Friday, May 31, 2002

Obituary: Roberta Maxey taught kindergarten 30 years

She also helped run family's funeral home

By Rebecca Billman,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Roberta Maxey was a supermom before the term was invented.

        She taught kindergarten for 30 years while raising her own four children and an adopted son, and helping her husband, Jerry Maxey, run a funeral home in Madisonville.

        She also wrote poetry and was conversant in current events.

        And she always took the time to help shape the lives of the youngsters she encountered.

        “She was very much concerned about children and made sure they had proper discipline,” said daughter Judy Maxey of Woodlawn. “Whatever child she was around, she assumed that maternal role.”

        Mrs. Maxey, known to her friends as “Bert,” died May 23 in Los Angeles, a day shy of her 88th birthday.

        She was born Laura Roberta Whitaker in Columbia, S.C., in 1914, and attended Cincinnati Public Schools. After graduation from the former Hartwell High School, she received bachelor's and master's degrees, both in education, from the University of Cincinnati.

        Mrs. Maxey taught at Schiel and Windsor schools and the old Harriet Beecher Stowe School before retiring in 1977.

        She also helped her husband run Maxey Funeral Home in Madisonville for more than 20 years.

        Her duties included counseling grieving families, keeping the books and arranging flowers for the services. The business was sold in the late '70s.

        A devout Christian, Mrs. Maxey was also a founding member of St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Avondale. There she was part of the women's singing group, the Gospel Pearls, a member of the Stewardess Board 2 and worked with the Buds of Promise, a Sunday school class.

        She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and Order of Eastern Star.

        Jerry, her husband of 40 years, died in 1980. Four years ago, she moved to Los Angeles to live with her oldest son, Randall.

        In addition to her daughter and son, survivors include two other sons, Jerry of Springfield Township and Jonathan of Palmdale, Calif.; her adopted son, Eddie Madison; 15 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

        Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. today at St. James A.M.E. Zion Church, 3485 Wilson Ave. The funeral will be 10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Burial will be in Beechgrove Cemetery in Springfield Township.

        Memorials can be made to American Diabetes Association, 8899 Brookside Ave., West Chester, OH 45069.


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