Charlena Richburg, 79

Matriarch of large family

March 25, 2007

Charlena Richburg, a longtime Baltimore resident and matriarch of her large family, died Tuesday of complications from multiple diseases at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. She was 79.

Born Charlena Taylor in Timmonsville, S.C., she moved to Baltimore when she was 13 to live with an aunt, said daughter Shirley Richburg, of Howard Park.

Mrs. Richburg had her first child when she was 17 years old. She went to night school at Dunbar High School but did not graduate, said her daughter.

Mrs. Richburg devoted her life to her large family. She was married to Lonzer Richburg for 58 years. The couple lived in Howard Park, where much of their family still resides.

Family members were always in and out of the couple's home, living with them at various times. "She was very strong and family-oriented," said Shirley Richburg. "[S]he would go on and on about different family members."

When she wasn't taking care of her own family, Mrs. Richburg took care of other people's children, running a day care facility at her home until about seven years ago, said her daughter.

Mrs. Richburg was also an active member of Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church, where she sang in the women's chorus.

She was also the neighborhood baker and hairstylist, known for her biscuits, pies and pastries.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2100 W. Baltimore St.

In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived by three other daughters, Peggy Evans of Howard Park, Maxine Ridgley of West Baltimore and Glenda Johnson of Randallstown; two sons, Charles Richburg of Howard Park and Tyrone Richburg of Randallstown; 19 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren. Two of Mrs. Richburg's daughters and a stepson preceded her in death.

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