ELON — Jeanne Robertson, who parlayed her appearance in the Miss America pageant into a career as a speaker and humorist, died unexpectedly Saturday. She was 77.
Her death was announced by Elon University, where she served as a trustee.
“We have lost one of Elon’s greatest friends,” university President Connie Ledoux Book said in a statement. “Jeanne Robertson loved to tell the Elon story wherever she went.”
She died at her home in Burlington, said her manager, Al McCree. A cause of death was not released.
Robertson became Miss North Carolina at age 19, and won Miss Congeniality at the 1963 Miss America pageant.
Her pageant experience, and her 6-foot-2-inch frame, often provided fodder for her comedy routines, delivered in her Southern accent.
She wrote four books, the most recent being “Don’t Bungee Jump Naked and other important stuff.” Her YouTube channel has received more than 114 million views. In one popular routine, ” Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store,” she talked about her habit of making 7-Up pound cakes and the difficulty her husband, whom she always called “Left Brain,” had in interpreting her grocery list.
She taught physical education in North Carolina for eight years after graduating from Auburn University in 1967.
She was a one-time president of the National Speakers Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1981.