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90_HR0465 LRB9012131KBkb 1 HOUSE RESOLUTION 2 WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of 3 Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Julia 4 Mae Smith Whitfield; and 5 WHEREAS, Julia Whitfield was born in Springfield, Ohio on 6 April 16, 1918; she was the twelfth of thirteen children; her 7 parents were Thomas and Anna Eliza (Cunningham) Smith of 8 Hodson City and Anniston, Alabama; and 9 WHEREAS, Julia Mae learned to play piano from her mother, 10 studying with the late Mrs. Ada House at Antioch College; at 11 the age of ten, and upon the death of her mother, she assumed 12 the job of church musician; she later became directress and 13 special soloist; after meeting Professor Thomas A. Dorsey and 14 Miss Sallie Martin while they were in Springfield promoting 15 gospel music, she accepted their invitation to travel to 16 Chicago; and 17 WHEREAS, In 1941 she arrived in Chicago and became Miss 18 Martin's accompanist, touring with the Sallie Martin Singers; 19 she briefly resided in Los Angeles with the Sallie Martin 20 Singers and then returned to Chicago; after serving briefly 21 as pianist for the W.D. Cook Gospel Choir of Metropolitan 22 Baptist Church, she joined Pilgrim Baptist Church in 1949; 23 she served the church as Church Membership Secretary and as 24 pianist of the Gospel Chorus under Professor Dorsey's 25 direction; she served as Mr. Dorsey's assistant until 1992 26 when she left to care for a sister in Buffalo, New York; and 27 WHEREAS, Julia was nicknamed "Song Bird" by the late 28 Reverend J.C. Austin, Sr. and went on to serve as a member of 29 Dorsey's Celestial Trio; she was the founder of the Julia 30 Smith Choralaires and Directress of the Evangelical Choral 31 Chapter and the Gentlemen of Harmony; she was the organist 32 and pianist for the A.R. Leak Funeral Homes; and she was the -2- LRB9012131KBkb 1 Financial Secretary for the National Convention of Gospel 2 Choirs and Choruses; and 3 WHEREAS, Julia Mae was married to the late Alfred C. 4 Smith in 1950, and they had one daughter; she was later 5 happily married to McHenry "Mac" Whitfield; she is survived 6 by her daughter, Junette Alfreda Smith; her brother, James C. 7 Smith; her grandchildren, Carl Leanard Smith, Dorothy Julia 8 Hill, and Malcolm Xavier Hill; her four great-grandchildren; 9 her godchild, Carolyn Sammons; and a host of nieces, nephews, 10 and countless friends; therefore, be it 11 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 12 NINETIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we 13 mourn, along with her family and friends, the death of Julia 14 Mae Smith Whitfield; and be it further 15 RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be 16 presented to the family of Julia Mae Smith Whitfield.
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