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Mamie Doretha Winford Hooper, a native of Mooresville, North Carolina and the oldest of three children, began her remarkable journey into this life on May 21, 1927, to the late Theodore Winford, Sr., and Olena Katie Clark Winford. She took her Heaven bound journey on October 4, 2023, rejoining beloved family and friends who preceded her.
Ms. Winford grew up in the Shinnsville Community where she attended South Iredell Rosenwald School. Even though she was born just two years prior to what is called “The Great Depression of 1929 in the United States” and grew and matured through what is known as “the Recession of 1937-1938,” her parents, whose grandparents were former slaves, had a very strong belief and faith in God that Mamie would attend and complete her secondary education and move on to an even higher level of education in pursuit of her career choice.
In 1944, Ms. Winford graduated from Unity High School in Statesville, North Carolina. With a fervent desire and the will to pursue further career and life skills, she enrolled in Steward School of Beauty Culture in Asheville, North Carolina. One year later, with the Lord on her side, Ms. Winford graduated as a Licensed Cosmetologist and began to collaborate with her Aunt Lacey Bell Rankin in Lacey’s Beauty Salon, Mooresville, North Carolina.
Ms. Winford met and courted the love of her life, Mr. Walter Biven Hooper, Sr. In 1947, Walter and Mamie joined in holy matrimony and to that union; they became the proud parents of six blessed children. When the couple built their new home in 1960 in the Shinnsville Community, Mamie continued to serve as a very devoted and loving homemaker, mother, and wife. They decided to use the portion of their home designated for the garage to build Mamie’s Beauty Salon for her to provide additional support for her family. Throughout those years, she attended Conferences held in support of extended learning opportunities for hairdressers across the United States.
In the meantime, Mamie remained a stay-at-home Mother and Wife until her oldest child graduated from high school in 1968. She refined her marketable skills in a variety of ways such as a seamstress, culinary arts, canning hundreds of quarts of food from their multiple gardens each summer as well as frozen food preparations.
She continued to work outside the home as well to help send their children to college. Further employment included Troutman Shirt Mill, Burlington Mills where she was the first Black Woman hired to design patterns in material prior to weaving and lease picking. Later Mamie earned her certificate at Mitchell Community College to serve as a teacher assistant in the Mooresville School District. She also worked as a towel inspector at Cannon Mills.
At the Iredell County Agriculture Extension Center, Mamie worked first as a budgeting assistant and later was employed as an Agricultural Home Agent Assistant to instruct low-income families about nutrition, food preparation and community development. She served as the local community Home Demonstration Club President. Mamie also worked with her own children in the 4-H Club and helped to encourage and prepare them for county-wide and state-wide competitions at the local and district levels in sewing, cooking, and public peaking.
Mamie received her Certified Nursing Assistant license at Mitchell Community College and worked for six years as a CNA with Brian Center Nursing Facility and another six years with Dudley Home Health Care in Statesville. Afterwards, Mamie studied tax preparation and specialized in preparing taxes for senior citizens for 6 years.
While Mamie studied and acquired skills which have proven to be self-beneficial as well as for her family and community, she was most proud and honored of the work she completed for her Master. She was a lifetime member of Shinnsville United Church of Christ. Having served in various capacities as a faithful member until her illness declined. She loved reading, studying, sharing and teaching God’s Word as a Sunday school teacher and Superintendent, Wednesday Night Bible study member and teacher, Annual Week-long Bible School Teacher and Director, Annual Revival Planning Committee, Church Women organization local and district representative, attended and proudly represented her local church at various National United Church Women’s Conferences with her very own Mother.
Mamie served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. She was honored to become one of the two first female ordained deacons in her home church. She loved and served the people of God tirelessly knowing fully well that her Heavenly Father was softly and tenderly calling her to higher ground.
In addition to her parents, her sister Willie Jean Winford Harris, and nephew Harry Winford, Mamie had to say goodbye in 2014 to her devoted and supportive husband of 67 years, Walter B. Hooper, Sr., her youngest daughter, Cynthia Hooper in 2017, and her oldest daughter Winifred Gail Hooper earlier this year in April as well as to her oldest grandson Reginald Devon Hooper in 2001 and great grandchild little Ms. Moesha Bennett in 1995.
Left to celebrate, cherish, and remember the blessings and spirit of her life are two daughters, Sandra Hooper, Deborah Hooper, both of Troutman: two sons Garry Hooper (Shelia), Memphis, Tennessee, and Amar Bey (Renee), Charlotte. Her seven Grandchildren are Tonya Clark, Travis Hooper, Paketa, Jamaal, Courtney, Khafre Hooper (Marla) of Laurel, Maryland and Candace Hooper, Memphis Tennessee. Mamie’s Great grandchildren include Devontae Kaleel Hooper, Akiya Clark, Bradley Bennett, Tylecia Bennett, and Barron Harris. The names of her thirteen great great grandchildren are Nahsi Caldwell, Kallie Caldwell, Eliana Turner, Tykeem Turner, Cade Hooper, Aliyah, Brianna, Kazaiah, Tiara, Shardarius, Ariana, Dniyah, Jacyon; one brother, Theodore Winford, Jr., one brother-in-law, Herbert Harris, Sr., and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, other relatives, church family, neighbors, and dear friends. To God be the Glory for all the things He has done!