Roberta was born on August 5, 1943, to Hugh Harvell and Zettie Harris in the city of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Zettie later went on to marry Ardusters Felton in which a blended family began. Roberta’s early childhood years were spent amongst her siblings, her family, and her church friends in the Washington D.C. area. She also completed her early education while residing in D.C. area. Roberta was always known for her cooking skills and as a child, her favorite original recipe was her sweet potato biscuit sandwich. The family would spend many fond Holidays and Vacations traveling to Pittsburgh, PA.
Roberta was first introduced to Christ while attending Refreshing Spring C.O.G.I.C. under the leadership of late Bishop A.D. Headen. Roberta’s childhood activities were centered around her church involvement. While attending Refreshing Spring C.O.G.I.C, Roberta was a member of the youth choir and junior usher board among many other church activities.
During her teenage years Roberta relocated to Pittsburgh and resided with her grandmother Leslie, and ultimately went on to reside with her aunt and uncle, John, and Blanche Harris. While living in Pittsburgh, she went on to graduate from Westinghouse High School in 1962. She later met and married Johnnie Becton, and during their union Roberta gave birth to three girls (Christine, Celestine, and Denise). The family moved to Los Angeles, California in 1965 during the Watts riots. Although Roberta and Johnnie dissolved their marriage, the family was resilient and thrived. While living in LA, Roberta attended LA Southwest College to further her education.
Roberta’s early working days consisted of a position as a Bingo Attendant where she was responsible for paying the winners. This may be where she developed a little fondness for games of chance, and her favorite was playing the slot machines. She also worked for Kelly Girl Services for a short time. After leaving Kelly Girl Services, she went on to work for Dominoes which was a clothing company. She worked there for 18 years before retiring.
In 1984, while attending a nightclub after work, Roberta met her soul mate Jimmy (JT) Taylor whom she affectionately called “J”. Jimmy was the drummer of the band and ultimately became the beat to her heart. The two were inseparable and eventually married on Valentine’s Day in 1988. The two blended their families together and created years of fun and cherished memories.
In 1993, Jimmy and Roberta relocated to Artesia, NM. The two joined Bethel Baptist Church in 1995, and it was during that year, Roberta was baptized under the leadership of the late Pastor W.H. Miller. Roberta was an active member of Bethel Baptist church serving in many capacities. She served as the church financial clerk, secretary of the choir, and was a hospitality greeter who read the morning announcements during Sunday morning service.
In 1995, she also became a member of the Eastern Star, Chapter NO. 11 in Artesia NM, and received numerous Certificates of Appreciation and Achievements. She was a faithful member until her health prevented the two from making the long commutes for their meetings.
Roberta was preceded in death by her mother, Zettie H, Felton; father, Hugh R. Harvell; stepfather Ardusters Maxie Felton; stepmother, Rosa Massenburg-Harvell; sisters, Elaine O. Felton, Yvonne Felton-Jordan and Doris Felton-Cunningham; and brothers, Robert Leon Harvell and Donald R. Harvell, and her son in law, Bruce Dion Taylor.
Left to pass on her legacy of love are her husband, Jimmy Taylor; daughters, Christine L. (DeeDee) Becton-Palmer (Terrence), Celestine M. (Pottie) Becton-Taylor (Bruce), and Denise E. (Neicy) Becton (Michael); grandsons, Ronnell Woods and Terrence Palmer III; granddaughter, Tyler McDuffie; great-grandson Brent’ton Woods; great-granddaughter Bri’elle Woods; brothers, Ardusters Nathan Felton (Carole), Larry Harvell (Barbara), Wayne Harvell (Kimberly), and Lester Harvell (Janney); sisters, Ethel Mae Felton-Watson, Patricia Harvell-Groce (Ronald), Lorraine Harvell-DeFairia, Iris Harvell-McGraw, and Lisa Harvell; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family and friends.
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