Roberta Shames

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, role-model…

Roberta Levine Shames passed away on January 21, 2021 at the age of 82.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Roberta (or Bobbi as she was known to her family and friends) was a veritable pioneer. She graduated at the top of her class in Journalism from Penn State University (where she was editor of the Nittany Lion daily newspaper). After graduation, Roberta worked for a variety of publications and publishing houses, including the Stars & Stripes (newspaper) where she developed her strong sense of patriotism and pride in the US armed forces. She later worked for Hearst publishing in NY.

After meeting and marrying her husband Abe, Roberta stayed home for several years, raising their three daughters. She later went to work for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, where she taught newly arrived Russian Jews to speak English and navigate American culture. She maintained close friendships with many of those families for years and years.

Roberta returned to school for her teaching certificate and began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in the New Jersey public schools. She continued her own education as well, earning a Masters,’ then Doctorate in Education. After moving from New Jersey to Florida, Roberta worked as a Reading Specialist for the Palm Beach County School District as well as an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University—“teaching the teachers,” as she used to say.

Upon retirement, Roberta moved to Virginia Beach, but continued to “fly south” for the winter before making Virginia her permanent residence.

With her husband of 50 years, Roberta enjoyed traveling and learning about the world around her. She imbued her daughters with a sense of curiosity and adventure, as well. She also passed along her love of art, theater, music, and shopping! Roberta was a strong and no-nonsense individual who encouraged her daughters to be independent thinkers and to stand on their own. At the same time, she adored her sons-in-law. And her grandchildren became the light of her life, and with the arrival of each one, her love for all of them grew taller and wider.

To cherish her memory (and share stories and giggles together), Roberta leaves behind her daughters Lisa (Johnny) Blizzard of Jacksonville, Fla.; Amy (Frank) Zelenka of Virginia Beach; and Margie Pozin (Chris McGahee) of Duluth, Georgia, as well as five grandchildren: Megan, Adam, Joel, Rachel, and Sam… who truly were her greatest treasures.

Donations to the charity of your choice or to any of the following organizations: UJFT COVID Emergency Campaign; Jewish Family Service of Tidewater; Frieda H Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care; Beth Sholom Village; the USO; or the Gary Sinise Foundation.