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Education champion Dr. Luberta Luby Fields Mays makes her transition

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/17/2014, 1:08 p.m.

Celebrated educator Dr. Luberta “Luby” Fields Mays has passed away. She is best remembered as an elementary school teacher, college professor and dedicated church member. She was 84.

Mays was born on Oct., 23, 1929, in Yorktown, Va., to Clara Jefferson and Harry W. Fields. Born “Lue Berta,” she changed the spelling of her name to Luberta early in life. She grew up with six sisters, Bernice, Edna, Clara, Rosalee, Edith and Constance, and two brothers, Harry and William.

In 1935, Mays’ mother began moving the family to Brooklyn. Mays was 6 years old when she was among the last three of the children to make the move north. She attended Prospect Heights High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego in 1952.

Staying consistent with her passion for education, Mays earned her master’s degree from Queens College in 1964. She also held degrees from Bank Street College of Education and earned her doctorate in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1970.

Mays began her career in New York City public schools in 1954 and worked as a teacher at P.S. 157 in Harlem and P.S. 140 in Queens before moving to P.S. 40, where she remained until 1968 before heading to the Bank Street School for Children.

While working at an after-school program in 1952, Mays met her future husband, Frederick “Freddy” D. Mays Jr. They married in 1954 and, living in Queens, were together 59 years.

In 1974, Mays started working at Medgar Evers College. While there, she was an instructor in teacher education, deputy chairperson of teacher education, division chairperson of teacher education and provost and dean of academic affairs. Mays retired from Medgar Evers College as a professor of teacher education in 1992.

A dedicated church member, Mays was a member of the Presbyterian Church of St. Albans, where she held positions as elder, clerk of session, chancel choir president, director of the vacation bible school and head of the Christian Education Commission, and she led the Angels of Harmony. Most recently, she was one of the founders of a free Saturday tutoring service.

A well-traveled woman, Mays often went to Africa, visiting several West African countries. Her most favorite visit was a year-long stay in 1980 at the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

In 1991, under the direction of Juliette Hansen, Mays joined a group of women and organized the Queens Nia Club–a precursor to the formation of the Queens Chapter of the Links. The group was chartered as the Greater Queens Chapter of the Links in 1996.

Mays is survived by the last of her eight sisters and brothers, Rose, her husband and sons Frederick D. III, Robert Louis, Gregory and Michael Phillip and host of family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Presbyterian Church of St. Albans Scholarship Fund, with “Dr. Luberta Mays” in the memo (190-04 119th Ave., St. Albans, N.Y. 11412).