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Alberta Cosby-Pearsall, retired school crossing guard

July 24, 1928 – July 5, 2015

Alberta Cosby-Pearsall was proud of her 37 years of dedicated service as a Buffalo Public School crossing guard.

“Financially, the job of crossing guard isn’t very rewarding, but I receive my rewards when I see or read that a child who I protected in the street has made it to the top,” she told the Courier-Express in a November 1972 feature article.

Mrs. Cosby-Pearsall died July 5 in her Buffalo home. She was 86. A funeral was held Monday in Friendship Baptist Church, 402 Clinton St.

Born in Sheffield, Ala., where she toiled for years in cotton fields alongside her mother, Mrs. Cosby-Pearsall moved with her mother to Buffalo in 1952, after they had saved enough money together to embark on a new life. In Buffalo, the only available work she could find was as a domestic servant in a private home.

After working for a family for almost a year, she saw a newspaper advertisement that requested, “Santa Claus bring 24 school crossing guards” to the Buffalo Public Schools. Mrs. Cosby-Pearsall applied and was hired by the Buffalo School Board a year later. Her initial post was at Clinton and Cedar streets. Later, she was stationed at Broadway and Jefferson Avenue. She retired in the early 1990s.

In its 1972 feature on her, the Courier-Express cited Mrs. Cosby-Pearsall’s service and bravery after her quick thinking and action saved two preschool-age children from being hit by a speeding van. She received numerous awards and citations.

Mrs. Cosby-Pearsall’s formal education extended through the 11th grade at Leighton Training School in Muscle Shoals, Ala., but she instilled in her children the importance of a good education, leading two of them to pursue their doctorate degrees and careers as local college professors, while the others each went on to become a high school language arts teacher, poet, a musician, and a community activist.

She is survived by four sons, Bruce, Stanley, Michael and Gregory; a daughter, Cassandra; and four grandchildren.

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