January 31, 1940 – March 9, 2017
It is with great sadness that I inform you that Dr. Barbara Molette, passed away the evening of Thursday, March 9, 2017. She was very proud of her longstanding association with the NEC and was looking forward to the 2017 revival of “Rosalee Pritchett”.
Dr. Barbara Molette touched many lives with her intellect, vision, wit, compassion and grace. Her greatest love was her family. She is survived by her life partner, best friend, travel buddy and husband of 56 years, Dr. Carlton Molette. She has two devoted daughters Carla Molette-Ogden (son-in-law Christopher) and Andrea Molette Bradford (son-in-law Bryon). Her joy and legacy are her grandchildren Courtney and Conrad Ogden. She is also survived by her loving sister Bessie Edwards, brother Baxter Roseburr (sister-in-law Linda), sister-in-law Mary Roseburr, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and many others who adored her like a Mother.
Barbara was a voracious reader, scholar and entrepreneur that loved to travel the world. She savored experiences, people, food and good times. She was a sculptor, painter, award-winning costume designer and prolific writer. She not only had a creative flair, she also loved math and science. She always wanted to use both sides of her brain, so she spent many weekends with her girls creating science experiments. She enjoyed games and played chess, scrabble, and bid whist with aplomb.
She was a model and actress growing up in Los Angeles, starring in high school and college plays. Little known fact: Barbara made appearances in “Imitation of Life” starring Lana Turner and in “Bright Road” starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge.
Barbara was best known professionally for her contribution to the theatre. Through her writing, she expressed herself in ways she never imagined growing up. She wrote with historical and cultural detail, but her true love was comedy. She enjoyed elaborately woven blue tales that evoked vivid visuals. The best ones made her laugh out loud so hard that it would take her several minutes to regain her composure.
She prided herself on her writing partnership with Carlton. Together they wrote more than 20 plays, 2 books and countless other scholarly works, poems and short stories. The world knew them as a team and recognized their unique collaboration. Most recently they received the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival’s Theatre Legend Award; National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award; Black Theatre Network’s Lifetime Membership Award; Working Title Playwrights’ Ethel Woolson Award for their play “Legacy” and the Connecticut Arts Council Award for their play “Prudence”.
She was a university professor whose influence spanned 5 continents. As a professor, she taught thousands of students over 50 years at Spelman College, Texas Southern University, Morgan State University, Baltimore City Community College and Eastern Connecticut State University. She attended Spelman College, received her bachelor’s from Florida A&M University and she was awarded the first M.F.A. degree in Theatre from Florida State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and was later recognized as a distinguished alumna. She retired as Professor Emerita at Eastern Connecticut State University, where she served as Chair of the English Department.
Barbara will always be remembered as a generous, gentle soul.
Dr. Carlton Molette
Dr. Carla Molette-Ogden, (Christopher Ogden)
Andrea Molette Bradford, (Bryon Bradford)
The Molette Family