Page 3 - Florida Sentinel 2-19-21
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  Retired Longtime Educator Passes At 104
 BY IRIS B. HOLTON Sentinel City Editor
On Saturday, February 6, 2021, a retired Tampa educa- tor quietly passed away at the age of 104. A graveside serv- ice was held for her on Tues- day, February 16th.
In 2016, this writer with the Sentinel had the oppor- tunity to interview her dur- ing her surprise 100th birthday celebration.
At the time, Ms. Bessie Rodriguez shared some of the highlights of her life, ca- reer, and longevity. When asked how does it feel to turn 100? Ms. Rodriguez replied, “I don’t feel like I’m 100. I feel like I’m about 80.”
Ms. Rodriguez was born and raised in Quincy,
Florida. “I don’t remember my mother or my father. I was raised by an aunt and an uncle,” she recalled.
During that interview she said she attended the schools of Gadsden County. After graduating from high school, Ms. Rodriguez enrolled at Florida A & M University. She earned her degree in ed- ucation because her goal was to teach children to read with understanding. After gradu- ating she obtained a job as an educator.
When her uncle and aunt decided to move to Tampa in the 1940s, she came with them. After relocating, she obtained employment with the Hillsborough County School District.
During a career that
Booker T. Washington Jun- ior High School. She retired in 1988 from N. B. Young Junior High School as a Reading Specialist.
Ms. Rodriguez said reading was her only hobby.
She was a longtime mem- ber of St. Paul AME Church, the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Links, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta
Sorority, Inc., and the NAACP.
She is survived by her daughter, Normita R. Jef- fery and husband, Timo- thy; grandchildren, a great granddaughter, other family members and friends.
Ray Williams was in charge of handling arrange- ments.
    MS. BESSIE RODRIGUEZ May 25, 1916 to February 6, 2021
spanned more than 47 years, Ms. Rodriguez taught at Carver Elementary, and

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