Mary Tacoma Taylor Maupin
1905 - 2012
Mary Maupin was a church pianist and organist and choir director for over sixty years. She also taught in the public school system for many years.
Mary (Tacoma) was born in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, the youngest of seven children of William and Elizabeth Taylor. Following the death of her mother when she was two, Mary moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was raised by an uncle, Robert Bridgewater, and his wife, a time in her life she would later recall with warmth and gratitude. She taught herself to play piano at a neighbor’s home and later received formal music training.
When she was sixteen, she survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, an attempt by the white population to drive the blacks from the city. In two days of conflict, as many as 300 blacks were killed, 35 blocks of a black area of the city were burned to the ground, and 10,000 were left homeless.
Mary attended Wilberforce College, now University, in Ohio, an institution that had originally been established in 1856 to educate freed slaves. She met Miller R. Maupin while at WC, and they married in 1926. In their 75 years of marriage, they would have four sons and three daughters.
She traveled internationally, visiting Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico. She never missed a wedding or graduation in their circle of friends and family, which included by the time of her death thirteen grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren and sixteen great-great-grandchildren, as well as numerous other relatives.
She taught in the Jefferson County school system and was known for her personality and forwardness in correcting on the spot those who made mistakes in word usage or grammar while they were speaking. She was an active supporter of the E. T. Mimms SDA Junior Academy, supporting its scholarship program until her 100th year and helping the students in their fundraising drives. When the school dedicated its science laboratory, it was named for the Maupins.
Mary received the City of Louisville Black Achievers and the National Council of Negro Women Bethune Service awards. She was the subject of several articles in Adventist publications and regional newspapers.
Both she and Miller were charter members of the SDA Magazine Street Church in Louisville, Kentucky, when it was established in 1942. She then served as an organist and pianist for that congregation for over sixty years, helped organize its choirs, and assisted fourteen pastors as a Bible worker.
She was living in Louisville, Kentucky, when she died at age 106, one week before her 107th birthday.
Sources: Diana Washington Kinsler, “Church Musician Still Playing at 102,” Southern Tidings, April 2008, 22; Michael Harpe, “Mary Tacoma Maupin 1905-2012,” Southern Tidings, February 2013, 27; North American Regional Voice, June 1990, 17, 18; 1940 U.S. Federal Census Records; Wikipedia (Tulsa Race Riots).