Carolyn “Marge” Dunbar Yancey, 89
First African-American woman on state Board of Regents
Carolyn "Marge" Dunbar Yancey, 89, community leader and educator, died at her Atlanta home in November after a prolonged illness.
Mrs. Yancey served on the Atlanta Board of Education for 16 years and was appointed to the State Board of Regents in 1985, the first African-American woman. She was also a member of the Auxiliary to the Atlanta Medical Association, better known as "The Doctors' Wives."
Mrs. Yancey was married to Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr., one of the first African Americans to graduate from Michigan Medical School, a professor emeritus of Emory University School of Medicine and former medical director of Hughes Spaulding Pavilion at Grady Memorial Hospital.
"We knew her as Marge, not Mrs. Asa Yancey," said The Rev. Dr. Norman Rates, Dean Emeritus of Sisters Chapel at Spelman College. "She was forward looking, bold and progressive - a woman who had self-confidence, courage, and conviction.
"Even though she possessed prestige and privilege, she served the least of these and would have been considered by the Apostle John as 'the Lady Elect,' " Rates said. Yancey worked simultaneously on three boards - Spelman College, Atlanta Public Schools, and Georgia Regents.___
Yancey was born February 10, 1921 to the late Henry Steward Dunbar and Annie Dye Dunbar in Detroit, MI. She graduated from Wayne State University in 1941 with a Bachelors degree in Education and Social Work. She married Dr. Yancey, Sr. on December 28, 1944. They moved from Tuskegee, Al., with their four children to southwest Atlanta in 1958.
Rose Palmer, a close associate, remembers Yancey as charming, gracious, lovely, and civic-minded. "Our parents were good friends, and when she moved to Atlanta, we became friends," said Palmer, a Niskey Lake resident and 1950 graduate of Smith College and a 1953 graduate of Stanford University's Graduate School of Management.
"Marge hosted my wedding rehearsal dinner at her home," Palmer said. "She was devoted and dedicated, very active, and served the community until her health declined.
"She bridged the gap during segregation. Working with The Blue Star Camp, she transcended race. She was also a good mother - all her children became successful," Palmer said.
Mrs. Yancey is survived by Dr. Asa G. Yancey, Sr., husband for 65 years; son, Dr. Arthur H. Yancey, II of Atlanta, GA; daughter Dr. Carolyn L. Yancey of Silver Spring, Md.; son, Dr. Asa G. Yancey Jr. of Denver, CO; and eight grandchildren.
Interment was at South-View Cemetery with Murray Brothers Funeral Home providing the arrangements.