Mary Gene Roberson, 92, died on Saturday, November 9, 2013. She was a lifelong resident of Pikeville.
A pioneer in women’s athletics, she coached women’s basketball for 25 years, first at Lusk Elementary School, and then at Bledsoe County High School. Her teams at Lusk won 130 consecutive games, and the Lady Warriors, under her direction, won several district championships and one regional championship. She was selected as Regional Coach of the Year during her tenure.
An avid sportswoman, she played high-school basketball and varsity basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin, continuing to play on recreational softball and basketball teams until she was in her 60s. In addition to UT Martin, she attended Peabody College and Tennessee Technological University and completed her BS in education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She taught in Bledsoe County Schools for 25 years and in Sequatchie County Schools for another 10.
A strong advocate for gender equity in funding for athletics, she and her late husband, Rhubert Blake Roberson, Sr., attended and supported local sporting events throughout their lives and were avid fans of the Lady Vols and the Atlanta Braves. She loved music, especially that performed by family members, dancing, gardening, and quilting.
She was also a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt.
She was preceded in death by her aforementioned husband of 72 years, Rhubert Blake Roberson, Sr.; her parents, John Lafayette and Anna Swafford Roberson; infant twin daughters, Donna and Donnis Roberson; seven sisters, Elizabeth Roberson, Dorinda Starnes, Virginia Thomas, Anna Grace Irwin, Margaret Sue Record, Emmaline Leigh, and Helen Lang; and three brothers, Jim Sam Roberson, Thomas Young Roberson, and Maxey Dion Roberson.
She is survived by a daughter, Dr. Marilyn Elkins of Los Angeles, California, and three sons, Dallas (Deborah) Roberson, Dale Roberson, and Blake (Rosemary) Roberson, Jr., all of Pikeville; five grandchildren, Laural (Richard) Alley of Suwanee, Georgia, Kelly (Ben) Reese of Chattanooga, Dylan (Erica) Roberson and Phillip Roberson of Pikeville, and Anna (Davis) Manning of Huntsville, Alabama; eight great grandchildren, Evan, Sarah, and Madilyn Alley, Mary Blake and McLaine Reese, Ambrin and Ransom Roberson, and Davis Manning; two sisters Johnnie Roberson and Nada Myers of Pikeville; numerous nieces and nephews; her devoted caretaker, Marie (Eddie Clyde) Curtis; and the excellent staff at Soddy Daisy Health Care Center.
A celebration of Mary Gene’s life will be held on Thursday, November 14, at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel with Bro. Albert Roberts officiating. Burial will be in the Roberson Family Cemetery on Lower East Valley Road.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Bledsoe County High School Athletic Fund through Citizens Tri-County Bank in Pikeville.
Arrangements were entrusted to Pikeville Funeral Home in Pikeville.