(NNPA)—Hundreds of mourners packed Bethel AME Church in Detroit, Mich., Aug. 31 to pay their final respects to Esther Gordy Edwards, older sister of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and the label’s matriarch.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the ceremony was attended by family members, Motown artists and local politicians who all wished their final goodbyes to Edwards, who died on Aug. 25 of natural causes. She was 91.
|ESTHER GORDY EDWARDS
Among the entertainers at the ceremony were singer Smokey Robinson, members of the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder, who performed “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
During Motown’s heyday in the 1960s, Edwards served as the label’s vice president and chief financial officer. When the company was sold in the ‘80s, she collected and organized the items left behind at their famed Hitsville headquarters. Shortly thereafter, she transformed the establishment into the Motown Historical Museum.
Gordy released a statement on her service following her death.
“She was the most educated in our family and was the go-to person for wisdom in business,” the statement read, according to EUR Web. “[She] was a top Motown executive, businesswoman, civil and political leader, who received numerous awards, commendations and accolades. Whatever she did, it was with the highest standards, professionalism and an attention to detail that was legendary. She always came out a hero.”
Gordy Edwards’ passing comes on the heels of the death of sibling number four, George Gordy, just three weeks earlier. An entrepreneur in his own right, he joined forces with his brother’s label and was co-writer of several songs recorded by Motown artists.
(Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers)