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Ain’t Noth’n Like the Real Thing
On May 7, 1944, Mae Delores joined the family of Samuel and Katie Mae Givhan: Cataral Levirt, Floye Willie, William Franklin, Alvis Russell, Palmer, Cecil Ray, Annie Virginia Rushell, Cora Ann, Samuel Givhan Jr, Hazel, and John Henry Cornolia. They were a farming family in the Log Cabin community of Pontotoc County. Delores, the eighth of thirteen sons and daughters, has always possessed a nurturing devotion to her family. She grew up with the expectation of learning chores/skills related to domestic life and farming, but as a teenager, she showed an interest in hairdressing. The members of her family were her first subjects, soon expanding to friends from the Mt. Nebo Church community.
Upon graduating from Pontotoc Attendance Center, Mae Delores (Lois) enrolled in Foster’s Beauty College in Ripley, Mississippi. Her tenure there provided entry into a profession and a network of associates who have remained friends for a lifetime.
Lois returned to Pontotoc and joined the Eric Zinn Barber Shop before establishing her own independent “beauty nook.” During the early phase of starting her business, Delores often served as a substitute teacher at Pontotoc Attendance Center, her alma mater. There, she met Roy LaGrone, Sr, a high school social science teacher, who wasted no time in “putting a ring on it.” They wed on December 26th, 1965, and immediately established a home in Tupelo. Three sons: Roy Jr., Rodney, and Ronald were born to this union, joining two offspring from Roy’s previous marriages: Alice and Roger. Delores LaGrone has devoted her entire professional life to offering beauty services for over 5 generations of women, as an independent salon owner and stylist of over 50 years.
Family, fashion, and food could easily be identified as passions throughout her life. Her three boys and Roy Sr. provided the core of her orbit, expanded by the sibling circle and church family at St. Paul United Methodist Church. St. Paul had been her church-home since her arrival more than 50 years ago, and as her children matured, she became a mother-of-the-church. Fashion, an extension of the beauty culture she learned at Foster’s, became a formal outlet through local fashion shows, but informally, as she was always “a little cute” without extraordinary effort (whether channeling the groove of Aretha Franklin or Tammi Terrell/Marvin Gaye at the Elks Club, or while singing Amazing Grace at St. Paul). Food: even as a child eating an ordinary farm fair, her plate would be arranged for a presentation that always looked better than everybody else’s. As an adult, she mastered the skills of her mother’s kitchen. People came from far and wide to enjoy her specialties, including her famous mac and cheese. Her food was prepared and served with love.
The coordinator, one who could pull things together, or bring the spark to make things happen, Delores, became the hub around events for family, church, and professional occasions. Her social skill and manner often took the stress out of situations, making her a valued team member even when she was not “in charge.” Her legacy includes a history of service through St. Paul United Methodist Church. She served as Certified Lay Speaker, Financial Chairperson, Communion Steward, was a member of United Methodist Women, and served in the Upper Mississippi Conference.
Her administrative experience includes eighteen years of service as president and vice-president for the local, district, and state chapters of the Mississippi Independent Beautician & Barbers Association (MIBA); and six years as vice president for the Black Business Association of Mississippi (BBAM). Delores served on several committees including the National Council of Negro Women (Tupelo), the National Federation for the Blind of Mississippi, and the Sister, Sisters Network.
She was integral in many community-based events, including the creation of the annual “Mothers and Others” Celebration. Lois was integral in four decades of biannual Givhan/Cameron Family Reunions and the annual gathering of the nuclear Givhan family.
Delores’ immediate family includes 4 sons, Roy Jr (Amia), Daejeon, South Korea; Rodney of Tupelo, Mississippi; Ronald, Beaverton, Oregon; and Roger (Lynn), East Setauket, NY; one daughter; Alice (Earnest) Jackson, Mississippi; two granddaughters: Katie and Nova. Her siblings include William Franklin (Bessie Nell); Cecil Ray (Eller Mae); Cora Ann (Steve); Sam Jr. (Debbie); Hazel; and John. Also celebrating her life is a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. The choir of angels includes her husband Roy Sr, both her parents Sam and Katie Mae; as well as siblings: Cartaral Levirt (Murry Mae), Floye Willie, Alvis Russell, Palmer (LeOdis), and Annie Virginia “Rushell”.
When asked of her hobbies, Lois states, “Cooking, Entertaining, Tending to Flowers… I’m a Servant to Mankind.”
The Church, in Heaven, and on Earth, provides witness and thanksgiving for a life of celebration, joyfully echoing: Amen, Amen, and Amen
Memorial Service honoring Delores life will be determined and will be announced at a later date.
In Lieu of flowers the family is requesting you to make contributions to St. Paul United Methodist Church at 502 N. Spring Street, Tupelo, MS. 38804 or the Modern Beauticians Scholarship at 3483 Shonda Circle, Tupelo, MS. 38801.
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