Floral 09

Mary Roberts

February 7, 2021


Mary Lucille Roberts was born in Mobile, Alabama on March 31, 1929. She was next to the youngest of the eleven children born to the late Samuel and Lucille Abner. All of her ten siblings have preceded her in death. Mary’s family members always called her “Lucille,” perhaps because she looked so much like her mother.

In 1952, Mary Lucille married Guy A. Roberts. This union lasted for more than four decades and was blessed with two children: Gregory Allen and Kimberly Corlette.

Mary’s love for her home and family was evident in all she said and did. She was a “homebody” who nurtured her family with affection and love. Her house was a gathering spot for her children and their friends. Mary watched over the children from the 6400 block of Belfield Avenue.

When her children became school age, she decided to gain employment with the City of Philadelphia as a school crossing guard. This allowed her to still keep a loving eye on her children and other neighborhood children as she safely assisted them across the major intersection of Washington Lane and Chew Avenue.

Mary Lucille played an active role in helping to raise her three grandchildren: Gregory, Jr., Jared and Melissa. She was the best and only daycare provider they ever knew. “Gampi” as they called her was definitely an award winning grandmother and a wonderful great grandmother to her two great-grands: Christian and Blythe.

We could say that Mary was a fixture on Belfield Avenue where she lived for more than sixty years and was affectionately known as “Ms Mary”.

As time went by, Mary Lucille’s husband, two children and all of her siblings went home to be with the Lord. This took a toll on her, but during her final months, she enjoyed the company of her grandchildren, great-grands and her daughter-in-law as they showered her with love, affection and Greg and Najma’s homemade meals.

On Sunday, February 7, 2021, the Lord called Mary Lucille Roberts home. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She has now been reunited with her loved ones and the Lord.

She leaves to cherish her memory: two grandsons, Gregory Allen, Jr., and Jared Aaron; a granddaughter, Melissa Joi: a daughter-in-law, Valerie Valentine: a granddaughter-in-law, Najma Lynne; two great grandchildren, Christian Taylor and Blythe Eden; nieces, Derris and Clarissa; nephews, Eskridge, Jr., and Michael and a host of grand nieces, nephews, other extended family and friends.

Kimberly Corlette Roberts was born in Philadelphia, PA on January 15, 1957. She was the youngest child born to the late Guy A. and Mary L. Roberts. The Roberts children were raised by a homebody mother and a hard working father. Kimberly was blessed to have parents who always gave her love and affection. She was a “daddy’s girl” by all means. Her brother Gregory preceded her in death.

Kimberly was educated in the Philadelphia Public Schools: A.B. Day Elementary, Morris E. Leeds, Jr. High and Germantown High School. She started her college education at the University of Maryland and later transferred to Temple University where she earned a degree in Journalism. While at Temple, Kimberly pledged and became a member of the Epsilon Delta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Irv Randolph, Managing Editor of the Philadelphia Tribune saw something extra special in Kimberly even though she had no previous newspaper experience. Her deep knowledge, appreciation and love for music and entertainment landed her the job at the Tribune. For the next twenty plus years Kimberly was the Tribune’s Entertainment reporter who wrote with authority and conviction. She really knew entertainment well and it showed in her work.

Kimberly and her brother, Greg, Sr., had a special bond and they were both musically gifted. They also had a tight bond with their four cousins: Eskridge, Derris, Chris and Mike. If you didn’t know better, you would have thought they were all siblings. They all called her “Kimmy.”

Although Kimberly had no children of her own, she adored her two nephews, Greg, Jr. and Jared Aaron and her niece Melissa Joi. She would sing to them on a regular basis and play kiddie games with them. Kimberly was present at each of their college graduations. She was so proud of their accomplishments.

Kimberly had a beautiful voice. She was a member of Tindley Temple’s Senior Choir and the Clayton White Singers. Kim also sang with the African-American opera company known as Opera North during the late 1980s. She performed in professional productions like Aida and The Marriage of Figaro.

In 2013 Kimberly wrote The Joy Ride! The Stars and Stories of Philly’s Famous Uptown Theater. The book was Kimberly’s greatest accomplishment by far. She was enthusiastic about the Uptown and the artists who performed there. After all the Uptown was the place to go to see black entertainers in Philadelphia. What a story - a Philly girl writes about Philly’s Uptown Theater.

Kimberly loved to read, write, sing and travel. On Sunday, May 31, 2020, Kimberly took her final “Joy Ride” up into heaven.

She leaves to cherish her memory: two nephews: Gregory A. Roberts, Jr.(Najma), Jared Aaron Roberts; one niece, Melissa Joi Roberts; a grand nephew, Christian Taylor Roberts; a grand niece, Blythe Eden Roberts; four close cousins, Derris Cole, Eskridge Magness, Clarissa Cooper Nowell and Michael Magness; a childhood friend, Darla Jacks; her line sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a host of extended family and friends.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Roberts, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


February 17, 2021

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Emmanuel Johnson Funeral Home, Inc.
6653-75 Chew Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119

Funeral Service
February 17, 2021

11:00 AM
Emmanuel Johnson Funeral Home, Inc.
6653-75 Chew Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119

Video is available for this event

Interment following funeral service
February 17, 2021

Chelten Hills Cemetery
1701 Washington Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19138

© 2021 Emmanuel Johnson Funeral Home, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy