Bryn Athyn College Alumni Magazine Fall/Winter 2017-18 - Page 24

running header Roberta's father was a decorated hero and prisinor of war who passed away when she was five weeks old. Roberta had a very special bond with her mother, who faced tremendously difficult circumstances being widowed twice. to tell her that she couldn’t, because at the time Princeton was a school just for boys. In fact, Ro- berta explains that, at that time, it was expected for most girls to graduate high school and get married or become a nurse. She chose a different path. Upon high school graduation Roberta took the scholarship exam at Manor College, and sure enough, she received one. She took the legal secre- tarial two-year program and then worked at a law firm where she met her husband, Frank. They had their first three children in fast succession, and Ro- berta juggled caring for her young children with go- ing to night school at LaSalle for her Bachelor of Arts in psychology, which she earned, magna cum laude. Even though Frank was a very successful trial lawyer, Roberta was adamant that as a mother she needed to be able to support her children finan- cially. She had learned through the passing of her father and stepfather, and seeing her mother face these very difficult and unexpected life changes, that one must be ready for the unexpected. Roberta’s father, James O. Lyons, had been a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II, and after a courageous stand at Ardennes, he and thousands of other soldiers were taken as prisoners. 24 | F A L L / W I N T E R 2 0 1 7 - 1 8 After being held as a POW for four and a half months, he was liberated and then repatri- ated to U.S. soil. Just weeks before his return stateside, his baby daughter, Roberta, had been born. Due to malnutrition and pneu- monia, Lt. Lyons passed away just weeks after his homecoming. This left Roberta’s mother, Sally, alone with a 17-month-old boy, James, and a five-week-old infant, Roberta. Years later Sally married William Rapp, and then experienced his sud- den passing when he was only in his fifties. Roberta was deeply impacted by these experiences and by her mother’s struggle which she witnessed so intimately. She learned that “life can change in an instant, and one must be prepared at all costs.” As an adult, having obtained her bachelor’s de- gree, and still raising a passel of kids, Roberta went to work at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (which later became Philadelphia University) as an event coordinator. She then applied to become assistant director of graduate admissions. While in that role, and while stepping in as acting director of graduate admissions, Roberta earned her Master of Science in instructional technology. Some time later Roberta took a job at Holy Fam- ily University where she became the executive director of undergraduate admissions. After five years there, she went to Immaculata University for a year before leaving in order to tend to a broken arm that ɔ)եɕձѥɝɥ̸%Ё݅́Ёɔ͡)݅́эѼЁѼݽɬչ)Ё]ȁUٕͥ丁]ѡɔ́ѡɕѽȁ)ɅՅєɽЁа͡ѕ)ȁѽɅєݽɬչՍ́ɥ