January 10, 1921 - October 18, 2014
The Homegoing celebration for Mazola McKerson, 93, will be Saturday, October 25, at 11:00 a.m. at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church with Pastor James A Greenwood officiating. Burial will follow at Clearview Cemetery.
A time of visitation and support for the family will be held at Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home Friday evening from 7:00 till 8:30 p.m.
Mazola Holman McKerson was a native Oklahoman born on January 10, 1921 in a small close knit community called Bluff which is located near Hugo, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of Calvin Holman and Daisy Jefferies-Holman. After the premature death of her father, Mazola moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma in January 1929 to live with her mother’s sister, the late Pearl Ray, who raised her as her own. Her mother remarried Will Turner and to this union there were nine children (three girls and six boys).
Mazola’s aunt was employed by Marie Smith, a wealthy Ardmoreite, who lived in an antebellum mansion on the west side of Ardmore. Aunt Pearl and her niece lived in a room above the garage during the week, but their permanent home was located on the east side of the railroad tracks where she was raised within a nurturing Black community.
Miss Smith’s home with its elegant surroundings, served as a preparatory school for Mazola, for it was here that she learned the essence of food preparation and fine dining. Although working constantly during her youth, Mazola was an avid student and precocious learner at Ardmore Dunbar Elementary and Douglass High School.
Miss Smith’s high expectations for Mrs. Ray and Mazola to render “five star” service was the foundation that Mazola needed to launch a catering business from her home in 1942. The business grew in leaps and bounds, and Mazola relocated her business from her home to a new location which she rented for two years and then purchased in 1962. The catering services and the Gourmet Restaurant earned the reputation and clientele for being the finest dining establishment of the era and remained in full capacity until 1994 when Mazola retired for the first time.
On July 30, 1938, Mazola married the love of her life, Alfred McKerson, and this union produced five children, Irene, (deceased), Daisy Marie (deceased), Donald Everett (Brenda), Alfred Cornelius aka Kwame (Carolyn) and Flossie Ann (Roy). After 62 years of marriage, her life-long partner passed away on August 04, 2010.
During her career in food services, Mrs. McKerson balanced the diverse activities she encountered in her role of manager, wife, mother, entrepreneur and public servant. Mrs. McKerson began her life of public service when she began serving as an advocate to foster improvement in the school system. She was involved at various levels of service to the schools her children attended.
Mazola was a long time member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where she served in many capacities including President of the Women's Missionary Union and Sunday School Teacher. She mentored young women and felt blessed to have had the opportunity to employ numerous high school students in her business establishment. The Ladies of Action organization was founded over Thirty Five years ago as a civic club to help the community and Mazola was president of the club for many years. She received an honorary membership to the Sisterhood of Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc. Sorority. One of the highlights of her life was meeting President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, while serving as Chairman of the Status of Women.
Many “first” are the signature of Mrs. McKerson’s life. She is recognized as a trailblazer due to her serving on the Ardmore City Council from 1975—1981. She was the first African American elected to the city council of a municipality with a population of thirty thousand or more residents. She was also vice mayor and mayor of Ardmore in 1979 and 1980, respectively.
Her entire life has been devoted to helping others. Like the geese she enjoyed watching, Mrs. McKerson lived a purpose driven life, stayed true to the course and had core values fueled by her faith in God. Listed below are some of her most noted accomplishments:
* Selected as Woman of the Year by the YWCA in 1976
* Chairman of the Status of Women under the former Oklahoma Governor George Nigh
* Served as a delegate to represent Ardmore on the White House Conference of Family Living in Washington, D. C.
* Served on the Board of Directors for the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce
* Served on the Board of Directors of Higher Education in the state of Oklahoma and was elected Chairman, 1986-88
* Selected as one of the Women of the Year in 1996-1997
* Selected as Spokesperson for the national recognition given to Ardmore for being an All American City at the ceremony in Chicago
* Inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of fame by the Oklahoma Commission of the Oklahoma Status of Women in 1997
* Served on the Board of Directors and elected Chairman of the Southwestern Museum in Ardmore
* Member of the Women's Advisory Committee for Mercy Memorial Hospital in Ardmore
Mrs. McKerson was preceded in death by her husband, parents, Aunt Pearl Ray, seven siblings and two daughters. She leaves her three surviving children and their spouses, ten grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren, and numerous nieces, cousins and a host of friends.
Memorial condolences may be made online at www.hdouglasfuneralhome.com. Services are entrusted to the Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home and Crematory.