Virginia Rogers LaMarr, 85, tenth of eleven children born to the late Rev. U. B. Rogers and Mary B. Johnson of Selma, Alabama July 27, 1923, departed this life March 10, 2009 in New York City. She attended public school through grade nine. That’s where public education ended for black students. During her younger years in Selma, she was active in the Tabernacle Baptist Church serving as President of all the youth organizations and also sang in the choir. She went on to Selma University for 5 years before going on to Alabama State Teachers College for the Bachelor of Science Degree.
She began teaching in Selma Public Schools at age 19 in 1944. After her marriage to Moses LaMarr – opera signer and actor. She moved to Brooklyn, NY in the early 50’s. She connected with the New York City Board of Education, teaching and continuing her education at night in the division of Special Education at Brooklyn College. She furthered her education at Fordham University in the field of Administration and Supervision, graduating with honors. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Virginia was nominated New York State Teacher of the Year 1980, Division of Special Education. She was honored by the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa for outstanding service to the chapter and community in 1998. She was honored by the Laurelton Club of Negro Business and Professional Women for Dedicated Work to Special Needs Youth, 2002. Mrs. LaMarr’s work experience took her into Brooklyn and queens. When she moved to Queens she joined the Merrick Park Civic Association and the Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church both being involved in Community Action and Civil Rights.
She was the Cofounder of the Church’s Scholarship Committee and Chairperson of its Commission on Education, Sunday School Teacher, and Chairperson of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. She became Director of an Ecumenical Summer Day Camp, sponsored by the Southeast Community’s Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran and Catholic Church, headed a Saturday Tutorial at Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church and assisted youth in finding jobs. The Laurelton-Springfield Community Day Care Center was organized during this period. Virginia was a Charter Member of the Board. She served as Secretary and was President at the time of her death. All of the above took place during the thirty-two and one half years of employment as teacher/supervisor with the New York City Board of Education. She became Executive Director of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Beta Omicron Ruby S. Couche “Big Sister” Educational Action and Service, Inc. July 1989. This Center is funded and has been for more than thirty-five years by the New York City Department of Youth and community Development. Services are pro-vided free of charge to all participants, youth, seniors, and adults. Services were provided by the Board of Education in Basic Education, GED and ESL. Today Tutoring and Youth Development are provided after school for youth from grades two through high school. In 2001 a Weekend Recreational program was instituted for Seniors.
In 1999 the “Big Sister” Center became the Lead Agency for the New York State Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. These services are provided for 240 youth ages eleven through twenty-one by the Lead agency and the following Sub-contractors, J-Cap New Beginnings, Reap and Keep Educational Services, Family Consultations, New York Educational Service Teams, Inc. and Neo-Elite Village Day School.
Job opportunities are provided for High School Youth through Varied Internship Program, The Council for Airport Opportunities, Summer Youth Employment, and OCFS Service Program.
She served long and hard managing her commitments to the community and responding to her loving family.
She leaves to mourn her passing one sister, Naomi Rogers Randolph of Selma, Alabama; Karen, Kiabi, and Dashan Dubose, “her children;” other nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews; a host of cousins and friends.
Her parents and all other siblings preceded her in death.
She was known in the community and by her family and friends as “Auntie Ginnie.”