Gifted vocalist Valerie Millicent Crouch Cobbs passed away November 12, 2020.
Cobbs was born January 31,1957 in Nashville, Tennessee to Hubert and Josephine Crouch. Five years later Melanie (Vicki) Crouch followed suit. The two were “thick as thieves”. Valerie attended Father Ryan High School and Tennessee State University, where she pledged the Alpha Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Valerie went on to receive her Masters of Education at Howard University.
A gifted vocalist, Valerie sang throughout Nashville and was a hometown staple. She was the first Black woman to have her own act at Opryland singing dixieland jazz. She was a member of “GQ”, a musical group that also included her uncle Reginald Davison (guitar). They were infamous for performing Chaka Khan hits. As a student she recorded background vocals on Music Row for various artists.
Valerie met the love of her life while in college. Doctor Winston H.B. Cobbs, then a student at Meharry Medical College, was quite the entertainer. Legend has it she dropped a girlfriend off at one of his “infamous” house parties – or should we say study sessions- and captured his immediate attention – rollers in hair and all. They remained together during her time at Howard, while he attended residency in New York. When she graduated, her U-Haul truck to Nashville was deftly rerouted to Queens and the rest is history. They became the inseparable “Val and Winston”. In 1983 Valerie became Mrs. Cobbs. She gave birth to her Pride Noelle Bianca, in 1985, and her Joy Paige Alfreda in 1990.
Valerie taught for several years with New York City Public Schools until the family relocated to Freeport, New York where she became involved in their school system. In 1996 Valerie birthed her third “baby”, Cobblestones Day School, the manifestation of her life long passion for early childhood education. At Cobblestones, Valerie gave hundreds of young minds their wings to fly. Her students call Harvard, Yale, Spelman, Vanderbilt, University of Pennsylvania, Howard, Columbia, Cornell, and countless other prestigious institutions their alma mater, but always call Cobblestones home. She formed lifelong bonds with the entire Cobblestones family, and is affectionately known as “Ms. Valerie” throughout numerous neighborhoods and households.
After a courageous three year battle with cancer, Valerie passed away on November 12, 2020, spending her last days surrounded by her adoring family. She is preceded in death by her father, Hubert Branch Crouch Jr, and her sister, Melanie Victoria Crouch. Valerie is survived by her loving husband of 37 years, Doctor Winston H.B. Cobbs Jr.; devoted mother, Josephine Crouch; adoring daughters, Doctor Noelle (Karron) Hurks and Attorney Paige (Sean) Plummer; sister , Michelle Bailey; uncles, Wendell (Jean) Davison and Reginald (Patricia) Davison and their children; aunt, Dr. Amy Cato and her children; aunt, Rev. Sandra Crouch (Aunt Sandy); nieces, Ramona Bish and Torae Bish; cousin Dr. Yvette (Howard) Jackson Gollub; godmother, Dorothy Thornhill and countless other family and friends.