Memorial Service Saturday, Novmeber 4, 2017, 11:00 a.m., at ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH 8869 Cedar Rd., Cleveland, OH 44106.
NO FRIDAY VISITATION
Mary Louise McKinney Edmonds
Mary Louise McKinney was born on February 19, 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio to Annie Ruth Berry McKinney and Rev. Wade Hampton McKinney, Jr. She had two older brothers, Wade Hampton McKinney III and Samuel Berry McKinney, and an identical twin sister, Virginia Ruth McKinney. She received her primary education in the Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from John Adams High School in 1949. She was very active in Antioch Baptist Church where her father served as Senior Pastor. She excelled academically and enjoyed playing basketball and first violin in the school orchestra.
Mary and Ruth matriculated to their mother’s alma mater, Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Mary was very involved with campus life. One of her favorite activities was singing in the renowned Spelman Glee Club. She and her sister graduated in 1953. Mary was the class Valedictorian. From Spelman, Mary went to Madison, Wisc. to complete her first graduate degree, in Physical Therapy. She returned to Cleveland to practice at Mt. Sinai Hospital before taking a position at the Muscatatuck State School in Butlerville, Ind. where she treated handicapped children. At Muscatatuck, Mary met Jack Calvin Edmonds. They were married on August 17, 1957. Several years later, Jack tragically lost his life, leaving Mary with her only child, Jacquelyn Calvina Edmonds.
Mary and Jacquelyn returned to Cleveland where Mary continued her education, receiving a Master’s Degree from Western Reserve University in 1962. She practiced physical therapy in Cleveland and Canton, Ohio for the next several years. Then in 1972 she moved from the hospital to academia, accepting the position of Founding Director of the Physical Therapy Program at Cleveland State University in 1972. Mary was especially proud of the students who enrolled in her program, many of whom were the first in their families to attend college. She rose from Director of the Physical Therapy Program to Chairman of Health Sciences at Cleveland State while earning a second Master’s Degree and then a Ph.D. in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1982. Her academic interest was in what’s now known as cultural competency, particularly as it affected the health outcomes of aged black women.
In 1981 Mary left Cleveland for Bowling Green, Ohio, where she became the Dean of the College of Health and Community Services. The talent and energy she brought to that position were recognized when she was elevated to the Vice President for Student Affairs at Bowling Green, a position she held for the next ten years. She continued to mentor students at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as aspiring student personnel professionals. The doors to both her office and her home were always open as she welcomed friends, family, other academics and notable figures including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, John Henrik Clarke, Wynton Marsalis and many others. Mary also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research in 1983.
Stanford University called Mary to join its administration in 1992. She was overjoyed to accept the prestigious position of Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs and to be reunited with her daughter on the west coast. Mary continued her dedication to providing a supportive and challenging environment for the students she served. She also continued her academic appointments as she had done at previous universities, as a Clinical Professor in the Department of Health Research and Policy at the Stanford University Medical School. After her retirement from Stanford, in 2000 Mary returned to her alma mater, Spelman College, as Special Assistant to the President.
During her academic career, Mary consulted, lectured, taught and mentored students and faculty at many universities throughout the world. She presented over sixty professional papers and was a visiting scholar in the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, China and Yugoslavia. She was also very active in the communities where she lived. She had leadership roles in over thirty organizations and received over twenty honors and awards for her service, including two honorary doctorates and highest honors from the American Physical Therapy Association and the NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Mary was a member of The Links, Inc., serving on its national board for several years, and was a founding member of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the 100 Black Women.
After a life of exemplary faith, service and achievement, Mary McKinney Edmonds passed from this Earth on October 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, Ca. She is survived by her daughter Jacquelyn Edmonds Cofer, son-in-law James Cofer, Jr., sister Dr. Virginia Ruth Henderson, brother the Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, brother-in-law Dr. Perry A. Henderson, sister-in-law Charlotte Edmonds Jackson, and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.