Cecelia Jane (O’Briant) Roberts, age 92, loving mother of two and adoring wife to husband Jerry B. Roberts, passed away peacefully in the early hours of September 25th, 2022, in her sleep. Cecelia was born on November 16th, 1929, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up surrounded by her large extended family, including her sister, mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many cousins. Her family influenced Cecelia to be a loving and caring woman, always giving her time to others, and she incorporated that into her motherhood.
Cecelia met her husband Jerry at a sorority dance in 1954 while she worked at Ft. Sanders Hospital as a registered medical secretary, where they fell in love. Cecelia and Jerry both shared a passion for family and decided to start their own. After beginning their life together on October 4th, 1957, surrounded by family in Knoxville, Jerry took a job at the new Carrier Plant in Morrison, Tennessee. In 1969, Cecelia, Jerry, and their daughters moved to Manchester, Tennessee. The family became active members of First Baptist Church, where she was involved in Vacation Bible School and the Woman’s Missionary Union. As a mother, Cecelia was generous, loving, and kind. She never unnecessarily scolded her children and spoiled them as much as possible. In her free time, Cecelia loved gardening and was a member of the Dig ‘n Dream Garden Club in Manchester for decades. She was a Master flower show judge, taking many courses at Cheekwood. One of her favorite parts of the garden club was working with the Trees of Christmas. She believed it was essential to stay active. She was a fixture at College Street Elementary, where she worked in various capacities for over four decades until she was 88. Cecelia was passionate about her heritage and in 2004 she was an organizing member of the Avery Trace Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) located in Harriman, Tennessee. She enjoyed dressing up to spend time with the DAR daughters and one of her favorite activities was attending the Tennessee State DAR Convention and over the years she served as a chapter voting delegate, chapter alternate delegate and attendee. Cecelia was also a Life Member of the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) and was a troop leader when the girls were young. A multi-generational member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Cecelia participated in many related activities through the years.
Her family misses her greatly. Cecelia is survived by her husband of 64 years, daughters Lou Ann Roberts (Ginia Willis), and Carey Roberts. She is preceded in death by her parents, John Tucker, and Beatrice Aurillia (Carey) O’Briant, her sister Barbara Lou O’Briant, and numerous grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
There will be a visitation for those who wish to say goodbye to Cecelia, a wonderful woman, and a beautiful mother, on September 30th, 2022, from 3-5 pm CT at Central Funeral Home located at 2812 Hillsboro Hwy in Manchester, Tennessee immediately followed by the service at Central Funeral Home from 5:30-6 pm CT. There will be a graveside service at Berry Highland Memorial located at 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee on October 1st, 2022, at 3 pm ET. The family requests that any donations in Cecelia’s name be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, American Kidney Fund, the Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship Fund, or the Manchester, TN First Baptist Church Library.