Lucimarian Roberts dies at 88

Much-loved Presbyterian was widow of Tuskegee Airman Larry, mother of TV host Robin

August 31, 2012

Lucimarian and Robin Roberts

Lucimarian Roberts and her daughter, Robin —Upper Room Books


Lucimarian Roberts, a much-loved Presbyterian elder who always downplayed the achievements of her illustrious family, including herself, died Aug. 30 in Pass Christian, Miss. She was 88.

At her side ― while Hurricane Isaac raged around her ― were her daughters Sally Ann and Robin, the host of “Good Morning America” on ABC television. Lucimarian’s husband, Lawrence, died in 2004.

Also an active Presbyterian elder, he was part of the storied “Tuskegee Airmen,” the storied all-black military squadron in World War II. Lucimarian and Larry were married for 57 years. The two met at Howard University ― Lucimarian was the first in her family to attend college ― and subsequently moved 27 times during Larry’s career as an Air Force officer.

Lucimarian was born in Akron, Ohio, and moved to Alabama as part of the “great southern migration.” Her grandfather had been a sharecropper there before heading to Akron to work in the rubber plants. After moving to Pass Christian, near Biloxi, Miss., Lucimarian rose to positions of great prominence in both Mississippi and in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A tireless supporter of educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans, she continuously raised funds for historically black colleges and universities.

Lucimarian was the first African American to head the Mississippi’s state Board of Education and served on the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Commission and the board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She also served as director of the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In the PC(USA), Lucimarian was seemingly everywhere. At various times she served on the Permanent Judicial Commission of Mississippi Presbytery; on the National Committee for the Self-Development of People; on the board of trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga.; on the board of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Corporation ; and from its inception in 2002 until 2006 as co-chair of the Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts and Hands, a $40 million campaign to raise funds for church growth in the U.S. and for mission service workers overseas.

Lucimarian Roberts was unfailingly optimistic, tenaciously committed to her family, community and church, and always had an encouraging word ― particularly for young people, the poor and oppressed and all those on the lower rungs of all sorts of ladders. A lover of music, she had recently completed a book, My Story, My Song, co-written with Robin.

Memorial service arrangements are pending.
  1. My Story, My Song was the gift I gave to 10 very special women - my sisters (biological and in Christ) and only daughter on Mother's Day 2012. May the love of God and strength of family keep you strong. Elder Paulette Morgan, Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

    by Paulette Morgan

    September 3, 2012

  2. She was a great servant of the church. I had the honor of serving with her as a member of the Columbia Theological Seminary Board of Trustees.

    by Franklin D. Colclough

    September 3, 2012

  3. I still remember so fondly how my parents instilled in me and so many at First Pres BSL how we are to love all of the family of God. My father as pastor invited to our church Joe and Vivian Murrow and Lucimarian and Larry Roberts who impacted my life so much. I am so thankful to have been able to learn from them during a challenging time in the mid 1970s growing up. Visiting the church before and after katrina as well as bringing college students to assist in relief efforts brought back such wonderful memories of this great place where my father served his first pastorate.

    by Lance Crimm

    September 2, 2012

  4. Serving with Larry, on the General Assembly Council Executive Committee in the nineties also gave me the privilege of getting to know Larry's delightful I've Lucimarian. I remember her faith, devotion, intelligence and her humor. She knew how to appreciate and enjoy the world.

    by Deanna Clark

    August 31, 2012

  5. Robin , So sorry for your loss. All our prayers to you and your family.

    by Debbie

    August 31, 2012

  6. A true "Lady", in every sense of the word. We have been blessed by her faith, her leadership, her willingness to serve, her stewardship of her life, time, and talent, and above all, by her example. Thanks be to God!

    by Lucy Clyde

    August 31, 2012

  7. Robin sorry about your mom. Hope your Transplant comes out ok

    by Burl Hurley

    August 31, 2012