Bobby Maxine Coley, age 84, a lifelong resident of Perry County and long time principal of Francis Marion High School, went to be with the Lord August 6, 2023.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Freeman S. Coley and Dora M. Coley. Ms. Coley leaves behind a brother, Freeman G. Coley (Margaret), niece Traci Busby (Terry) and her children Stephenie Funaro (Freddie), Katy Harper and Coley Harper; nephew, Michael Coley (Sarah) and their children Sallie Konazeski (Bryce) and Cray Coley; niece, LeAnne Coates (Mark) and their children Emily Coates, Lila Coates & Charlie Coates.
Maxine’s elementary and high school education were in the Perry County public school system. She was graduated from Judson College with a BA degree in 1960. She received her master’s degree in School Administration from Alabama State University in 1986. She also completed additional work at Florence State University and the University of Alabama.
She taught in the Winfield School System after graduation from Judson and then returned home to teach at Francis Marion High School. After seven years as a Health and Physical Education teacher in the Marion City School System, she became assistant principal at Robert C. Hatch High School and then was appointed as principal of Francis Marion High School.
The Perry County School System and the Marion City School System merged during this time. Maxine was given the task of merging four schools into one school: West Side High School, East Perry High School, Francis Marion High School, and Heiberger Jr. High School. The task was not easy, but her deep love for each student, faculty member, and staff personnel allowed her to rise above the obstacles and accomplish a task few could have done with such grace and fortitude.
Maxine Coley was a woman with a deep love for others. She spent her entire working career in education. Her vision of providing an excellent education for all students is shown in the recognition of Francis Marion High School being rated as one of the top ten schools in the United States during her tenure.
During the last seven years Maxine served as principal of Francis Marion High School, the school held all greens and met state accountability requirements. There were no dropouts and the graduation rate went from 96% to 100%. There are few schools in the United States that can claim that accomplishment.
She would be the first to tell you that some recognition is wonderful, but what matters most is the value of each student and what direction his or her life will take. She made it her life’s goal to be sure that each student in her care felt that value.
Maxine’s excellence in the field of education and her leadership skills have been recognized over the years. She was listed in Who’s Who in the Field of Education, Who’s Who for Women in Administration and Education, Woman of the Year by the Civic Club of Marion, Outstanding Perry County Citizens Award, and nominated for Outstanding Teacher Award for Alabama.
Maxine belonged to many local and national organizations. She was a tional speaker for the State Department of Education, and successfully inspired many faculties and student bodies in Alabama. Maxine also served on the Alabama State Board of Trustees for twelve years. During part of that tenure, she was elected as Vice- Chair.
Visitation will be from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm with service following at 2:00 pm, Friday, August 11, 2023 at Siloam Baptist Church, 505 Washington St. Marion, AL with Rev. Josh Watford officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes, Marion Chapel directing. Graveside will follow at Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Siloam Baptist Church or the Bobby Maxine Coley Scholarship Fund (29315 Hwy 183 Marion, AL. 36756).