Elizabeth Hortense (Golden) Canady

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Hortense Golden Canady Elizabeth Hortense Golden Canady was born August 18, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to Alexander Hamilton Golden and Essie Mae Atwater Golden. Her father had a prolonged illness and died from heart disease when she was 10 years old. Her beloved grandfather, Papa Joe Atwater convinced her mother to return to Jackson, Tennessee for the good of the children. When she was 14, her mother went to Washington DC to complete a Master's degree; Hortense later joined her and they studied together. Hortense described it as one the best times of her life. While in Washington, she worked at the Pentagon and the Letter Writing Office of the President of the United States, all while completing her high school diploma by correspondence. At the age of 16 she enrolled in Fisk University where she met her husband of 65 years, Clinton Canady Jr, a dental student at Meharry Medical School. History briefly intervened ("WWII") and Clinton was commissioned into the Army. Prior to his deployment, they married on her 18th birthday. Hortense earned a Bachelors of Science degree in zoology from Fisk. After the war, Dr. and Mrs. Canady settled in Lansing, Michigan and became very actively engaged in the political and social life of the city. Their first child, Clinton Canady III, a lawyer, was followed soon after by a daughter Alexa Irene Canady-Davis, a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. They were also blessed with two more sons, Alan Lyle Canady and Mark Howard Canady, also lawyers. It was at this time that Hortense laid the foundation for the passionate commitment to community service that her family continues today. In the midst of raising her children, Hortense joined the Michigan Dental Auxiliary, participated in the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, the Community Chest, and The Links, Inc. She demonstrated and inspired leadership as a founding member of Les Meres et Debutante and the Lansing Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Chapter, Inc. Her charisma and leadership were quickly recognized, and she became known at the regional and national levels of many organizations demonstrated by her serving on the Board of Directors of First of America (now PNC) Bank, the National Board of the YWCA, and as the first regional director of the Midwest Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. A premier accomplishment of her community service was her election as the 18th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. As National President, she spearheaded the establishment of positive pledging practices, developed the Delta Social Action Commission, and the Delta Sigma Theta Research and Educational Foundation. Another distinguished accomplishment was her election as the first African American member of the Lansing School Board. She was instrumental in forging a coalition of members that voted to desegregate the public schools; an act for which they were each recalled - yet their accomplishment remained and the desegregation of the Lansing schools continued. This group continued to meet annually for lunch in celebration of their accomplishment. As her children matured, she went back to school and earned a Master's degree in Higher Education at Michigan State University, while employed as an administrator in the Office of Financial Aid at Lansing Community College. She also served as the first Director of the Lansing Community College Foundation, establishing a donation fund of more than a million dollars. In 2002, Hortense was elected to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. She was a recipient of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, which celebrates women as community leaders in the region. Hortense Golden Canady was a woman of great vision and possessed the energy to enact her visions. She was gifted with the rare combination of being a woman of keen intellect and great beauty. Hortense died peacefully in her sleep on October 23, 2010 at the age of 83. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Clinton Canady Jr, and her children, Clinton III (Rita), Alexa Irene (George), Alan Lyle (Margee), Mark Howard; and Renee; grandchildren, Cheyenne Charmaine Canady, Tara (Jimmy) Doss, Clinton Canady IV, Anthony Alan Canady, Sierra Nicole Canady, Marcus Atwater Canady, Alexander Clinton Canady, Wesley Alan Canady, Raleigh James Canady, and Maya Alexa Canady; great-grandchildren; Dennis Dale Truman-Parker III, Gage Anthony Parker, Martel Thomas Moore, and Carter James Doss; devoted brother-in-law, Lee Andrew Canady; step-brother, Sidney Lee Perry, Jr.; nieces, Tonia Eugenia Canady and Annice Golden, nephews, Lee Andrew Canady, II and Howard "Chip" Golden Jr., and a multitude of other family and friends who loved and admired her. She was pre-deceased by her parents, her brother Howard Atwater Golden, and her grandson Mark Howard Canady II. Donations may be made to United Negro College Fund and/or Fisk University in memory of Hortense Golden Canady. Public viewing is available on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church 2912 Pleasant View Rd., Lansing MI. Family visitation is October 28, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and funeral services at 12:00 p.m. also at Friendship Baptist. Interment at Deepdale Cemetary, 4110 Old Lansing Rd., Lansing, MI. Final Arrangements entrusted to Swanson Funeral Home, 2210 Martin Luther King Ave. Flint, Michigan.

Published in Lansing State Journal on Oct. 27, 2010
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