ROBERTA “BERT” JONES
Roberta Powley “Bert” Jones, age 103, of Wingate, MD, died Saturday morning, December 1, 2007 at Dorchester General Hospital. She lived independently until her 99th birthday when a fall at home resulted in her becoming a resident of Mallard Bay Care Center.
Born on February 24, 1904 in Wingate MD, she was the daughter of the late Archie Jones and Thomas Powley of Wingate, MD.
She grew up in Wingate, other than one short period when the entire family moved to Baltimore. It was during this short period when “Bert” at age twelve got her first job, pretending to be sixteen at the Virginia Dare Chocolates factory and was so proud when she was chosen from the line to work behind the Counter of the store. She was so upset when her father moved them all back to Wingate but at age twelve she had no choice but to go home with her parents, protesting all the way. It was then she knew she wanted to work with people.
Returning to Wingate she continued school but being the oldest of twelve children she left school to help with her brothers and sisters, most of which are now deceased, Elizabeth Ritter, Ruby Bloodsworth, Mary Ann Crandell, Linwood, Carlton, Frederick, Watson, Edgar, Tommy, Reginald Powley and 2 infants which died in childbirth, until she and Ogle Zebulon “O.Z.” Jones eloped in 1920 moving to Wilmington, Delaware.
Upon moving back to Cambridge, she got a job at Carton’s Department Store, working until her oldest daughter Olga was born. Bert worked at Carton’s until they moved to Berlin, where O.Z. operated a trucking business, and Roberta “Bert” became a truck driver when needed until the Hurricane of 1933 washed them back to Cambridge. They lived through the depression years in Cambridge, celebrating the end of the depression with the birth of their youngest daughter, Jacqueline Roberta. In the forties, the family relocated to Baltimore where Bert began her career as a Cosmetologist, eventually opening a small chain of beauty salons, one in Cambridge and two in Baltimore. Bert worked and managed the first and largest Baltimore Salon, “Bert’s”, which was a seven station salon and included a gift shop and a reducing salon which Bert managed as a licensed masseuse. During these forty seven years that Bert and O.Z. were operating this chain that Bert served in several offices of the Maryland Cosmetologists Association, traveling to represent Maryland at National Conventions. Over the years, Bert trained many young beauticians including BJ Brown of East New Market.
Bert and O.Z. moved back to Wingate in 1976, remodeling the house where she was born in the upstairs front bedroom. O.Z., her husband, died in 1978 but Bert remained in Wingate, watching the workboats going in and out of the Creek, steaming crabs, baking big old fashioned fruit cakes, winning a prize for her Mexican Fruit Cake, baking for Wingate United Methodist Church and Lakes & Straits Volunteer Fire Department suppers, enjoying her youngest grandson Judd, crocheting, sewing, and being with her brothers and sisters. In those years, it was a usual sight to see Bert, swinging in her hand made hammock, with one leg thrown over the side, throwing her hand up to speak to the trucks loaded with crabs going to town. The Bert that most people remember is the “lady” Bert, never without make-up, jewelry, hat and gloves, eating lunch with her best friend and oldest daughter, Olga.
Bert is survived by two daughters Olga Tubman and her husband Bill, Jackie Vickers and her husband Walt all of Cambridge, three grandchildren, Bill Tubman and his wife Anna Ruth of Worton, MD, Kim Tubman Gynan and her husband Bernard of Virginia Beach, VA, Judd Vickers and his partner Greg Bartoo of Cambridge, two great granddaughters Kelly Tubman and Brittany Gynan, one great grandson Jacob Gynan, one step-great granddaughter Rachael, one brother Reginald Powley and his wife Etta Lee of Wingate and many nieces and nephews.
Who would have expected on that cold winter day in February that Bert would live to be 103 years old, to have had such a wonderful hard working satisfying life and to see so many wonders unfold before her eyes, from carrying water across the field to cook and bathe to flying across the country and putting her feet in the Pacific Ocean. She left this life to be with all the people she has lost, leaving her family and friends a little richer for having had her in their lives.
A graveside service will be held on Monday, December 3rd at 2:00 p.m. at Dorchester Memorial Park with The Rev. Mary Ann Farnell officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial offerings may be made to Pleasant Day Adult Day Care Center, 2474 Cambridge Beltway, Cambridge, MD 21613.
Arrangements are in the care of Curran-Bromwell Funeral Home, P.A. of Cambridge.