Dr. Robert Oreece Abernathy


Prefix: Dr.
First Name: Robert
Middle Name: Oreece
Last Name: Abernathy


Degree: Ph.D.
Graduation Year: 1962
Major: Mathematics


According to Heywood Hampton, Robert Abernathy (now deceased) was the first African American to receive a PHD in Math from Berkeley. However , Lloyd K. Williams was six years earlier. Dr. Abernathy taught for many years at South Carolina State in Orangeburg,SC where Heywood attended school.


Robert Oreece Abernathy, the second eldest of seven children born to James and Mamie Abernathy was born in Dallas, Texas on April 16, 1927. He was one of five boys and two girls born to this union.

He was actively involved for many years in the Christian activities of the family church in Dallas, the Greater El Bethel Church.

Robert's early education was received in the Dallas Public School system. At the age of 14, Robert graduated from High School. Following graduation he entered Prairie View A & M College where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Physics. His undergraduate college experience was interrupted for thirteen months when he served in the Marine Corp.

After completing his work at Prairie View he entered the University of California at Berkeley to pursue advanced degrees.

After receiving a PH.D. in mathematics, he taught at San Francisco State College, Southern University - Baton Rouge, Tennessee State University, and South Carolina State University where he retired from in 1992.

While working in Nashville at Tennessee State he met and married his beloved and devoted wife, Dr. Miriam McTeer from Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Robert excelled as a student and teacher throughout his life of service to others. His greatest loves were his wife, his family, his students, and the Lord as his Shepherd. His creative abilities and constant search for new understandings enabled him to find beauty and challenge in all things - in people, a garden, art, music, languages, literature, moments of quiet meditation and travel throughout the world with Miriam. Robert's quiet presence, strength of character and infinite wisdom endeared him to all with whom he came in contact with.

Robert would win many honors as a student, educator, member of the ROTC in college, baseball player as a teenager, and participant in the activities of the YMCA. He was dedicated to his work as an educator and one who enjoyed and always delighted in helping others learn.

Robert passed away on July 19, 1993 and funeral services were held for him on July 23, 1993 at the Simmons Funeral Home Chapel, Paul and Olivia Simmons, Directors, 294 Russell Street NW, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The Rev. J. W. Robinson, Officiated, Dr. Robert Thomas was Organist, Tributes were from Dr. M. Maceo Nance and brother Attorney James R. Abernathy, words of comfort were received from Mr. Kevin Smalls. 

Dr. Robert Oreece Abernathy was Interned at Belleville Memorial Gardens, Orangeburg, South Carolina.


Year Deceased: 1993