Mattie Bell Parrish Buchner was born on March 28, 1938, in Athens, Ga., and departed this life on June 21, 2013.
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Raised in Cleveland County, she was the eldest of 11 children born to Henry Parrish Sr. and Laura Cross Parrish.
She was preceded in death by his brothers, Henry Parrish Jr. and Carl Lee Parrish; her sister, Linda Ramseur and grandson, Jeremy Michael Parrish.
Mattie left North Carolina at 17 and moved to Long Island, N.Y., working as a live-in housekeeper. She later relocated to Brooklyn where she worked various jobs until ultimately becoming a homemaker.
She completed her high school education and later attended New York City Technical College in pursuit of her associate's degree in social work.
She worked as an intake coordinator and job placement coordinator for Covenant House where she retired in 1999 after 23 years of service. Her passion was being able to council, direct and guide high risk teens and young pregnant moms and helping them restart their lives.
Mattie was a political and community activist, particularly advocating for children's education and equal rights, enabling her to come in con-tact with notable individuals such as Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Winnie Mandela, Mother Teresa, Lena Horne, Shirley Chisolm and Coretta Scott King. The two things Mattie was most proud of were her family and having the opportunity to see an African-American President get elected and being blessed to have attended the inauguration. She held God close to her heart and loved good Gospel music.
Mattie was a world traveler, spending time in South Africa, the Philippines, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hawaii and Panama, just to name a few.
She was a member of United Panamanian Veterans Marching and the First Panamanian Drum and Bugle Corps. Her mantra was "Don't block your blessings," which was adopted by members of the band.
Mattie was an avid bowler, bowling in the Wednesday morning mixed double league and the Negro Bowling Association.
She leaved to cherish fond memories of her loving and dedicated husband, Newton Buchner; our sons, Harold Parrish of Shelby, Mark Tyler Sr. (Roslyn) of Brooklyn, Allan Tyler of Coral Springs, Fla. and Dean Tyler of Pittsburgh, Pa.; one stepson, Newton Buchner Jr. (Loma) of Irvine, Calif.; three daughters, Adele Tyler of Coconut Creek, Fla., Denise Tyler of Pittsburgh, Pa. and Major Christina Buchner of the United States Army; seven grandchildren, Hassan Parrish of Chicago, Anwar Parrish (Shana) of Concord, Mary Tyler Jr., Daniel Tyler and Brittany Tyler, all of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dean C. Tyler and Adrian Tyler of Pittsburgh, Pa.; three sisters,
Mattie Mare Parrish of Brooklyn, Sarah Moore of Hyattsville, Md. And Lois Guice (John) of Houston, Texas; four brothers, Elbert Parrish, Robert Parrish (Jessie) and Larry Parrish, all of Kingstown and Tommy Parrish (Dely) of Cornelius and longtime close friends, Ivy Baird and Mary Casseus and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins and friends.
Published in Shelby Star on July 13, 2013