Jeanne Robertson, the beloved humorist, motivational speaker, and former Miss North Carolina, passed away on August 21, 2021, at the age of 77. Her fans and admirers were shocked and saddened by the news of her unexpected death. Many people wondered what was the cause of death of the talented and funny woman who made millions laugh with her stories and anecdotes.
A Severe Illness
According to her professional Facebook page, Robertson had been struggling with a severe illness in the days leading up to her death. Although a cause of death was not given, her team previously confirmed the illness she suffered from was not Covid related
Robertson had done weekly Facebook Live Popups and Back Porch events, where she interacted with her followers and shared her humor and wisdom. In her most recent videos, she had alluded to health issues, including in her final Facebook Live video on August 7, which was filmed from her back porch at her home in North Carolina
In the days that followed that final Facebook Live appearance, a number of Robertson’s scheduled performances were canceled, including a performance in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In Facebook posts announcing those cancellations, Robertson’s team said the performances would be rescheduled, as Robertson had been challenged with a severe illness, not Covid related, and would be unable to perform
On August 21, her team announced her passing with a heartfelt message: “The Nashville People here. It is with a heavy heart that we want you to know that Jeanne has passed. She had some health challenges lately, but this was unexpected. We are sure – Jeanne is now telling stories in heaven, all the angels are laughing, and Left Brain is in the back with a big smile.”
Left Brain was the nickname of Robertson’s husband of 47 years, Jerry Robertson, who died in January 2021. He was often the subject of her hilarious stories about their marriage and life together
A Remarkable Life and Career
Robertson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 21, 1943, and raised in Graham, North Carolina. She was one of three daughters and grew to be 6 feet 2 inches tall by age 13. She was an avid basketball player and won a scholarship to Auburn University, where she majored in physical education and played college basketball
In 1963, at age 19, she was named Miss North Carolina and went on to be named Miss Congeniality in that year’s Miss America competition. She was the tallest contestant ever to participate in the Miss America pageant. She credited her reign as the catalyst for her career as a public speaker and humorist
She taught physical education for eight years in North Carolina before becoming a full-time professional speaker. She was designated a Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association and served as its president in 1985. She also wrote four books, the most recent being Don’t Bungee Jump Naked and Other Important Stuff
She became widely known for her humorous stories and anecdotes that she shared on satellite radio comedy channels, YouTube videos, and live performances across the country. She distinguished between a humorist, which she considered herself, and a comedian, stating: “The humorist weaves the longer stories with a point. We don’t go ‘after’ anybody. I’m telling my life.”
She often talked about her family, friends, travels, and everyday experiences with wit and wisdom. She had a loyal fan base who loved her positive outlook on life and her ability to find humor in any situation.
A Celebration of Life
According to Robertson’s team, a celebration of life will be held at a later date, though details have not yet been announced. Robertson is survived by her son Beaver and grandchildren Ryder and Gray
Her fans and admirers have expressed their condolences and gratitude for her legacy of laughter and joy. One person wrote: “Jeanne’s warmth, humor, friendship, spirit, love and zest for life will live forever in our hearts. We are all greatly blessed to have been touched by her gifts, and we will cherish her memory!”