State of Illinois
90th General Assembly

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 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
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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