On the same week that she left “Good Morning America” to treat her rare bone marrow disease, Robin Roberts lost her mother Lucimarian Tolliver Roberts, who died on Thursday.
Tolliver Roberts, 88, an extremely accomplished and courageous woman, was the first African American to run the Mississippi Board of Education, in addition to serving for a time as the director of New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve.
It was because of her mother’s sickness that Roberts left “Good Morning America” a day before her medical leave was officially supposed to start. On Friday’s program, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos announced that her mother had died.
“Robin did make it [home to Mississippi], to say goodbye,” he said.
Tom Cibrowski, senior executive producer of Good Morning America, distributed a note to staff members Thursday night about “Robin’s beautiful and inspiring mother” in which he wrote, “Robin arrived home with her sister Sally Ann forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved Mother in time to see her.”
The message also stated: “It has always been clear where Robin got her strength, faith and spirit. You didn’t need to look far.”
Tolliver graduated in 1946 from Howard University, where she met her future husband, Lawrence Roberts, who became a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen squadron that fought so heroically in World War II. Tolliver and Larry would have four children. Larry died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004.
Tolliver Roberts put many of her experiences down on paper in a book that she co-wrote with Robin called “My Story, My Song: Mother-Daughter
Reflections on Life and Faith” (Upper Room Books, April 2012).
The book brings together pivotal moments of her life and includes personal reflections from Robin.