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Ethelyn Reaben "Lynn" Roberts

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Ethelyn Reaben "Lynn" Roberts Obituary
Ethelyn "Lynn" Reaben Roberts, dedicated Henderson County teacher and advocate for arts education died peacefully February 29, 2016 lovingly attended by her daughters. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend she will also be remembered as a kind and gentle southern lady. Following a private burial at Oakdale Cemetery, a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 11, 2016 in the chapel of Hendersonville First Baptist Church where she was a lifelong member and dedicated to the Love Fellowship class.
A Hendersonville native, Lynn was the daughter of the late John Hall and Mary Jo Wallin Reaben. She was preceded in death by her childhood sweetheart and husband of 64 years, Fletcher Henderson Roberts, and by her sister, Claire Reaben Waddell.
After a brief time in South Carolina as newly weds, Lynn and Fletcher moved to Haywood Forest, a community her father helped found. They lived beside the barn he built to stable his Tennessee Walkers. Horses were a love Lynn shared with her father. The family later moved to Laurel Park and lived 55 years with their beloved cockers on a little piece of paradise they fondly referred to as WoodPatch. Lynn was especially proud of her Swiss heritage and enjoyed researching family history and keeping in touch with these distant, yet dear, relatives. Lynn and Fletcher enjoyed spending time with their children and grandchildren, traveling, and relaxing for extended stretches at Atlantic Beach.
The surviving family includes two daughters, Mrs. Jo Roberts Parrott and husband, Jimmy of Kinston, and Dr. Gina Roberts of Raleigh; two grandchildren, Catherine Hunter Reaben Parrott Burris and husband, Phil of High Point, and Jacob Fletcher Parrott of Raleigh; two great-grandchildren, Hutton Henderson Burris and Catherine Reaben Burris of High Point; two nieces, Sharon Waddell Johnson and husband, Steve of Hendersonville, and Deborah Jane Griffith of Newland; two nephews, John Hall Waddell and wife, Sonja, and Fletcher Wiltshire Griffith and wife, Sissy of Laurel Park; and a number of beloved great nieces and nephews.
A graduate of Hendersonville High School (1944), Lynn received degrees in English and drama from Women's College of UNC - Greensboro (1948). First bitten by the "theater bug" in elementary school through elocution classes with Mrs. E. K. Shipp, and again in high school through Mrs. Lucille Allen's plays, Lynn elected as a college sophomore to attend a UNC summer drama intensive that solidified what was to become her life long passion and dedication. The following fall, Lynn returned to UNC-G, to perform in many lead roles and to manage, direct, and design collegiate theatrical productions. She attended graduate school in Dramatic Art at UNC-Chapel Hill and was the female lead in many Playmaker Theater productions, including George Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Euripedes' tragedy, Medea.
Lynn later headed west to direct for local theaters with Empire Producing in Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri. Upon returning to the south, she acted and directed for the Aiken Community Playhouse and taught drama at West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia before coming home to Hendersonville in 1950 for her professional debut in Summer Stock at the Lake Summit Playhouse.
Lynn began her high school teaching career at West Henderson High School (1961-1969) where she taught junior and senior English and drama. She continued teaching these subjects at Hendersonville High School (1969 -1984) until her retirement. Colleagues remember her as always supporting and strengthening the efforts of her students as well as her fellow teachers, never seeking the spotlight or attention for herself. Lynn's students remember her "notes" of encouragement and praise, offered sometimes as a request and sometimes a reminder, but always in a calm and direct manner. Her criticisms were constructive, gentle guidance born of genuine concern that every student succeed and develop his or her own special voice. As co-director of theatre at Hendersonville High School, Lynn partnered with her esteemed colleague and friend, Tom Orr, to create a theatre program that was a dynamic force in secondary school theatre. Their student plays received many awards at state drama competitions through the Carolina Dramatic Association on whose board of directors Lynn once served.
After her retirement, Lynn remained active through Hendersonville High School and Henderson County educational organizations, including the Henderson County Retired School Personnel and Education Foundation and Hendersonville High School Alumni Association and Hall Of Fame. To commemorate the school's centennial year, Lynn passionately compiled a series of 11 albums archiving the school's theater history. In 2008, she was inducted into the Henderson County Educational Foundation Hall of Fame. Lynn was a member of the UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Chapel Hill Alumni Associations, Delta Kappa Gamma International Society of Women Educators, the NC Association of Educators, and a delegate to the National Education Association national convention. She also supported the Historic Seventh Avenue renewal, the Johnson Farm, and the Hendersonville Little Theater, of which she was a charter member, and was an active member of PEO Sisterhood, Chapter O.
Lynn once wrote of her belief in the importance of educators: "Every teacher should have a special star in the heavens. If one can multiply, spell, follow directions, measure a cup or a foot, read a newspaper, or climb Mt. Everest -- there was the work of a teacher." Certainly a star now brightens the heavens in her memory.
The family would like to thank Lynn's nurses, aids, and staff of The Bridge at Lake Point Landing in Hendersonville, Spring Arbor and Magnolia Cottage in Kinston and all of her private caregivers for their tender care and loving support. Special gratitude is offered to Dr. Ron Moffitt of Hendersonville and Dr. Rupert Jilcot and their compassionate colleagues.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to a memorial fund for Ethelyn "Lynn" Roberts at the Community Foundation of Henderson County, P.O. Box 1108, Hendersonville, NC 27793.
Published in The Times-News on Mar. 6, 2016
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