Christine W. McGregor was born on May 30, 1924, to the late Reverend Samuel and Lillie (Fleming-Byrd) Walker in Blountstown, Florida. She was the last surviving sibling of three brothers and three sisters.
Christine graduated from Mayhaw High School in, Blountstown, Florida, in 1943, transferring there after her junior year at Aplalachicola High School in Apalachicola, Florida. The return to Mayhaw High School was made at the request of her former principal. Upon her return to Mayhaw, she was the only senior student at the school. She then became the only high school graduate that year. Consequently, she was Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and class president of her class of one. During her senior year at Mayhaw, she became an education activist and pioneered the establishment of a high school for students in Blountstown; thereby eliminating the need for their parents to spend money to send their children to other towns to receive a high school education.
At the age of 19, Christine traveled to Springfield to live with her sister, Lorraine Ford (April - September) and be near her siblings, Evergreen Bass and Ezra Walker, while working in a yarn-making factory in Ludlow, Massachusetts, to earn money to finance her education at Florida Normal and Industrial College in Miami, Florida (now Florida Memorial University, St. Augustine, Florida), where she was a powerful, dark and lovely influence on campus.
Christine graduated from college in 1947. She was recognized as the first Black person from Blountstown to graduate from college. From 1947 through 1951, she returned to Blountstown to teach elementary school. She was proud to serve the people whom she knew so well. She returned to Springfield in 1951 to enhance her education at Springfield College, where she earned a Masters Degree in Education.
With determination and a passion for teaching, she began searching for an opportunity to teach in local public schools. In 1955, she was the first Black educator hired to teach elementary school in Agawam, Massachusetts. In 1961, she was hired to teach elementary school grades at the former Robert O. Morris Elementary School (now developed into condominium units), in Springfield. After the closing of the Robert O. Morris School, she went on to teach at Balliet Elementary School, where she taught until her retirement in 1991.
Although retired from fulltime teaching, she continued working as an educator as a substitute teacher in SPS, in addition to teaching English as a Second Language and mentoring Russian, Vietnamese, Russian, Haitian, and African immigrants.
Christine served on the Board of Directors of the Girls Club Family Centers of America. In addition, she served as Director of Christian Education, and worked with youth groups at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Springfield, where she was a faithful worshipper for many years. Christine was the family historian who enjoyed storytelling, writing, speaking, and acting as she reminisced and shared her experiences. Her flare for dramatic acting shone through in her participation as a member of the former Dunbar Players acting troupe.
The vibrant, talented, loquacious, lover of God and family, Christine McGregor, was pre-deceased by her husband, Winston B. McGregor Sr., her siblings, Evergreen Bass, Lorraine Ford, Ezra Walker Sr., Fanny Russ, Buddy Davis, and daughter-in-law, Caroline McGregor.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory her sons, Winston B. Jr. and Eric W. McGregor Sr.; a special niece, Dr. Gloria B. (and Bud) Williams, with whom she shared a close bond and relied on to address her needs; four grandchildren, Aneesah, Winston B. III (and Crystal), Eric W. Jr., and Anthony McGregor; three great-grandchildren, Kombe, Aya, and Missonde McGregor; her goddaughter, Connie Fredericks-Malone, of New York; and host of nieces, nephews, other relatives; and many friends. The family is grateful to Camille Gordon and Alecia Taylor for their many years of care and companionship.
The calling hour is 10-11 a.m. Friday at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 45 Buckingham Street, Springfield, MA, followed by funeral services at 11, with burial in Oak Grove Cemetery.
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