In Memoriam: Mattie Louise Holley
Everyone who knew Mattie Holley will agree she possessed many admirable qualities
Mattie Louise Holley, model of saintliness to the highest, was Avalon Zion Foursquare’s First Lady for 29 years; homegoing service, Friday, July 7
LOS ANGELES — The homegoing service for Mattie Louise Holley, the first lady of Avalon Zion Foursquare Gospel Church in Los Angeles for 29 years, occurs Fri., July 7, at 11 a.m., at Good Shepherd Baptist Church, 510 W. 53rd St., in L.A.
Mattie Louise Holley transitioned this Earth to her eternal reward in Heaven on June 14, 2017, ironically on her 62nd wedding anniversary. Her pains are over and her quality of life has sprung eternal, as confirmed by the holy scripture;“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55
Eighty-four years ago Mattie Louise was born into this world as Mattie Louise Garcia on August 10, 1933, at 4:45 a.m. in San Antonio, Texas to proud parents Rafael and Pecolia Garcia. Rafael was a butler by trade and minister by calling, and Pecolia, a dutiful housewife.
The pair did not waste any time establishing a family. In fact, they adhered to the biblical command to be “fruitful and multiply,” bringing forth eight sparkling children — Charles Rafael, Ora Christine, Melvin Louis, Clifton Alvin, Joyce Fay, Elvin Mitchell, (his twin Evelyn died at birth), and Beverly Jean.
Mattie Louise was the fourth born of the Garcia siblings — a twin of Melvin Louis.
The Garcia’s moved to a new life in San Francisco, Calif., during World War II in 1944. Mattie was just 11 years old, then. Ultimately, she attended Commerce High School, in the City by the Bay, later enrolling in Millinery School, while she worked concurrently on two jobs as a domestic, and as an associate at I. Magnin & Company, a high fashion luxury department store.
Gainfully employed, a young Mattie was doing well for herself. That was due to a firm upbringing by Godly parents who made certain she was grounded in the Word and worship of God at Jerusalem Church of God in Christ, the family church home shepherded by Bishop Raydel Stewart.
Mattie met Frank Holley, Sr. in the church. The two shared a passion singing Gospel music — Frank as a member of the “The Traveling Four,” a well-known Gospel quartet; and Mattie, as a member of the Jerusalem COGIC Mass Choir.
For Frank, Proverbs 18:22 had proven fruitful: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”
Evidently, that passage of scripture resonated with Frank. He “found” Mattie during the last week in May 1955 and married her three weeks later on June 14 at 4:55 p.m. in San Francisco, Calif. It was a match made On High.
Soon thereafter, Frank relocated his bride to Los Angeles, where they settled and raised a family. From the wellspring of their union emerged four children — Vivian Joselle, Francelia Lucette, Shauna Latrice, and Frank, Jr.
In addition to her duties as a mother, Mattie was a busy young woman; an avid churchgoer, busy singing in the Mount Olive Church of God in Christ Mass Choir, which she and Frank established as their church home in 1955 under Bishop and Pastor E. B. Stewart, and later under Stewart’s successor, Pastor Brewster Wood.
Mattie enjoyed fond memories at Mount Olive, singing first soprano in what later became the Stewart Memorial Choir, as she often was called upon to sing a favorite gospel standard, “He Knows.”
During that period in her life, Mattie also worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District as an office worker and was a member of the Eastern Stars, Queen of Worthy Matron chapter.
Mattie put God first in her life and He blessed her for that, spiritually and with a measure of prosperity. When the entrepreneurial bug alighted on Mattie’s shoulder, she became self-employed as a health care provider and launched Mattie’s Guest Home in 1969, where she provided 24-hour care for the mentally and intellectually challenged. The home cared for some of its guests, literally their entire lives, providing home services from adolescence to adulthood. The business was able to continue caring for some individuals who had become advanced in age by transitioning to Mattie’s Elderly Guest Home.
The business flourished 40 years.
Mattie became a “First Lady” in the “church” in 1978 when God blessed Frank to become pastor of Avalon Zion Foursquare Gospel Church. Mattie served faithfully and fittingly as a regal first lady for nearly three decades. She exemplified beauty, grace, poise, and a gentle spirit throughout her tenure. This phase of her life came to closure in 2007 when she and Frank settled into retirement.
Everyone who knew Mattie Holley will agree she possessed many admirable qualities. She laughed easily bearing a great sense of humor, loved music, singing, dancing, and shopping. The latter was clearly obvious, as she was a fashion queen — especially on Sundays, arrayed impeccably from head to toe, with a gifted eye for artful hats with flair. Her favorite color was red, though she looked ravishing in any color of the spectrum.
Mattie also had a culinary gift. She knew her way around the kitchen and had a particularly high IQ for the baking art. All of her children agreed she “made the best German Chocolate Cake and yeast rolls.”
But, perhaps one of Mattie Holly’s most enduring qualities was her magnetic gift to attract daughters for whom she did not birth.
Dellene Rae Maddox, and Jamika Canson are just two whom she dearly loved as her own.
Mattie met Maddox as a 19-year-old teen in the early 1970s, when she came to sing one Sunday afternoon before Rev. Frank Holley preached. Before Maddox’s grandmother, who raised her, passed in 1981, she ushered Maddox under Mattie’s caring aura. Over the years they would come to share a bond and a loving mother-daughter relationship.
That same loving bond extended to Canson, who, as a fretful, wailing 3-month old infant on one particular Sunday morning in 1978, was placed in Mattie’s arms, where she calmed and ceased to cry. That baby became an extended member of the Holly family and has remained ever since.
Other extended children include Velda Hunter, Beverly Willis, and Rose and Robert Terrell.
Mattie’s very closest sister friends included Ethel Bernoudy, Doris Knight, Gladys Wright, and Delores Rogers.
Mattie Louise Holley leaves to mourn, her husband of 62 years, Rev. Frank Holley, Sr.; one sister Beverly Jean, two brothers, Charles Rafael, and Elvin Mitchell; 10 children, 21 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Per the Holley family’s wishes, flowers should be sent to Inglewood Park Cemetery Mortuary, 3801 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, Calif., 90305 [MAP].
Send food for the repast to Good Shepherd Church Fellowship Hall, 510 W. 53rd St., in L.A. [MAP]