June 9, 1937 - June 20, 2021
Burial Date: July 3, 2021
Funeral Home J. C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home
Cemetery Oak Hill Cemetery
Church Gray Road Church of Christ
Saturday (07/03): Visitation – 11AM; Funeral Service – 12:30PM; Gray Road Church of Christ; Interment – 2:30PM; Oak Hill Cemetery
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Loretta Blackmon-Strayhorn, loving mother of Celestine Stewart (Samuel), passed Sunday, June 20, 2021 Age 84 years.
Visitation Saturday, July 3, 2021 from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM at Gray Road Church of Christ 4826 Gray Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224.
Traditional service on Saturday, July 3, 2021 at 12:30 PM at Gray Road Church of Christ.
Burial at Oak Hill Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Lady Strayhorn, Sincere and Earnest!
Loretta Strayhorn was born June 9, 1937 in Montgomery, Alabama to her parents, Willie Joe and Alberta Blackmon, she was their only child. In 1946, Loretta’s mother moved to Cincinnati, as a single parent, to live with her sister until she found a job. At the young age of ten, Loretta became the Lady of the House because her mother had to work long hours. Her mother taught her how to clean, wash, iron, and cook, including baking homemade rolls, cakes, and pies.
At age eleven, Loretta was given the responsibility of making sure the bills got paid on time. At that time, business hours were strictly Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. When Loretta finished the school day, she had to return home to start dinner before her mother’s arrival from work. Also, when the bills were due, she would spend 10 cents to take the bus downtown to make sure they were paid on time. This taught Loretta in many ways how to manage money and how to survive with what she had.
Loretta attended Stowe School in the West End, then graduated from Old Woodward High School in the class of 1955. Her first job after high school was at Children’s Hospital. In 1957, she was accepted to Central Vocational School of Nursing. That same year, she married Sherman Strayhorn, and from this union five children were born: Celestine, Yolanda Faye, Daphne Denice, Sherman Jemal and Shannon Gerard. They brought them up in the admonition of the Lord. After 37 years of marriage, Loretta lost her husband to a massive heart attack. She always felt that she and her family suffered a great loss. However, they made God the relieving force in their lives. Loretta took his seat on the Council in the Village of Woodlawn and served until the term ended.
Loretta left nursing school because, at that time, she said, “you could not have a baby and attend nursing school. How quaint.” Later down the road, she became a certified C.N.A and worked in hospitals, nursing homes, and private duty. However, in the 1970s, after deciding to do something different, Loretta was hired at Ford Motor Company working on the assembly line for twelve years. She took an early retirement from Ford in order to care for her mother, who at that time had a terminal illness. After the death of her mother, Loretta’s next job was working with children. She worked as a teacher’s aid for grades one through six at Lincoln Heights Elementary School, at Stewart Elementary in the Extended Day program in the Princeton District and for Central Academy Montessori School.
The next phase of Loretta’s life was to open a daycare center. She took a two year course and earned a C.D.A. (Child Development Associate) from the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition in Washington, D.C., and received an award in recognition of outstanding work with young children. She also administered infant care in her home for young working mothers. Regarding child care, Loretta said, “I very quickly changed my mind about the day care center. Age is a great factor when you work with children everyday; although, it is a good feeling to see children grow and mature, especially if you’ve had a part in their growth.”
As a lifelong member of the Church Of Christ, Loretta Strayhorn put God first and has built a legacy built on love, family and helping others. Her absence will be felt by all who knew and loved her. She will be dearly missed.
To my Church Family:
– Sister Loretta Strayhorn
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.