Donda C. West

Obituary
  • "RIP Donda we here in OKC think of you often. .Love to your..."
    - Janice Brantley
  • "One Love forever."
  • "May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of..."
  • "Rest in peace until the God of all tender mercy will call,..."
  • "May god take u under his wing and lift u high in the sky..."
    - a trusted servant of god almighty

Dr. Donda C. West, a resident of Playa Del Rey, California, was transitioned to her eternal reward on Saturday, November 10, 2007, at the age of 58. 'Big Girl', as she was affectionately called by her father, was the 4th child born to Portwood and Lucille E. Williams on July 12, 1949. Her early education was at Culbertson and Dunbar Elementary Schools, F.D. Moon Jr. High School, and Douglass High School where she graduated in 1967. She joined 5th Street Baptist Church at age five. In. 1958, under the leadership of NAACP Youth Council Leader and author Clara Luper, she, along with her brother, Portwood Jr. and others, participated in the first national sit-in demonstration to acquire public accommodations for people of color. Her father drove the first car. Donda earned a Bachelor's degree in English at Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia. She further received a Master's degree at Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, and a Doctorate degree in English Education at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Other Study: University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; New Delhi University, Madras, India; Keith Cunningham's Business for Entrepreneurs, Austin, Texas; Russian Studies at Iowa State University. Donda married Ray West, then an aerial photo journalist for the Atlanta Journal Newspaper. To this union, one son, Kanye, was born. Dr. West began her teaching career at Morris Brown College in Atlanta in the early 70's as an English instructor and eventually became chairperson of the English Department. In 1980, she and 3 year-old Kanye moved to Chicago where she accepted employment at Chicago State University (CSU). Promoted from assistant to associate to full professor of English, she was also elected to chair the Department of English and Speech at Chicago State University and headed that department for six years before deciding to return to her first love, teaching. During her tenure at CSU, she was Foreign Expert to the Peoples Republic of China. In July 2004, after having worked at Chicago State University for 24 years, she retired from education to work full time as general manager for her son - producer, rapper, Grammy Award winner, Kanye West. At the time of her untimely death, she served as CEO of West Brands, LLC dba Super Good and chair of Kanye West Foundation, which she cofounded with her son. The foundation's signature program, 'Loop Dreams' was designed to help combat the severe dropout problem in high schools across the nation. In 2007, her book, 'Raising Kanye' was released. Dr. West and Kanye have appeared on the 'Oprah' Show, 'Ellen Degeneres' Show, Grammy Awards, and numerous other radio and televisions shows. Other accomplishments: Elected member of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE Co-Chair), NCTE committee for the involvement of People of Color, Outstanding Educator of the Year, Who's Who Among Black Americans, Foreign Expert to the Peoples Republic of China, Fulbright Scholar, and traveled extensively throughout the United States to 24 or more countries abroad. Dr. West leaves to cherish her memory an adored son, Kanye; loving parents, Portwood Sr. and Lucille Williams; one sister, Shirlie Scoggins Sullivan (Vester), McIntosh, Alabama; one brother, Portwood Williams, Jr. (Beverly); one god sister, Jean Roberson, (Lewis), Colton, California; one aunt, Arneda Hicks, Colton, California; nephews, Kevin Horn, Stephan Scoggins, Tony Williams (Traci), Don Harris, Michael Harris; god-nephews/cousins, Renard Jackson, Corey Anderson, Rickey Anderson, Darry Franklin, John Hicks, Reshan Jackson; nieces, Yvette White (Jesse), Pamela Scoggins, Kimberly Wallace; god-nieces/cousins, Yolanda Anderson (John), Lynn Franklin (Chris), Devietta Lamont (Floyd), Sheila Siddell (Terrell); great nephews, Jalil Williams, Steve White; great-nieces, TaDonya Harris, Olivia Harris, Sharon Horn, Adriel Smylie, Teandria White, Jehireh Williams; great-god-neices/ cousins, Arneda Franklin, Renel Jackson; numerous other relatives and many, many friends. The service will be a private service for only family and friends.
Published in The Oklahoman on Nov. 18, 2007
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