Jazz, blues and gospel singer Melva Houston Tucker was born July 5, 1949 in Memphis, TN, to the late Johnny Sanford and Mildred Moore Houston. She lived in Mount Airy for over 40 years. Melva transitioned on May 14, 2020 at Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson, NC. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by one sister, Lucille Williams; two brothers, James Houston and Herman Houston; one uncle, Harold Houston. A native of Memphis, TN, Houston toured Europe for much of her 30-year career, and she became a star in Germany in the process. She started in Memphis as a backup singer for many of the Isaac Hayes-produced hits on the Stax label. Recently, Houston has been a member of the Greensboro-based Gate City Divas. The group, which features eight veteran female performers who sing and play multiple instruments, finds its influences in R&B, funk and blues. She was a charismatic and accomplished performer who instilled her magic in every song she sang. She was the voice. Houston also has performed at Carolina Blues Festival in surrounding areas, and with the Gate City Divas, at the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festivals. Locally, the Mount Airy resident was known for jazz and blues vocals, but even more for her community work. She was founder of the Thanksgiving Meal, which provided a hot, traditional Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds of local residents each year. Houston rolled up her sleeves and pitched in with the army. This is the Melva we knew and loved, a giving heart and a loving smile that we will always remember. Left to cherish her memories are her husband, Thaxton Tucker of the home, God-daughter Kiesha Dodson of Mount Airy, NC; one sister Freddie Greer of Memphis, TN, Frank and Otis Houston all of Memphis, TN; three aunts Gracie Kirkland of Jacksonville, TN, Regina Houston of Brownsville, TN, and Patricia Houston of Nashville, TN; three uncles Reginald Houston, Marvin Huston and Paul Houston all of Memphis, TN; a special cousin Arthur Stevens of Memphis, TN. Melva had many, many friends and relatives. Public viewing for Melva Houston Tucker will be on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.; and on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.; both days will be at L.H. Jones Auditorium, Jones School Rd., Mount Airy, NC. The funeral entourage for Melva Houston Tucker will begin at Spencer Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. and will go throughout the city and ending at the L.H. Auditorium for her visitation from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Private memorial service will be held May 21, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Skyline Memory Gardens, Mount Airy, NC. Services are entrusted to Spencer Funeral Home.
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