By Haleigh Tieken
After the passing of her husband, Jean Jones Dalton never imagined moving into a house with sorority girls. As a native Oxonian and former realtor, Dalton is a sixth generation resident who took an opportunity of a lifetime that forever changed her definition of home.
Nestled at 169 Sorority Row on the University of Mississippi’s campus sits Kappa Kappa Gamma, where Dalton now takes up residence. As a seven-year veteran house mom, Dalton first started her second career at the Alpha Omicron Pi house. A mother to several children herself, she was offered the opportunity to “adopt” several more by one of her daughter’s friends.
“The AOII house mom quit the first semester because she was in graduate school, and one of the advisors said that they were desperate to find a house mom for the second semester,” Dalton said. “Long story short, I decided I would do it.”
She gave up her role as house mother at AOII with the onset of new leadership and was contacted for the role at the Kappa Kappa Gamma house next. She was aware of the requirements of the job and decided to continue her part in giving back to Greek life at Ole Miss. Since then, the house has provided Dalton with a comfortable feel and allows her to still be involved in everyday life outside of her duties as a house mom.
“Some people say ‘don’t you get tired of living there?’ Most of the time I don’t even take my weekend I get off, because being from Oxford all my friends are here that I play bridge with or go out to dinner with and I can do that at night,” Dalton said.
However, the duties of the house keep Dalton busy, she said. She spends her time helping prepare menus for each week, printing checks and operating bills for the house, along with making grocery lists, and managing the employees of the house.
Junior Kappa, Sarah Doty, is very fond of Dalton and the dedication she displays towards the sorority.
“From the first time I walked into the Kappa house for lunch as a new member I saw how much Mama Jean cared about us,” Doty said. “She treated us like we were all one big family.”
Even though these tasks may seem straightforward, there are days that keep Dalton busy. Whether it’s dealing with ants and keeping pests out of girls’ rooms, making sure there are no leaks, or monitoring the AC, these problems can all cause major stress in the house when things aren’t working properly. Luckily, Dalton ensures the repairmen are very reliable along with a current selection of onsite staff who work at the house Mondays through Fridays.
The house offers many amenities, but Dalton had to adapt to her surroundings in the house in terms of being able to live up to the duties of a mother to her immediate family. With two children and three grandchildren of her own, Dalton had to get used to not having a kitchen to cook in along with space to provide her family when they visited.
As the Kappa house undergoes a complete renovation this summer, Dalton has taken on the task of making sure that the inside décor is taken down carefully and placed in storage along with helping the movers know the placement of everything.
The Kappa house holds many memories for Dalton along with the girls she’s had the honor of getting to know through the years, she said.
“The number one is the girls,” she said. “I think for one thing it keeps you younger, you can relate more. I love getting to know them.”
Dalton said she cherishes the relationships she’s been able to develop with the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma and looks forward to making more memories.