Carolyn D .'Marge' Yancey, 89: Educator, civic volunteer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Nov 2010
Carolyn "Marge" Dunbar Yancey, 89, of Atlanta, died Nov. 11 2010.
Carolyn Yancey had taught school in Detroit and been a homemaker in Alabama by the time she, her husband and four children settled in Atlanta.
Her husband, Dr. Asa G. Yancey Sr., moved here to help establish a surgical educational program for African-Americans. It didn't take long for Mrs. Yancey to get involved. She served on PTAs and was a board trustee for various organizations.
In 1982, the educator was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, a panel she served on for 15 years. In 1983, then-governor Joe Frank Harris appointed her to the State Board of Regents, making her the first black female to serve in that role.
For Mrs. Yancey, being "first" wasn't a significant achievement or something she coveted. The educator was more concerned about fulfilling the demands of the appointment and performing well, said her husband of 65 years.
"Being first was not her prime motivation," he said. "Her primary motivation was being an efficient member of the Board of Regents, handling the responsibilities and duties of the board."
"She was very dedicated and energetic about all of her civic service activities," said a daughter, Dr. Carolyn L. Yancey of Silver Spring, Md. "She was the most wonderful mother anyone could have wished for."
On Thursday, Carolyn D. "Marge" Yancey of Atlanta, 89, died at her home of complications of memory loss. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta. Murray Brothers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In 1941, Mrs. Yancey earned a bachelor of arts degree in education and social work from Wayne University, now Wayne State. She taught in Detroit elementary schools for several years before she and Dr. Yancey moved to Tuskegee, Ala., where he had received an appointment to the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.
They lived in Tuskegee for 10 years, a period when Mrs. Yancey focused on being a homemaker. When the family arrived in Atlanta, she served on the PTAs at Stanton Elementary, Booker T. Washington and Grady high schools. She was a Spelman board trustee for 27 years. At one point, she sat simultaneously on the boards of Spelman, the regents and the Atlanta school board.
Mrs. Yancey belonged to and held offices in numerous organizations, among them: the League of Women Voters, Friends of Spelman, the Atlanta Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In 1990, the activist was featured in a Southern Bell calendar of Atlanta's black history for her work in education. When she didn't seek school board re-election in 1997, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial stated it would be difficult to fill "the gap" left by her departure.
"She was a calm individual with an unusually wholesome attitude for life and giving," her husband said. "She wasn't the type person to pressure people."
Additional survivors include two sons, Dr. Asa G. Yancey Jr. of Denver and Dr. Arthur H. Yancey II of Atlanta; and eight grandchildren.