Rita Francis Alston-Roberts

November 11, 1946 ~ November 8, 2022 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Rita Alston-Roberts Obituary

The Celebration of Life Service for Mrs. Alston-Roberts will be live streamed on the Facebook Page of Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor



Honor Rita with a donation to Alzheimer's Research at


Rita Francis Alston Roberts, daughter of the late Hodgesty Venore Alston and Virginia Williamson Alston, was  born on November 11, 1946 in Durham, North Carolina.  She departed this earthly life at the age of 75 years old and transitioned to her heavenly home on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 2:12 a.m. from Transitions Lifecare, Raleigh, North Carolina.  

She accepted Christ at an early age as her personal Lord and Savior and became a member of White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina where she was an active member serving faithfully in any capacity she was needed.

Rita lived and was educated in Durham until high school.  She attended Allen High a private all girl school in Asheville, North Carolina, and from there  she attended Winston Salem State University, North Carolina State University, and Duke University.  She is a lifelong educator. She began teaching in Martinsville, Virginia in 1968. Then she moved back to North Carolina where she worked in Durham Public Schools and Wake County Public Schools. Rita served in a variety of roles before retiring in 2005. 

Rita was a member of Wake Chapel Church for over 40+ years, and she served on several ministries such as Usher Board, Legal and Political Committee, Food Bank, Senior Choir, ECD. In addition, she founded one of the first programs for children and teens at the church called Youth for Christ, and she founded along with Mrs. Esther Dozier the L.I.L.A.C.S., a senior ministry that is still in full swing today. 

Rita was first inspired to do the hard work of helping others when she heard the story of her cousin, James Moses Horton, as a young child. James Moses Horton was a slave who walked from Chapel Hill to Raleigh trying to earn his freedom.  

 Each time, Horton would walk to the Raleigh Registry, a Republican newspaper, and attempt to sell his poetry. He was never able to purchases his freedom, but he is known in history as the first black published poet.  “His determination was undeniable and is at the core of the work that I do today. I combine the determination that I learned from my cousin with my compassion for the community to continue to make a difference. 

Rita’s work has been about making personal connections with those who are traditionally ignored,  making sure that their voices are heard, and that they have access to appropriate resources to be successful. Her goals are centered around organizing precincts in the communities with the most need. 

She was a former member of Democratic Women of Wake County, Wake County League of Women Voters, Wake County Democratic Party African American Caucus, and member of the Order of The Eastern Star in Constellation, Chapter No. 641.   

​Rita’s service included managing a 21stCentury Learning Center and creating the first alternative program for Durham Public Schools. Her service has also included supervising the first Intense Mental Health Unit for adults with dual diagnosis. In addition, she served as a Federal Reading Coordinator for the Educational Professional Administration. 

 As a Democrat she helped organize more than 130 precincts in several different counties. Over recent years she had devoted a tremendous amount of time, enthusiasm, and patience to organizing Democrats at the grassroots level. 

 North Carolina Democrats elected Rita to be one of their Hillary Clinton Delegates at the Convention. While in attendance, Rita was one of the winners of the Best Hat Award at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and she was featured in several news articles.

 Rita takes action and makes it happen! Rita has worn many hats over the years as she supported the Democratic Party with her heart and her actions.  She has served in the following positions: 

 • Congressional District Minority Chair in the 4th and the 13th districts 

• Vice Chair of the NCDP Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus 

• Chair, Secretary & Treasurer for Wake County Precinct 08-05 

 Rita has a proven record of excellence which includes: 

• Oak Leaf Award – NC PTA Board of Managers 

• First Place Award from the March of Dimes Parent Education Program 

• JC Penney Parent Education Award 

• Governor’s Award (Statewide) from Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. for  

Distinguished Meritorious Service To The People and State of North Carolina 

• National Sales Achievement Award (Million Dollar Round Table Award for New York Life Insurance Company)

• National Alliance of Businessmen Award for exemplary service, business 

leadership, social consciousness in furthering the national cause. 

• Governor’s Education First Task Force Award from Governor Michael F. Easley

Founder of the following programs: 

• Founder of A.C.T.S. Academic Acts Counseling Training Session Program 

• Founder of the Learning Enhancement Adolescent Program 

 Rita Alston was honored with the 2016 UNITY IN DIVERSITY AWARD at the North Carolina Democratic Party’s InternationaL Night at the Goodwin House in Raleigh.  The script on the Award presented to Rita said: “For A Lifetime Of Outstanding Contributions To Unifying The Community.”

 Rita has been doing this work of helping others for years, but she always thought that there was much more work yet to be done. She was not satisfied until the people of forgotten communities were able to talk at potluck dinners with their politicians and make sure their voices were heard.  She had said, “Though this work is difficult and will take time to fully accomplish, if there is one thing I have learned from my cousin, James Moses Horton, it is to keep pushing until you achieve your goals.” That is the message she wants all young people to understand…it’s not too late and never give up. Just do your best!

 Remember that: All that we loved and cherished in the life of our loved one can never die, these shall resist the empires of decay, when time is over, and life has flown away, Lo in the grave her perished bones may lie, but the love that warmed it can never die.

 Rita is preceded in death by her late husband Edward Delano Roberts, Jr. of 44 years, brother Venore Richard Alston, maternal grandparents, Ephraim Williamson and Sallie Crawley Williamson, paternal grandparents Enoch Alston and Alice Johnson Alston, maternal great grandparents,  Solomon Crawley Vaughn and Morning Crawley Vaughn; and great paternal grandfather Orin Alston.

 She leaves to cherish her memories, one son Edward Roberts (Vanessa), one daughter, Michelle Charles (William), three grandchildren, Christie Charles, Jackson Charles, and Nigel Charles, five nieces Tara Alston (Mike Thomas), Latasha Alston, Vernetta Alston (Courtney), Marian Belk, and Danielle Hicks (Timothy), seven nephews, Derrick Green (Kim), Antoine Alston, Omar Alston, Cedrick Chavis (Chasidy), Justin Roberts, and Anthony Roberts (Olivia), Gregory Roberts, Jr., two sisters-in-law Nettie Alston and Deborah Roberts Belk (Hollie), four brothers-in-law, Michael Roberts, Gregory Roberts (Wanda), and Roscoe Roberts (Angela), a host of cousins, friends, and special friends Lynn Lyle, Doris Joyner, and Sandra Strayhorn. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rita Francis Alston-Roberts, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Rita Francis Alston-Roberts?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Rita's memory.


November 11, 2022

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
3137 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

Visitation / Viewing
November 12, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Wake Chapel Church
4509 Bland Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

Celebration of Life
November 12, 2022

11:00 AM
Wake Chapel Church
4509 Bland Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

November 12, 2022

3:00 PM
Beechwood Cemetery
3300 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707


© 2023 Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility