Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Irene Reid

Irene Reid

September 23, 1930 – January 5, 2008


Irene Frances Reid  Harlem’s First Lady was born on September 23, 1930 in Savannah, Georgia to the late Irene and Eugene Redfield.  She started singing in the choir at the first Byran Baptist Church in Savannah, where she accepted Christ.  In 1947, she migrated to New York City and entered the amateur contest at the famed Apollo Theater.  That goddess of soul, lady of song, won the contest for five consecutive weeks.  She met and married James Raymond Reid Sr. and they toured the North Coast together.  From 1961-62, she toured with famed impresario Count Basie and his orchestra. 

Affectionately known as the “Vamp from Savannah,” Irene was inducted into the Savannah Hall of Fame in 1994.  She received an honorary degree from Georgia Southern University for her inclusion in Savannah’s Coastal Jazz Association Hall of Fame in 2002.  On November 23, 1994, the singer who had also come to be known as the Queen of Soul and the Blue Diva appeared at the renowned Carnegie Hall.  She also appeared in “The Wiz” on Broadway and shared stage billing with such music legends as Sarah Vaughn, Brooke Benton, Roy Hamilton, Carmen McCrae, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and others. 

Irene Reid leaves to cherish her memory her five children: her daughter Gwendolyn Reid, and her sons Michael Leon Redfield, James Raymond Reid, Gregory Reid and Bernard Redfield, as well as many beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren and her fans worldwide. 

She leaves us her music and wonderful memories.  We will all miss you, Sister.  Our world will never be the same.

Funeral Services: Thursday, January 10th, 2008

The Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church

2365 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10027

6:30 PM

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