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Rosalind B. Askew-Walker

December 3, 1954 September 8, 2020
Rosalind B. Askew-Walker
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Obituary for Rosalind B. Askew-Walker

Dr. Rosalind Benita Askew-Walker, Ed.D.

Rosalind Benita Askew was born on December 3, 1954, to Clara Mae Askew Whitmire, in Kansas City, Missouri. As the oldest of six children, she became a natural-born executive leader and nurturing caregiver.

She attended primary and secondary school in the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District. While a 4th grader, Rosalind was introduced to and fell in love with playing the violin-a skill that would take her far in life! Upon graduation from Wyandotte High School in 1972, she matriculated to Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas with only her violin and one suitcase. Despite humble beginnings, she had the grit, grace, and tenacity to succeed. In 1975, Rosalind was initiated into the Delta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Music Education degree holding a concentration in Public School Music and Psychology. She completed post-graduate work at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Called to influence and reach, Rosalind began her career as an educator in the Kansas City Missouri School District (KCMSD) in 1977. With a dynamic and versatile career spanning almost 40-years of service, she taught: second grade, band, orchestra, choir, and general music. One of her most noted achievements during her career was creating and directing the KCMSD’s Suzuki Violin Program from 1989-2000. She was one of the first in her field to create such an innovative public-school program that exposed urban disenfranchised children to playing classical music on stringed instruments. Her role included implementing a robust Suzuki violin curriculum and program in four different Visual and Performing Arts elementary schools where over two-hundred young string players and their parents learned to competently read, emote, and perform classical music. In 2005, she graduated with Honors earning her Master of Arts in Education degree from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. As she approached retirement, she went on to teach other music teachers in her role as the KCMSD’s Early Childhood Strings Resource Teacher as well as the Facilitator for the Humanities Department.

As a young professional, the world was her oyster. She loved to travel to St. Louis and Chicago to shop! In 1983, Rosalind was recognized and named Outstanding Young Woman of America. With all her professional achievements, she desired to build a family of her own. In 1985, she went on to adopt her newborn daughter, Patrice. Thereafter, in 1988, she married her husband, Charles Walker, Jr. of 22 years before the marriage was dissolved. As the Walker family, the three shared great memories of recitals, vacationing, and hosting magnanimous holiday gatherings for their dearest friends and family members.

Rosalind loved the Lord and was a true student of His Word. She often took advanced courses of study in order to enhance her own personal knowledge of God’s love letter. The Walker family began their collective faith journey as members, albeit brief, of Sheffield Family Life Center, where her shepherd was Pastor George Westlake, before joining Mount Zion Church of God in Christ (COGIC) under the leadership of The Late Elder Pratis Henry. Rosalind served as the Orchestra Director of The William H. McDonald Fine Arts Orchestra within the Kansas East COGIC Jurisdiction. Additionally, she was a devoted member of the National COGIC Orchestra which would often perform during the National COGIC conventions in Memphis, Tennessee and abroad in the Bahamas. Later the Walker family joined Amazing Grace International COGIC under the leadership of Pastor Vernard Johnson. While there, Sister Walker served as the Sunday School Teacher and Coordinator for students ages five to twelve. During the last few years of her earthly journey, Rosalind lived out her faithful service by returning to attend Mount Zion COGIC under the leadership of Pastor Peter Pullium.

After retiring from teaching, Rosalind dedicated her time to finishing the work God had begun in her years prior-finishing her doctorate degree! Though the journey was great, she earned her Doctorate of Education degree from Capella University in 2017, where her concentration was Education Leadership and Management.

Besides attending concerts, shopping, decorating, and watching reality television, one of her greatest non-professional passions was cooking. Rosalind had every spice imaginable and every ingredient a person would ever need. She had an impeccable aptitude to cook everything from scratch! This was a life-skill she inherited from her mother, the late Clara Mae, and a legacy she passed down to her daughter.

The apples of her eyes will always be her grandchildren: Phaedra Elise (8), Melodie Victoria (5), and William Kyrie (2). She loved to shop for and spoil her grandchildren rotten! Shopping and buying things for her loved ones gave her great joy. Next to being called “Mom”, she loved being affectionately known as “Grandma.” Grandma Rosalind made memories by sharing family stories, making slime, watching movies, girly manicure slumber parties, smuggling the sweetest and gooiest of snacks, and playing board games with her grandchildren. One of her last statements spoken to her hospice team was “my home is [in] Ohio.”

On the morning of September 8, 2020, after a lengthy yet courageous battle with adrenal cancer, the Lord called Rosalind home from her earthly labor into His eternal reward. During her last week, God allowed her to spend precious and peaceful time with her daughter, Patrice, son-in-law, William, brother Keenan Gentry, and sister-in-Christ, Debra Payne. Even as she underwent the process of transitioning away from her loved ones, she was still teaching them. She taught the most powerful lessons she would ever teach, all while exemplifying the Godly virtues of: love, strength, honor & forgiveness. She will be forever remembered for her intelligence, generosity, spirit of excellence, as well as that beautiful smile!

To continue her legacy of excellence, she leaves behind: her daughter Patrice Rochelle (William) and grandchildren: Phaedra, Melodie, and William all of Bedford Heights, Ohio; her brothers, James Harris of Kansas City, Missouri and Keenan (Gabi Otto) Gentry of Kansas City, Kansas, along with her sister, Ernestine Askew of Longview, Texas. Rosalind’s mother, Clara Mae Askew Whitmire, and her sisters Natalie Harris and Adrian Whitmire all preceded her in death. Additionally, she leaves a host of dear relatives, friends, students, former colleagues and sorority sisters: including; but not limited to, her aunts Ethel Lee Askew Jordan of Kansas City, Kansas, Anna Marie Askew Stillman of Kansas City, Missouri, and Whittie Lou Rosenthal Askew of Kansas City, Kansas, her uncle Horace (Doris) Askew of Hope, Arkansas, nephew, Charles Eric Quincy (McKenna) Askew of Lebanon, Missouri, nieces Kalimara (Lindsay) Otto Gentry of Providence, Rhode Island and Katja Otto Gentry of Kansas City, Kansas, and her sister-in-Christ, Debra Payne of Kansas City, Kansas.

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Previous Events

Memorial

Friday

9

Oct

1:00 PM 10/9/2020 1:00:00 PM
Highland Park Funeral Home and Crematory

4101 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66102

Highland Park Funeral Home and Crematory
4101 State Avenue Kansas City 66102 KS
United States
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