Longtime Henrico County educator Marilyn Hinson Royal dies

Free Press staff report | 12/7/2023, 6 p.m.
Marilyn (Elise) Hinson Royal, a trailblazing force at the intersection of teaching, learning, and leadership, died on Friday, Nov. 24, ...
Mrs. Royal

Marilyn (Elise) Hinson Royal, a trailblazing force at the intersection of teaching, learning, and leadership, died on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, leaving behind a legacy as vast as the universe she inspired her students to explore.

A native Richmonder, Mrs. Royal, as described in her online obituary, “was an eloquent symphony of love, compassion, beauty, grace, and selfless service.”

She was born Marilyn Elise Murray on Oct. 28, 1959, to the late William (Bill) and Geneva Murray.

Matriculating through Richmond Public Schools, Mrs. Royal graduated from Armstrong High School in 1977 and enrolled at Morgan State University. There she met Donald Keith Hinson, whom she later married in 1982.

Having education in her blood from a lineage of devoted and well-known educators, Mrs. Royal graduated from Morgan State in 1981 with a bachelor’s in science and began teaching science at John Rolfe Middle School in Henrico County. In 1991, she earned a master’s in education in administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 1993, Mrs. Royal’s dedication and impact on education were officially recognized when she was honored with the Henrico County Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. This accolade not only underscored her commitment to excellence in teaching, but also highlighted her ability to inspire and uplift those within her classroom and the educational community.

For more than 42 years, Mrs. Royal served the students, families and community of Henrico as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director. Of all the titles she had, “School Principal” was her favorite.

She served with distinction as the principal of Wilder Middle School from 1999 to 2004 before becoming director of middle school instruction at Tuckahoe Middle School from 2010 to 2014. After her retirement in 2014, Mrs. Royal served and supported numerous secondary schools as an administrator.

Beyond her passion for education, Mrs. Royal found solace and joy in the simple pleasures of life. A lover of nature, she cherished moments spent by the water, casting her line “in pursuit of the next great catch,” states her obituary.

Mrs. Royal was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Upsilon Omega Chapter, the Richmond Chapter of the Epicureans (Eppies), and a devoted member of Garland Avenue Baptist Church.

Mrs. Royal was preceded in death by her first husband, Donald Keith Hinson. She is survived by her son, Donald-William Murray Hinson (Melissa); sister, Carolyn Montgomery (Paul); and aunt, Lucille M. Brown.

A viewing for Mrs. Royal will be held at Scott’s Funeral Home, 115 E. Brookland Park Blvd. Friday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the family receiving friends from 6 to 7 p.m. in Scott’s Chapel. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Garland Avenue Baptist Church, 2700 Garland Ave.