Zyba Massey, first female graduate of UNC School of Dentistry, dies at 80

Dr. Zyba K. Massey, the first female to graduate from the UNC School of Dentistry, passed away on Feb. 4, 2004 in Zebulon. She was 80 years old.

Massey was the youngest child of the late Guy Cecil and Pearl Jones Massey. Dr. Massey received a Bachelors Degree in Nursing Education from the University of Virginia, and served in the U.S. Navy as a nurse during World War II.

She was the only woman in the first class at the School of Dentistry, receiving her DDS in 1954. For Massey, being the only female in the class did not pose a problem.

In a 1994 Dental Review article, Massey said, “One female faculty member in the School of Medicine set an example for everyone. The faculty and classmates were the finest group of gentlemen. They treated her like any other member of the class. Relationships were easier then. Everyone behaved and got along.”

Upon graduation, she returned to Zebulon and joined her uncle, Dr. L.M. Massey in his dental practice. She continued to practice in Zebulon until her retirement at age 72.

Dr. Zyba was predeceased by brothers G.C., Robert, Melvin, and Frank; and by sister, Lucy Massey Cheves. She is survived by her sister-in- law, Alma Doris Massey of Zebulon; many nephews, nieces and cousins in the Massey family.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8 at Zebulon United Methodist Church. Visitation will follow in the Fellowship Hall.

Dr. Massey requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Zebulon United Methodist Church, 121 W. Gannon Ave., Zebulon, NC 27597.