The Singletarys: A blessed life blossoming from Central State

Posted Feb 13 2024
Tracy and Maxton Singletary pose for a photo early in their relationship

Above: Tracy, '82, and Maxton, '81, Singletary pose for a photo early in their relationship. Their friendship grew at Central State University before they were reunited at Homecoming. 

The Singletarys, Maxton, ’81, and Tracy, ’82, have been married for 37 years. Throughout their journey, they have experienced both immense happiness and devastating tragedies. However, they have always been able to persevere through any obstacle with their unwavering trust, communication, and love.

Their story began when they met at Central State University, and their friendship eventually blossomed into a beautiful marriage that has stood the test of time. Recently, the Singletarys reflected on their time at CSU and their love for their HBCU.

As Tracy reminisced about her journey to Central State, she proudly shared that her mother, Carolyn Lee Fisher, '53, played a significant role in encouraging her to attend. She also had an aunt and cousins who attended CSU. The Singletarys' oldest son, Maxton Augustus III, also graduated from Central State in 2018, continuing their family legacy at the University.

"My mother wanted me to go to Central State," Tracy said. "Since I was from Dayton, Ohio, I had an easy transition because I wasn't too far away from home. I was their youngest daughter, so I said, 'OK, I'll try it for two years. If I like it, I'll stay, and if I don't, I'll go somewhere else.'

"But I ended up loving it. It only took that first year to decide this is where I belong." 

Max was highly encouraged by a friend attending CSU to come to the University. He was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, but grew up in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he did not immediately enroll in college. However, his friend Jack Glenn, who was studying at Central State, kept trying to persuade him to pursue higher education.

Eventually, in 1976, Max decided to enroll at CSU. During his sophomore year, he shared a room with his friend Jack Glenn, later participating in the cooperative education program to gain experience at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

In 1982, Tracy obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education. Although she did not choose teaching as a profession, she affirmed that Central State University provided her with the necessary skills to excel in her career in sales, financial management, logistics management, and human resources. Max graduated from Central State in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and a minor in Information Systems.

A friendship grows at Central State

During their time in college, Max and Tracy joined Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, respectfully. “We knew each other, but at the time, both of us were involved with other people,” Max said.

Laughing, Tracy interjected, “We were friends.”

“That’s a good way of putting it,” Max quipped.

The Singletarys’ romantic relationship began blossoming in 1983, when they reunited at Homecoming. “We started dating and then, boom, we’re married,” Max said.

Tracy and Maxton Singletary at their wedding
Tracy and Maxton Singletary at their wedding

“The rest is history,” Tracy said, adding their relationship did not move quite as fast as Max expressed. They dated for three years before marrying.

Five years later, the Singletarys welcomed their first son, Maxton. Their family also includes their youngest son, Landon O’Neil Singletary, and their beloved middle son, the late Austin Lee Singletary. Austin died in a tragic accident in 2015, when he was a student at The Ohio State University.

“We’ve had a blessed life,” Tracy said. “Even with the tragedy of losing our son, we stayed strong. That will really set you back. It can really mess you up. We supported each other through that challenging time. We knew we had two other sons, and we had to push forward. Now, we have a grandson, Austin, who is named after his (late) uncle. We push on and are strong for the family.”

Max added the couple has also lost both sets of parents, including his mother, who passed away recently after having lived with dementia. The Singletarys were her caregivers.

“We’ve had our trials and tribulations in life. I’m not going to say that everything has been a flight of crystal stairs. It has not,” Max said. “But through the love that we have for each other, we’ve been able to get through the hard times.”

Their eldest son, Maxton, shared that his parents’ “presence at CSU and the success (they’ve) had since leaving there made me confident Central was the right place for me.”

Alumni connections and giving back

Today, the Singletarys continue to support Central State through personal financial contributions and gifts of their time and talents. Max serves as chair of the Business Advisory Board for the College of Business, and both are members of the Dayton Alumni Chapter and are lifetime members of the Central State University National Alumni Association. Max has also served as a board member at the General Alumni Association, 2008-2021.

“It seems like no matter where you go, what state you’re in, there’s always some connection to Central State,” Max said. “It’s different. Often, kids go off to college and become overwhelmed with the environment. I’m a firm believer that either you control the environment, or the environment controls you.”

Throughout its history, Central State has boasted small class sizes and faculty members who have taken a genuine interest in the success of students, both inside and outside the classroom. These factors offer a unique opportunity for more hands-on instruction, Max said.

“We’re a reflection of what the faculty produces,” he said. “I try to recruit as many young people as possible. We’ve had some pretty good people come out of Central and do great things in this community and throughout the world.”

Both Tracy and Max retired after fulfilling careers at Wright Patterson AFB. They enjoy traveling, are actively involved in their church, and love spending time with their 2-year-old grandson.

“Going to Central State was the best choice that I could have made for myself,” Tracy said. “It was nice because it was a small University. I didn’t feel lost amongst all the people. It was a very close-knit community. I was blessed to have wonderful roommates, and we’re still friends today.”

Maxton and Tracy Singletary with their young sons
Tracy and Maxton Singletary with their young sons

“If I wasn’t for Central, I would haven’t met Tracy and had my lovely family. Who knows what I could have ended up doing,” Max said. “I know I wouldn’t have had a career with the Air Force. I owe so much to just being able to attend Central State.

“You’ve got to have some gumption to make things happen. If you don’t make it happen, it’s not going to happen.”

Homecoming at HBCUs cannot compare to those other institutions, Tracy said. “Homecoming is like a family reunion. It’s the relationships you develop, the connections, the fact that we even like to go to Homecoming. Several of our friends who didn’t go to HBCUs have no desire to go to their homecoming. It makes a big difference and I’m glad I went to Central State as my HBCU. For God, For Central, For State!"