Roberta Lynn McKinney Román passed away peacefully the morning of Nov. 27, 2021, at her residence in Phoenix, Arizona, following a decline in health due to cancer. Known to her friends as “Bobbi” or “Rubi”, she was born at the K4 Ranch in Prescott, Arizona, to Robert and Ethelda “Pudge” McKinney on Feb. 17, 1954. In May of that year, the family moved to the Eureka Ranch in the Aravaipa Canyon, where she spent much of her childhood before graduating from Safford High School in 1972. She also spent many summers at her parent’s ranch in British Columbia, Canada.
Rubi attended Arizona State University, graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Spanish, and Russian. She later attended Tulane University on a full scholarship, graduating in 1986 with a Master of Arts in Teaching. Rubi also studied in Guatemala and Spain, where she perfected her command of the Spanish language.
Rubi taught the Spanish language, culture, and literature at Tulane University, Mary Washington College, Randolph Macon College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richard Bland College, Northern Virginia Community College, and Phoenix College. From 2002 until her retirement in 2019, Rubi worked at Metro Tech High School. A dedicated and inspiring teacher and mentor, Rubi was awarded the Commitment Trophy in 2018 on account of her students having achieved the highest district scores on the Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture national exam. Some of her students at Metro Tech went on to study at nationally acclaimed universities such as Harvard and Dartmouth.
Rubi had a love and appreciation for nature and the environment. She enjoyed gardening and hiking. She also surrounded herself with beautiful objects of art collected over the years. Rubi is survived by her greatest source of pride, her loving children, Benjamin Alberto Román, Bianca Elena Román, and Brianna Joelle Román. She is also survived by her former spouse and father of her children, Raúl Alberto Román Riefkohl.
A Celebration of Life event will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Vista del Camino Park, Ramada 2. The address is 7700 E. Roosevelt St., Scottsdale, Arizona, 85257. You may RSVP at email@example.com.