Obituary for Mrs. Billie J. Kerl Roberts

Mrs. Billie J. Kerl Roberts thumbnail

Mrs. Billie J. Kerl Roberts

January 30, 1945 - May 17, 2020

Billie JoZette Kerl Roberts Musical Giant… Vibrant Spirit… The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I fear Psalms 27: 1

Billie Jo Kerl was the oldest child born to Ophelia Roberts and James Monroe (JM) Kerl on January 30, 1945, in Dallas, Texas.

Her love of music began at home with her parents who shared their love of music with Billie and her siblings Johnnie Bradford and Beverly Ann. Growing up in a house filled with song, she was enrolled in piano lessons at the tender age of 6. Everyone knew that Billie had a special gift. By 12 years old, she was hired as pianist and choir director for the Youth Choir at Kirkwood C.M.E. Church; her first job.

Billie attended James Madison High School (Dallas, TX). Needing a date to the junior prom, Billie’s home economics teacher, who believed she knew the perfect gentleman to serve as Billie’s date… Alfred Roberts.

Continuing on her path in music, she attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where she received her Bachelor’s in Music Education Degree (B.MEd), her Master’s in Music Education Degree (M.MEd) from North Texas State University (UNT), and later her supervisory certification from Texas Woman’s University.

She also went on to marry her prom date, Alfred Roberts. Married for 52 years, they raised three children, Alfrelynn, LaTasha and Alfred Jr., who were the joys of her life. Later her grandchildren Alfred Jeremiah and Lailah Anais filled the heart of their beloved Mama B.

Billie taught choral music, music theory, theater and speech in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) at Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy (where she penned the school song), L. G. Pinkston, W.T. White, Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt High Schools, and at Charles Rice Elementary School. Her choirs at Roosevelt were locally, statewide, nationally, and inter-nationally acclaimed. She also spent several years as the Director for Choral Music and Art for DISD, as well as the Area 2 Fine Arts Specialist.

Billie also served as Director of Music Ministries at Bethel A.M.E. Church, St. Paul A.M.E. Church, St. Luke “Community” UMC, and Friendship-West Baptist Church and served as accompanist for the sanctuary choir at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, and the children’s choir at St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church (UMC).

After retiring from the Dallas Independent School District in 2016 after forty-five (45) years of service, “Sister Billie” or “Ms. Billie”, as she is often called, worked with numerous religious, community and civic organizations. An active member of St. Luke “Community” UMC, she also served as president of the Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association and mentored choral conductors in Dallas and Lancaster ISD. She was also the founding member of New Arts Six Spiritual Ensemble, and a proud (50+ Years) member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dallas Metroplex Musicians Association (DMMA)/National Association of Negro Musicians (Charter Member), The National Alliance of Black School Educators, Texas Choral Directors Association, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Fine Arts Chamber Players, to name a few. Her life and artistry impacted generations.

Billie was a distinguished and accomplished musician and educator who received many awards and accolades for her work in the schools, church and the community. Honors included 1976 Outstanding Service Award – Lincoln High School, 1982 Gold Music Award Recipient, 1985 Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of Health and Human Services, 1986 Outstanding Contribution to Black History Symposium – Region VI, 1996 High School Teacher of the Year, 1997 Outstanding Support of Langston University Concert Choir and Department of Music, 2007 Inducted into the Dallas Chapter Gospel Music Workshop of America Circle of Honor, 2011 DMMA Musician of the Year, and 2014 University of Texas at Austin Distinguished Music Educator Award to name a few. In 2019, Billie received a proclamation naming the DMMA Junior/Youth Division in her honor.

Billie Kerl Roberts was gifted with huge talents. But she will most be remembered by those who knew her for her open heart, her big laugh, her deep faith, and the joy and care she gave to everyone she touched.

Billie leaves as her most important legacy, LOVE.

Billie joins her mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother, and leaves a host of family and friends to honor and celebrate her spirit: husband, Dr. Alfred L. Roberts, Sr.; sister, Dr. Beverly A. Mitchell-Brooks; daughters, Alfrelynn Roberts, LaTasha Roberts; son Alfred L. Roberts, Jr. (Monique Leonard, mother of grandchildren); grandchildren, Alfred Jeremiah and Lailah Anais; sister-in-law, Alma Lee Kerl, nieces, Karolyn Kerl-Blue, Jocelyn Kerl, Teri Mitchell Porter (Rico), Dr. Stacy Mitchell-Doyle (Mike); grand-nieces, Olivia Rose Porter, Lillian Ophelia Doyle; nephews, James Kerl (Jennifer), Don Kerl (Sharon), Anthony Kerl; special daughters, Angela M. Jenifer (Theodore), Margaret Hudson-Boozer, Monya Davis Logan; special sisters Lena Lane, Shirley Ison-Newsome, Marilyn Calhoun (Michael), Shelly Parker (RA), Sammie McAfee, Karen Harrison (Ernest), Grecian Holley, Eva Flowers (Wilbert),
Virginia Terry (Bishop TT); special brothers Marvin Cowens (Barbara), Larry Willis, William Mitchell (Verna).


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Service Schedule

Visitation Information

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020

Time: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Black and Clark Funeral Home


2517 E. Illinois Avenue, Dallas, TX, 75216

Service Information


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Timeline for Mrs. Billie J. Kerl Roberts

Born: January 30, 1945
Died: May 17, 2020

Condolences for Mrs. Billie J. Kerl Roberts

Reverend P. J. Jackson posted on 5/29/20

I was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Sister Billie Roberts so would like to extend my condolences to her many family members and friends. She will be greatly missed by those like me who were blessed to have known her through her music.


Ron & Gwen Moore, St. Luke Members posted on 5/28/20

God is always in your corner at a time like this--and so are we. Please accept our most sincere condolences in the passing of your wife, mother, grandmother and sister. We are forever grateful to have known Billie Kerl Roberts. Not only was she a great musician and music director, but she was also a melodious songbird as evidenced when she sang at our wedding. We will miss her smiling face and words of encouragement this side of heaven, but trusting God that we will meet and sing again on the other side. May angels walk with you today and always. God Bless.


Cheryl Wyatt posted on 5/27/20

To the family of Mrs. Billie Kerl Roberts: please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of such a wonderful person. We attended high school together and she was so talented, pleasant, and always wore a smile. Her accolades were numerous and speak for a full life of accomplishments, as well as illustrate what she meant to the arts, the music community, and to her family. My prayer is that God will bless all those she left behind, and that you will find comfort in the wonderful memories remaining in your hearts. James Madison Class of 1962


Nathaniel Maloy posted on 5/27/20

In memory of , Nathaniel Maloy lit a candle


Mary White posted on 5/23/20

In memory of , Mary White lit a candle


Willie DeBerry posted on 5/22/20

May God continue to keep you in his Holy presence during these challenging times. He will never leave you or forsake you. God bless you and your family! Will & Sharon DeBerry


Lawana Harrell Porter posted on 5/22/20

Thanks to the Roberts family for sharing Mrs. Billie Kerl Roberts, your wife, mother, and loved one with the wider community. Please accept my condolences on your loss. I knew Billie as a fellow member of St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church and through her patient, devoted and excellent work with the students of the Dallas Independent School District where she worked for decades. As a colleague, when we needed a student choir or soloist to perform at programs for African American History Month, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition, or other cultural occasions, Billie was always willing to prepare and accompany her students. And when she and her students reported for duty, the students were always appropriately prepared and attired, and performed with excellence. Billie enriched the lives of thousands of students through her work as a choral music teacher and upstanding role model, and earned the respect and regard of the Dallas ISD family for her many and varied contributions to the district's culture of excellence. She will be fondly remembered as an incredible asset to our students, their families, the school district, and the city of Dallas.


Julia A Parhams posted on 5/22/20

I, Julia Parhams, remember meeting Billie, parents and Beverly when she came to Garth Chapel AME church to be the musician for our youth choir ministry being about twelve years old. They rode the bus to rehearsals and church services, most of the time. We enjoyed and thought very highly of her and her service to our ministry. After years, we met again when she joined the Music Ministry and being choir director of the Zan Wesley Holmes Sunrise Choir at St. Luke "Community" UMC while also, serving in many other capacities. A Great Woman of GOD who used her gifts glorifying GOD! God will be/is with you. Love, Julia


Larry and Kay Ascough posted on 5/22/20

In memory of , Larry and Kay Ascough lit a candle


Mrs. Charlotte Jo Estell Govan posted on 5/21/20

To the Roberts Family- -Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” Mrs. Billie Kerl Roberts served her purpose well and she will be missed. Our prayers are with you. Sorors Charlotte Jo, Charlenta and Charissa Govan also Dwain M. Govan and Dwain M. Govan, Jr.


Renee Moss posted on 5/21/20

We are truly sorry for your loss. We would like to offer you and your family our deepest and most sincere condolences and may the soul of your mother rest in peace. May our friendship and prayers ease you through this difficult time. The Moss family.


Drs. Stanton and Leola Lawrence and Family posted on 5/21/20

Educators such as Mrs. Roberts were rare and always demonstrated the very best of what one expected of great educational leaders...thoughtful, caring, knowledgeable and extremely professional. Our family is praying for Dr. Al Roberts and the members of her family as she makes her Heavenly Transition. May she rest in peace.


Dr. Deborah Isaac Hopes posted on 5/21/20

I am saddened to hear of Mrs. Roberts transitioning. She shared in vital part of me beginning my teaching career in Dallas. Her helpful and thoughtful nature will forever be treasured memories! May God keep her family in His loving and protective care. Dr. Deborah Isaac Hopes


Dr. Deborah Isaac Hopes posted on 5/21/20

I am saddened to hear of Mrs. Roberts transitioning. She shared in vital part of me beginning my teaching career in Dallas. Her helpful and thoughtful nature will forever be treasured memories! May God keep her family in His loving and protective care. Dr. Deborah Isaac Hopes


IRMA J. DANIELS posted on 5/20/20



Mrs. Qynthia Sanders posted on 5/20/20

My sincere condolences to the family of Billie. Billie and I met when we both worked for the Learning Centers. We became friends and supporters of each other long after I left DallasISD to pursue other career opportunities. She was always available to lend a hand, share her expertise, and offer advice. Billie entrusted me with her precious grands (Lailah and AJ), as she continued to be a great friend and confidant. I will be forever grateful to God for placing Billie in my life. R.I.H. Billie Kerl Roberts Much Love and Respect, Qynthia


Wilnesa Thomas posted on 5/20/20

Condolences to Mrs Roberts family. Mrs. Roberts was my Choir Director at Roosevelt High School. I gained so much wisdom and knowledge from her while there. It felt good to come back again and help form the alumni choir and still be underneath her wisdom and knowledge once again. She will be missed. Love, Wilnesa Gaines Thomas C/O '96 Alto


Hilari Younger-Powell posted on 5/20/20

This is a very tough moment to reconcile. While I know that life is temporary for us all, there are many people whose impact and presence will leave a gaping hole in our minds and spirits. Mrs. Roberts was my friends mom, my neighbor, my choir director, a family friend, my carpool driver,and and overall inspiration. I don’t know if I can think of a kinder and gentler human. I send my deepest condolences, all my love and the brightest light to the Robersts family at this time. She will always be remembered with great admiration and warmth! If only we could all leave footprints so great!


Phyllis Williams posted on 5/20/20

My condolences to a very special lady. She was my son’s choir teacher/director at Roosevelt High School. She was the best. Rest In Peace Mrs. Roberts. You will definitely be missed.