Edna Mae Humbles was born on June 8, 1932 in Amite, LA to parents, Ivy Sr. and Lillian B. Humbles, who both preceded her in death. She was a very studious child, with a spirit of joy. She loved to cook and sing. Singing was a God given talent that would end up taking her across the country.
She attended public schools in the Louisiana area, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in New Orleans. She attended Dillard University in New Orleans, majoring in Music. It was one of her dreams to go back to school and obtain her degree, but her health did not allow that to happen.
In 1953, she married her childhood friend, who turned out to be the love of her life, Freddie Muse Sr. To this union, 4 children were born, Linda, who preceded her in death, Wanda, who died as an infant, Diane, and Marcia. She absolutely loved her daughters and always had them dressed to the nines, gloves, hats, purses. She was always the lady and taught her girls to dress and live like a lady. “Never leave the house without lipstick.”
Fred was a 1st Sergeant in the Army and that meant that they traveled around. They lived in such places as Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and finally settled down in California. In 1959, they joined Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, where she immediately became an active member. She served in some of the following auxiliaries: Dorcas Circle, Mass Choir, where she was a lead soloist, Vacation Bible School teacher, WMU and anywhere else she was asked to serve.
She was also very active in the St. John District, using her God given talent of singing to minister to God’s people during the workshops and conventions, as well as participating in mission work. She took that mission work outside of the four walls of the church, and with the help of her husband and Rev. Joe and Verlin Sandles, they started a prison ministry that continued for many, many years.
Edna was very active in the community. She wasn’t someone that just talked about change, she made change happen. When she moved to Novato, she noticed that people of color were not being treated right. Instead of talking about it amongst her friends, she went directly to the police department. From that interaction, she was appointed to the Police Review board. It was said by the former Police Chief and former Police Captain, that, even though they were in charge of the police department, Edna Muse ran the department! She was also one of the founding members of the Concerned Parents of Novato, she was a volunteer at the Marin Human Needs Center, and the American Cancer Society. In her words, she wanted to “work for any organization that wanted me”.
Her work life was mainly part-time because both her and Fred wanted her to be home when her daughters came home from school. She worked for places like the Laundromat on the Presidio, where she actually washed and pressed clothes, Emporium Capwells, and because of that, her daughters were always able to go to the rooftop at Christmas and see the Christmas decorations for free, she volunteered as a teacher’s aide at Hamilton Elementary school, Lynwood Elementary School and Hill Jr. High School, all in Novato. She also taught Holiday and Black History songs in the Novato School district and Terra Linda High School in Marin County. Her many contributions to the community helped earn her election to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, where she was the first African-American recipient! She has received many accolades and honorariums from different organizations, too numerous to name them all, but some include: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Marin County Human Rights Commission, and the St. John District Association.
In 1999, she was invited to Italy by her friend, Nehemiah Brown to be presented in concert. He wanted the Italians to hear her sing the Gospel. She was nervous because she wasn’t sure how they would accept her, but to her delight, when she finished singing, she heard, “Bravo, Bravo”. She took great joy in going to Italy and went again, with two other world renowned soloists, Marietta Harris and Janice Buxton. She thought this to be one of her greatest moments and all of the concerts were sold out!
In 1998, she left Macedonia to join her husband, who was called to be the Pastor of the Bayview Tabernacle Baptist Church in San Francisco. After 10 years of service, Fred retired from pastoring and they joined the St. John Baptist Church in Richmond, CA. where Dr. Kevin B. Hall is the Pastor. She was an active member of the Mother’s board, until she became ill and was no longer able to attend services regularly. The church life has always been her passion and while she was ill, her motivation to get well would be to have her children take one of her many beautiful suits out of her closet and hang it on her bedroom door. She would always tell her caregiver, “I have my suit out to go to church”.
The Lord peacefully called Edna from labor to reward on September 21, 2019. She leaves to cherish her memory, her sister, Lillie Ruth McKesson, daughters, Diane Victoria Lovett (Zefferan), Marcia Denise Harris, grandchildren, Tunisha Denise Muse, Nicole Monicke Currington, Corey L. Currington, Marquitia Antoinette Currington, Marcel E. Harris and Marcus E. Harris (Lesley), great-grandchildren, Khiri, Maryonna, Jamaurie, Javon, Michael, Tre’veon, Jaylen, and Marcus Jr., as well as a host of nieces, nephews and long time friends, including Lue A. Martin, Juanda Stewart, Carla Robinson (who she called girlfriend), and Alice Shambray, as well as countless others who called her Mom.
Edna’s zeal for life will truly be missed as well as her beautiful smile, her beautiful spiritual voice and her spirit. Rest well Edna, your labor is over.
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