It is with great sadness we announce that Dr Maben Dixon Herring, 90, a resident of Arlington, VA, passed away on 17 May 2020 at the Sunrise Bluemont Park Senior Living Facility.
Maben was born in Asheville, NC to Benjamin Dixon Sr and Mabel Maynor Dixon. Her unique name came from a combination of her parents’ names. She was the second of five children. Maben had one brother and three sisters.
Always intelligent as a young child, learning, education and teaching became very important to Maben as she matured. After graduating from high school in Asheville at age 16, she attended Johnson C Smith University. There Maben majored in English and History, became a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), Inc Sorority and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1949 with a BA.
In May of 1953, Maben married James B Herring of Cincinnati, OH in Charlotte, NC. She subsequently took a position as an instructor at Johnson C Smith and began work under a Kent Fellowship from the Danforth Foundation on what turned out to be her first master’s degree. After the couple moved to Milwaukee, WI in 1957, she ultimately received that degree from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in 1958. During this time, Maben also taught in the public school system of Milwaukee.
Maben moved with her husband to Baltimore, MD in 1959. That was the year the couple started a family with the birth of her daughter Debra. The couple moved to Burlington, VT in 1961 following the birth of her son David. There Maben cared for her new family and taught at the South Burlington High School.
Maben moved again with her husband and children in late 1962 to South Bend, IN. There she cared for her family, taught at Saint Joseph and John Adams High schools, and continued her graduate work.
Maben received a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Notre Dame in 1965. She then went on to earn a PhD in 18th Century British Literature from Notre Dame in 1974. During this period, Maben also worked as a teaching assistant at Notre Dame. After receiving her PhD, she worked as an Assistant Professor at the university, and was one of the first African-American women to do so at Notre Dame. She also worked as an Assistant Professor at Indiana University - South Bend.
Maben returned to Asheville in 1975 when her mother became ill. While there, she cared for her ailing mother. She also took a position on the faculty at the University of North Carolina - Asheville as an Associate Professor of Literature.
Following her mother’s death in 1977, Maben accepted a position with The National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC where she worked in the Division of Research Grants in its Research Materials Program. As a specialist in both 18th Century British Literature and Afro-American Studies, Maben advised in matters of program policy, participated in the selection of panelists and consultants, and contributed to development of research tools and surveys for the scholarly fields relating to her specific interests and experience. She remained at the Endowment until she retired in 2000 as a Division Director. During her retirement, Maben enjoyed cultivating orchids, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Maben was preceded in death by her parents; her Daughter Debra Herring; her ex-husband James B Herring; and her siblings Benjamin Dixon, Jr (Virginia - living), Aletha Scott (Eugene), and Marguerite McElrath.
She is survived by her son David Herring of Alexandria VA; her sister Vivian Stafford (Lonnie) of Clearwater, FL; her niece Doretha Dixon of Arlington, VA; her nephews: Charles McElrath (Carolyn) of Durham, NC, Ronald McElrath (Clayvonne) of Hope Mills, NC, Gene Scott, Jr. (Zymora) of Richmond, VA, Brian Scott of Alexandria, VA, Richard Stafford of New City, NY; her Godson Steven Henderson, of Catonsville, MD; and her dear friends Cathy Henderson of Catonsville, MD, Frank and Esther Street of Bethesda, MD; and a host of great nieces/nephews, cousins, former students, former colleagues and friends who loved her and will miss her dearly.
All are grateful to the staff of Sunrise at Bluemont Park Senior Living and PHS Hospice Care for the compassionate care Maben received in her declining years.
A memorial service is not planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Maben’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.