We all know Mamie Coleman as a strong and calm force bestowing wisdom from her life experiences and spiritual foundation, but did you know she was born in Dinwiddie, VA on August 11th1934. Her mother and father, William and Odessa Henderson gave birth to Mamie, the sixth of eight children, who came into the world knowing who she was and what she wanted to do in life!
Mamie was educated in the Virgina school system and later moved to Kansas City in 1950. She was the proud mother of ten kids, Leroy, Sylvester, Michael, Laura, Larry, Violet, Lamont, Jeannie, Reggie, and Ramon.
Her spiritual foundation was supported through time spent worshipping at Greater Corinthian Church of the Christ under the leadership of Emeritus Raymond Davis, Jr. There, she was a faithful member for over 50 years singing in the women’s chorus and participated on the Mother Board. You could always find Mamie sitting on the far right second pew, holding her grandson Jor’Dan when he was a baby!
A long-term activist and supporter of human rights, Mamie participated in the March on Washington during the 1960’s civil right movement. During her career, Mamie worked in social services as a Counselor for Kansas City Welfare Rights Organization (KCWRO). She went on to serve as Secretary of Legal Aid of Western MO, Board of Trustees. Additionally, she served on multiple subcommittees whose primary goals were serving the underserved. She upheld the rights of people in need by assisting in resolving issues threatening their ability to maintain housing and self-sufficiency. Part of that assistance was providing advice on budgeting and seeking community resources ensuring they’d not fall through the systemic red tape of the legal system.
Mamie continued being involved in community service throughout her life. Until the time of her passing, she taught bible study at the Don Bosco Community Center where she was well loved and respected. Mamie also attended the daily senior programs provided by Don Bosco. Serving on several boards including the KC School board, Mamie won numerous awards for her involvement in the community. Her life’s work was “trying to help others.” She would often say, “I am my brother’s keeper” and “I want to always treat people like I want to be treated.”
In thinking of Mamie, we can all recall some of her infamous one liners (Mamie-isms)! Anytime Mamie was told “I love you,” she quickly responded by saying “I love you more, and don’t you forget it.” Ask Mamie how she’s doing, her response would be, “blessed and highly favored.” When she would try to remember something, she would say with a smirk on her face while cutting her eyes “What Cha call.” She was known for saying, “God’s got me.” I’m sure there are more “Mamie-isms” you’ve experienced that’ll make you remember joyful moments in her presence. Mamie was known for loving those around her! Mamie lived the word LOVE!
Mamie was proceeded in death by her parents, William Edward and Odessa Louise Henderson; five sisters - Dorothy Northington, Catherine Tucker, Bernice Robinson, Alice Rebecca Beasley, Mary Gladys Reid; sons - Sylvester, Larry, and Michael Coleman.
She leaves to cherish her memory, children - Leroy Garner, Laura Coleman, Violet Rice (Carl), Carlos Lamont Coleman, Norma Jean Orobor (Osaigbokan), Reginald McGlothen, Ramon McGlothen (Katrina); sister, Marian Ray; brother, William Henderson; a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, great -great grandchildren; lifelong friends, Richard, and Lottie Butler; nieces, nephews, and beloved friends.