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Lessie Walker Myricks (1915-2011)

Lessie Walker Myricks (1915-2011) was born on April 9, 1915 in Montgomery, Alabama to the late Lemmon and Lucinda Hogan Walker. At age 14, Lessie moved to Massillon with her sisters Lucille (Clark) and Mary Frances (Furlow) in 1929 and following the death of both of her parents. Lessie became the caretaker for her infant brother Robert, raising him as her own. Lessie married William Myricks (1911-1993) in 1935, and entered the workforce at an early age, to help provide for the family. She did laundry, worked as a waitress, worked at the Timken Company, Republic Steel, sold insurance and became the first African-American employed in professional services at Apple Creek Development Center. She worked there for 23 years as Activity Therapy Specialist, retiring in 1978. During that time, Lessie returned to McKinley Night School and earned her high school diploma in 1971. Lessie had a high regard for higher learning and assisted several young people in fulfilling their goal of a college education. Lessie was always civic-minded, serving on many boards and volunteering in the community as well as being an avid worker in the church all her life. She was a member of Friendship Baptist Church for over 70 years, serving as Sunday school superintendent, treasurer of the Missionary Society, and church clerk. She was also active in the Massillon Woman's Club, Friends of the Library, served on the board of Westark Family Services, Massillon Business and Professional Women's Club, Ohio Activity Therapists Association, and a life member of OPERS. She was a charter member of the Massillon Urban League, the Massillon NAACP, and a member of the State and National Democratic Party, serving as a poll worker. Lessie was a member of the National and Ohio Association of Colored Women's Clubs since 1947 and served on the national budget committee, and as state and district financial secretary and treasurer. Lessie received many prestigious honors and awards from her community, Stark County, and the State of Ohio. Some of the honors received were United Way Volunteer of the Year, Canton Negro Oldtimers Community Service Award, the MLK Salute to Greatness Award from the Stark County Community Action Agency, the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award from U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, YWCA Academy of Women, ABCD Outstanding Lifetime Community Contribution Award, Massillon Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, Mary Church Terrell Club Beautiful People Honor, and was presented with a proclamation from Mayor Cicchinelli on her 90th birthday. Her brothers were Johnny Walker, Lemmon Walker Jr., Willie James Arrington, and her sisters were Lucille Clark and Mary Frances Furlow. She and her husband William L. Myricks celebrated 58 years of marriage before his passing in 1993. Lessie's motto: To serve the present age is my calling to fulfill, may all my strength engage to do my Master's Will. (Biography from her obituary at Paquelet Funeral Home) Article about her 93rd birthday:


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