Rosa Blue, a local civil rights leader whose efforts have benefited Geneva for 60 years, passed away peacefully on Saturday (January 14, 2018) at the age of 86.
Calling hours will take place on Friday (January 19, 2018) from 5 to 8 p.m. at DeVaney-Bennett Funeral Home, 181 North Main Street, Geneva, NY 14456. The Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 24 Park Place in Geneva.
Donations may be made to the Martin Luther King Scholarship Committee in memory of Mrs. Rosa Blue.
Blue held numerous leadership positions with multiple community organizations dedicated to promoting affordable housing, childcare, educational access and employment opportunities. She tirelessly advocated for the equality of people of diverse racial and socioeconomic groups. She was a faithful member of Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ where she served as the Church Secretary for over 60 years and chaired the Building Fund.
Born in Madison, Fla., she and her husband moved to Geneva in 1949. She was the first female president of the Geneva NAACP, served as Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Commission for more than 30 years, and founded Community Unified Today, Inc., a non-profit community based organization. In 1974, she helped organize the first march in Geneva in memory of Martin Luther King Jr., twelve years before the national holiday was first observed. Through the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, she helped establish a scholarship fund which has helped over 200 students of color realize their goal of attending college.
She received the Loftus C. Carson Human Rights Award from the New York State Division of Human Rights; the Agnes Slosson Lewis Award; multiple honors from the Geneva Chapter NAACP; and the Springstead Award from the Geneva Rotary Club. In May 2012 an honorary doctorate of humane letters was conferred on her by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in recognition of her service to the community.
Rosa is survived by her brother, Thomas Akin of Buffalo; six children Richard (Donna) Blue of Bellingham, Mass., Gloria Blue of Geneva, Cliff (Margaret) Blue of Troutdale, Oregon, Patrisha Blue of Geneva, Robin Blue-Brown (Dez) of Highland, New York and Kenneth Blue of Geneva; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and a host of nieces; nephews; and friends.
She was predeceased by her husband, Clifford Blue and son, Johnnie Blue.