Waltertina Fields Kinsey was born July 25, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio. “Walt” and “Waltina” as she was affectionately called by her friends and family, was the daughter of the late Ernest Walter Fields and Rosa Darden (Fields) and the eldest of two sisters Katherine and Derricheard. After a short stay in Ohio, her parents moved to New Jersey where the family, along with her grandmother (Grandma Lanie) settled in Bound Brook and later moved as a family to New Brunswick, where she attended school. As a child, Waltertina lived uptown on Talmadge Street and attended Sharon Baptist Church with her family. Later, the family would move downtown to Commercial Ave.
On August 18, 1939, Waltertina married the love of her life Earl Eugene Kinsey Sr. from New Bern, NC. They remained in New Brunswick and had 13 children (7 boys, 6 girls) and her bonus daughter Halice. The family grew up in Robeson Village/ Schwartz Homes, a special community of garden apartments on Highway 27. She enjoyed being the mother of a large family. While living in Robeson Village (later referred to as ‘The Vill’), Waltertina ensured her children got involved with many activities that kept them good and busy outside of school and on the weekends. Back in the day, “The Vill’ had a swimming pool, basketball court, baseball fields and green wooded areas where they could go hiking and pick wild berries that ended up in a tasty homemade dessert while her husband played the piano in a special get-a-way area in her home called, “The backroom.” Music and the aroma of good food always filled the air! She welcomed extended family to visit and many would stay all Summer. For Waltertina, it was, “The more, the merrier!” She would often regale the younger generation with stories of how excited the community would get whenever a celebrity would come through like; James Brown, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Millie Jackson and Joe Tex - - just to name a few. ‘The Vill’ was also home to life-long friends of hers and their families who would eventually grow up together and remain friends to this very day.
Waltertina was a long time and faithful member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens under the tutelage and leadership of Pastors Rev. C. G. Wooding, Rev C. H. Brown Jr, Pastor DeForest Soaries Jr and the current Pastor, Rev. Dante’ R. Quick. She enjoyed attending church with her family, including Sunday School, AM Service and in her early years, the PM Service, referred to as BTU. Waltertina loved studying the Word of God. Even during the pandemic, she looked forward to dialing into the weekly Tuesday afternoon bible studies to hear and study the Word! She had many favorite scriptures but the one you would hear her quoting as an encouraging response to the ‘vicissitudes of life’ would be, Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Waltertina had four generations of children calling her either Mommy, Mommeeze, G-Ma, Granny, Grandmommy, and Grammy. She spent a lot of time making and keeping a comfortable home for her family. She enjoyed planning delicious meals, preparing the fresh produce from her husband’s garden, baking cakes, cookies, and bread. So if you have never had the chance to taste her fried chicken, fish, turkey spaghetti, collard greens or blueberry dumplings, you missed an unforgettable treat! Waltertina also loved sewing clothes and spending time outside with the children. She kept active for many years and could boast of jumping rope until the age of 80! While she had 13 kids of her own, she also didn’t mind mothering the youth of her community even if it meant giving stern correction and verbal discipline. Love was always at the heart of what she did.
Waltertina was employed with New Brunswick Public Schools for 34 years as a Teacher’s Assistant. Her commitment to teaching showed up in her pursuit to further her education with completing her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education at Middlesex County College. Waltertina always emphasized the importance of education and encouraged her children as well as other students to continue their education. Her favorite charities were ones that supported the goal of education like the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the New Brunswick Education Foundation (NBEF). Waltertina truly believed, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” She believed you should learn something new everyday. “Once you get a good education, no one can take it away from you. Learning is something you do all your life!” was a favorite saying of Waltertina’s and she would use it to inspire 3 generations of young people in their personal pursuits of excellence and learning.
Waltertina was also an avid reader and collector. She enjoyed reading novels and autobiographies, collecting uniquely designed salt and pepper shakers, rare football and baseball trading cards and was a master doll collector with a wonderful collection throughout the years - - too numerous to count! Waltertina considered herself an eternal optimist with a “glass half-full” spirit.” She would always say, “Be positive. If you see the glass as half-full, it means you’ve got something you can work with!” After retirement, Waltertina would turn her attention back to reading her books and enjoying her collectibles. You could always find her at 3pm tuned in to her favorite soap opera, “General Hospital” and at 7pm, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.” She also loved crocheting beautiful afghans blankets, hats and scarves for friends and family. Waltertina enjoyed traveling the country visiting several states including Maine, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, California, Hawaii, Alaska, and also Venezuela and the Bahamas.
Waltertina was preceded in death by her parents Ernest Walter and Rosa Fields, her husband Earl Eugene Kinsey Sr., and sister Katherine Upshaw Bradley. She has said farewell to nine of her children, Earl Eugene Jr, Lyman Reddrick, Annmarie Whitten, Gaylord Lamont, Millicent Dollie, Hilda Jean, Marvin Lester, Andre Eldon, Althea Okiya and bonus daughter, Halice Beckett. She leaves to celebrate her life and honor her legacy two daughters, Rachel of Somerset and Allison of North Brunswick and two sons Vernon Fabian of Piscataway, NJ and Ernest of Dade City, Florida, a sister Derricheard Finis of Rialto, California, her life-long sister-friend Bernice Porter of Washington, D.C. and godson Charles Thompson. Her memory is also shared by nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of grandchildren, great-grands, great-great-grands, extended family and friends.