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Obituary: Frances McClurkin, Mother and Musician

McClurkin family bids farewell to beloved matriarch.

Platinum gospel recording artist Donnie McClurkin of Rockville Centre and his Grammy-nominated siblings will say goodbye to their beloved mother Frances McClurkin during a soul-stirring home-going service and celebration of her life on Friday, Jan. 25, at Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Jamaica.

Doors to the Queen’s church, at 110-31 Merrick Boulevard, will open at 6:30 p.m., and the service is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (It originally was to be held at Perfecting Faith Church on Long Island’s South Shore but was moved to the larger Greater Allen AME Cathedral to accommodate the expected turnout.)

Frances McClurkin passed away on Friday, Jan. 18, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., after complications from a massive heart attack she suffered on Jan. 13. She was 79.

Born in Far Rockaway and raised in Harlem, she was a talented singer and piano player as a child. At 17, she moved with her family to Long Island and, at 21, married Donald McClurkin Sr., a local construction worker.  They settled in Amityville where she lived for several decades.

She was a devoted wife and mother to nine children, to whom she imparted her love of God, the church, gospel music and singing. In recent years, she attended Perfecting Faith Church, where her eldest son Donnie is founder and senior pastor. He often shared humorous stories about his mother during sermons on Sunday mornings from the pulpit and liked to refer to her as the 3,000-member congregation’s “first lady.”

In addition to Donnie McClurkin, she leaves behind six other children: Marlene McClurkin Mason of Amityville; Cheryl McClurkin of Amityville; Andrea McClurkin Mellini of Farmingville; Anthony McClurkin of Indiana; Tanya McClurkin Staples of Alabama; and Rafael McClurkin of Alabama; as well as a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Two other children – Olivia McClurkin and Thomas McClurkin – preceded her in death.

The McClurkin family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and words of encouragement during this challenging time.

For those who are unable to be in attendance on Friday, the service is scheduled to begin streaming live at 7 p.m. on the Perfecting Faith Church website, www.perfectingfaith.org.

Cards, condolences and other expressions of sympathy, comfort and support may be sent to the family in care of Perfecting Faith Church, 311 N. Main St., Freeport, NY 11520.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking those who would like to honor Mrs. McClurkin’s memory to consider making a donation to the newly created Frances McClurkin Memorial Fund. All donations will be used to support Perfecting Faith Church’s mission work to feed, care for and empower the residents of her beloved Harlem. Donations can be made online at www.perfectingfaith.org, by calling the church office at 516-223-8300, or mailed to Perfecting Faith Church. Checks should be made payable to Perfecting Faith Church, with The Frances McClurkin Memorial Fund in the memo line.

Angela Little January 28, 2013 at 02:09 PM
My prayers are with the McClurkin family. May God comfort you during your hour of bereavement.
Deevah April 09, 2013 at 04:15 AM
To The Family.. Just know,there is no battle too great for our God to handle..I love y'all
Forest Lewis June 01, 2013 at 11:17 AM
I'm late in leaving my condolences to the McClurkin family. This is the first time I read that Pastor McClurkin's Mother had passed on. The so-called main stream media has always neglected reporting to us whenever a giant is taken from amongst us. But, they never seem to forget to report the negative. I know what it is like when you lose "Mom." Oftentimes, in the Black community, she is the bedrock of the family. God bless you Mama McClurkin for giving to the world such talented singers, who have certainly blessed me time and time again. To the McClurkin family may God grant you peace of mind in your hour of need!

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