Mrs. Lucy Ann Mitchell
April 21, 1921 - February 10, 2007
I'm very sorry to have to report the passing of Lil' Howlin' Wolf's Mother in Law, Mrs. Lucy Ann Mitchell. Everybody called her "Mama"; "Miss Lucy" or "Grandma". Mother to Adam, Willie, and Diane, and 12 Grandchildren. And loved by countless others.
She was laid to rest today in Memphis with a very loving celebration to mark her wonderful life. At least 300 family and friends from all around the United States said goodbye to "Miss Lucy" today.
I am proud to have met her on a few occasions, she was a really wonderful lady, who loved God, and loved to fish, and interestingly enough she was a Sister of the Late Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett). I saw her last when she and Diane came to see "Wolf" and our band play a show out by the Airport in Memphis. And although I know she probably thought we were too loud and she was probably wishing she was at home with her "dress up" shoes and clothes changed, resting. Every time I looked her way she was smiling. I'd like to hope that night she had some good memories of her late Brother and his legendary career. This was a lady who had a lot of joy in her life, and loved her family.
She had been living with "Wolf" and his wife Diane for the past 5 years, and she missed almost NO days without dipping a hook in the water. Weather permitting she was out there with her lawn chair and catching those fish. A few of them she would throw back, sometimes up to 100 fish in an afternoon. But she used to say "If it's big enough to bite my pole, it's big enough to go on the stove." She wasn't kidding. It didn't take much of a fish to be a "keeper". She was Lil' Howlin' Wolf's best fishing buddy. They spent many hours together enjoying the life a lot of us dream of, fishing, family, and no worries, the perfect "retirement".
I once went back with Wolf to his lakeside backyard last Summer, must have been 95 degrees, with that famous Memphis humiditiy making it feel like 120 at least. There was "Mama" out there her lawn chair fishing... and with long sleeves on. "I said, are you doing any good?" and she told me that it was too hot and they weren't biting. I said, "Aren't you too hot?".... she said "no, I didn't grow up with any air-conditioning, I'm used to it.. and I'm in the shade." That was some kind of fisher-woman. She was much tougher than me... I had to go back in the house. I'm sure she must have thought I was "spoiled". She was right I guess.
She will be sadly missed. I want to offer my condolences to my "adopted" Mom and Dad, Diane and "The Wolf", my life is so much more interesting and great because of you. This is what I would have said if I had spoken at her service today. But there were so many others who knew her much better and summed up her life quite beautifully. And you should have heard the singing and preaching. Awesome.
It was my first time to visit the "All Believers Faith Center" in Memphis, which is right off of Elvis Presley Blvd on Craft Road. I thank Shepherd Larry Pratcher who gave the Eulogy and all the other Ministers and people who shared memories, and made this a very blessed day.
If you are looking for a nice Church in Memphis I would highly recommend a visit there. They will welcome you with open arms. Wonderful warm people. God Bless them all and all of "Mama's" friends and family.
Goonight "Mama", you were loved very much. Say hello to Jesus for us.
Dan Ferguson - Blues Artist Management - 2/19/2007