Lula Hardaway

Jan 11, 1930 – May 31, 2006 (Age 76)


Lula Mae Hardaway, mother of singer Stevie Wonder, has died. She was 76. Hardaway died May 31 in Los Angeles, Wonder's publicist Shelley Selover said Thursday. She did not know the cause of death. ``To us you are and always will be our everything! God blessed us with our only living angel,'' said a memorial comment from Wonder and other family members included in an obituary for Hardaway's Thursday funeral in Los Angeles. Hardaway is credited as a co-writer on several of Wonder's songs, including the hits ``I Was Made to Love Her'' and ``Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours.'' Hardaway was born Jan. 11, 1930, to a sharecropper in Eufaula, Ala. Her life was marked by poverty and abuse, according to interviews she gave for a 2002 biography, ``Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder's Mother.'' ``She had a very, very rough upbringing. She went from house to house as a child, from relative to relative. Her parents didn't want her,'' said Stacy Brown, who co-wrote the book. At 15, she and her father moved to Indiana, where she went to work in a sewing factory. She married a much older man, Calvin Judkins, father of her children, who drank, beat her and eventually forced her into prostitution to support the family, according to the book. She eventually fled to Detroit, divorced and got work. It was in Detroit that her blind 10-year-old son, Stevie, began singing on street corners. His talent caught the eye of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., who signed him to a record contract and nicknamed him ``Little Stevie Wonder.'' His mother negotiated his first contract, Brown said. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where Hardaway was known for her barbecue sauce and peach cobbler. She was a religious woman who kept Bibles on the bed, dresser and couch, according to the obituary from her family.

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