the grace of a great story: “goodbye” to Myrt Hubbard Alexander

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

collage of Myrt pictures by Naomi Campbell (with Andrew, Naomi, Rebekah, and various great-grandchildren)

This post is in remembrance of – and with great respect for -Rebekah’s step-mom, Myrt Hubbard Alexander.

As an official Story Collector, I often ask the question, “Where does a story begin?” The answer is not always as clearcut as you might think.

A lot depends on exactly where the story intersects with our own. In the case of Myrt, for example (“Grand-Myrt” to our children) my apprehension of her story doesn’t begin until that sweet moment around 2001, when the family realized she was in all likelihood dating Rebekah’s dad, Bob Alexander.

Long story short, a couple of years into his tenure as a widower, Rebekah’s dad repeatedly went AWOL from his home in Gainesville, Florida. We knew something was up when Rebekah started fielding phone calls from her siblings…

  • Sibling: “Bekah! Where’s dad? He’s not answering his phone.”
  • Other sibling: “Rebekah! We’re trying to reach dad, and he’s not picking up!”
  • Third sibling: “Hey, Bek! Do you know where dad is?”
  • Rebekah: “I have no idea. No, I can’t ‘pop over and check on him!’ He lives in Gainesville and we live in Tampa. Yes, I’m quite sure he’s fine.”
  • Rebekah again, beginning to connect the dots: “That’s three times now. You know what? I think he may have a girlfriend over in Orlando.”

Girlfriend = Myrt Hubbard.

  • Myrt – who was a key player in the gracious Apopka Presbyterian congregation’s care of Rebekah’s mama while she was dying from cancer in 1999.
  • Myrt – who served as a faithful elder in – and deeply loved – the Presbyterian Church.
  • Myrt – the mother of two exceptional sons – Gregg and Glenn – who went on to become, quite literally, world leaders in their respective fields (country music and economics).
  • Myrt – who taught “take-no-prisoners” English at the local high school over more than four decades.
  • Myrt – who was… and is… a legend in the community.
  • Myrt – who was (unchallenged) the most celebrated “Grand Poobah” in the history of the not-so-secret society of Grammar Police; she “owned” Central Florida in that regard.
  • Myrt Hubbard Alexander – who made Robert D. Alexander smile again, and who won the hearts of all Alexanders and their extended families.
last visit - with Andrew and Rebekah in June
last visit – with Andrew and Rebekah in June

FAMILY: So Myrt and Bob were married. Rebekah and her brother Jesse had the unusual privilege of tag-team marrying their father, and Myrt was engrafted into the household. Much more than a stepmother, she became a great friend and ally. She was “Grand-Myrt” to the children, and they loved her – both for Grandaddy Bob and for herself.

Myrt loved her family with eloquence, with generosity, with faithfulness, with resolve, and with impeccably correct English. And she continued to enrich us with her wit and her beautiful, contagious, joie de vivre long after Rebekah’s dad passed into eternity in 2007. Myrt graced our family celebrations whenever her health allowed, and everything was more meaningful with her blessing.

And so yesterday evening (Tuesday, August 25), when Myrt Hubbard Alexander slipped loose from the bonds of this life and transitioned into the uncharted wonders of eternity, Rebekah and I were both sad for the family and thankful for the gift that is her story… intersecting with our story.

So, rest in peace, Myrt, and I say that with the faith and assurance of one of your fans who knows and loves Jesus too.

Your fan – DEREK

For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:53-58


  1. Such a wonderful tribute. Your story was very touching. Thank you for sharing this with all the ones who were honored to have known her. xo RIP Mrs. Hubbard

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a beautiful tribute! Mrs Hubbard was one of my teachers and friend. My mom and I sold her house and I helped her buy a new one…..while she was dating Bob. She and Bob would hold hands and giggle. It was so sweet. One day when I was taking her to look at another home, she turned to me and said “I have a secret…I’m in love”. My heart melted.

    Your tribute is so sweet. She will be missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Derek, for this beautiful tribute to Myrt. I had the privilege of being the church secretary at First Presbyterian of Apopka when Rebekah’s Mom and Dad came to interim pastor that congregation. I immediately received the grace and loving kindness of both Bob and Nelle and was witness to the love of that congregation for both of them especially during Nelle’s illness and leaving this world for the next. I was very happy to learn, through Myrt, of their courtship and later marriage. I had returned to Charlotte, NC by that time, but kept in touch and was fortunate enough to visit them in their home the summer of 2006 (or maybe ’07). There are no words to describe the imprint these three people placed on my life. Myrt loved Bob’s family as though they were her own. She will be greatly missed by many. My prayers are with all your family and Gregg and Glenn’s family.

    Liked by 2 people

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