … always figured they would have more time.”

Germaneke Drone, left, with younger sister Jhamelah Drone.
Germaneke Drone, left, with younger sister Jhamelah Drone.

Drone attended Missouri Western University before leaving her senior year due to her medical issues. She studied health science and wanted to help people who have had to suffer through sicknesses as she did, her sister said.

Though she had faced many health issues since the age of 8, Drone always managed to put on a smile and never let her circumstances diminish her fighting spirit.

Drone, who performed in dance while attending Paseo, was also an avid writer who filled notebooks with her prayers, dreams and thoughts about her struggles. After her death, her mother and sister read through them and were comforted, knowing that her last days were filled with gratitude.

“Most of her writings were affirmations that I feel she used to keep her mind in a good place because what she was going through would have destroyed some people mentally,” her sister says.

At her funeral July 1, attendees were asked to wear bright colors to celebrate Drone’s many years of love and joy.

“It was a beautiful service and she would have loved it because it looked more like Mardi Gras or a birthday party than a funeral and she just always wanted people to feel happy,” says her sister, the second youngest of six siblings.

Many friends, family and classmates took to social media to share messages of grief:

“Legit sick to my stomach my first friend at ACECC to Paseo graduating together and college together.”

“My first talent show buddy, my first partner in dancing and singing. We was just trying to link.”

“I hope heaven is as beautiful and peaceful as they say it is and they have lots of beautiful sunflowers for you to see.”

“This one hurts so bad!!! My dance sister, my college roommate, my friend!! I am so sad to see you go! Rest easy my love.”

Her sister finds encouragement from the last words Drone wrote on the day of her death, on the first page of her new journal: “Be a great creator.”

“We cannot take this time here for granted at all,” says her sister. “I think a lot of people waste the time they have with family because we just assume there will always be more time, not knowing what tomorrow brings.”

She is survived by her parents, Hope Thompson and Roy Drone; siblings Cecil Robinson, Lure’a Robinson, Brandin Robinson, Enjoli Robinson and Germaneke Drone.

Other remembrances

Bertha Cole, medical professional and teacher, died Aug. 4. She was 93.
Bertha Cole, medical professional and teacher, died Aug. 4. She was 93.

Bertha Cole

Bertha Cole, medical professional and teacher, died Aug. 4. She was 93.

Cole was born on Aug. 9, 1929, to Silas and Ellas Nash in Warren, Arkansas. Her parents and two siblings moved to Kansas City, where she lived until she graduated from high school.

She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree and obtained her master’s in public health education from New York University.

Cole worked in various New York hospitals and clinics. She eventually returned to Kansas City and worked at Menorah Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital and Bethany Hospital.

Later in life, Cole switched careers and worked for the Kansas City Public Schools as a science and biology teacher. She became the food director for KCPS and retired after 26 years.

She is survived by her son, Russell S. Dixon, and many cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.

John Robinson III, photographer and retired manager, died on July 25. He was 65.
John Robinson III, photographer and retired manager, died on July 25. He was 65.

John Robinson III

John Robinson III, photographer and retired manager, died on July 25. He was 65.

Robinson was born on Dec. 7, 1957, to Joe and Bell Robinson in Kansas City.

He began working at the age of 12 selling The Call newspaper and started a lifelong love of football, cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs.

He graduated from Central High School in 1976 and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In 1977 Robinson joined the Navy Reserve and served for the next four years. He traveled and developed a love of photography, building his own darkroom in his home.

He worked for Shawnee Mission Medical Center for 10 years and then Quest Diagnostics, where he retired as a manager.

He is survived by his mother, Ollie Robinson; children William Holt and Kayla Sheppard-Robinson; siblings Robin Amory, JoAnn Harris, Vashti Robinson, Larry Robinson and David Robinson; along with a host of nephews, cousins and friends.