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.