Katherine Anderson-Schaffner, a founding member of Motown girl group The Marvelettes, has reportedly died. On Wednesday (September 20), the news was revealed via Facebook by the vocalist’s daughter, Keisha Schaffner.
“Some called her Kat – some called her Sis, Gamma – Momma K but my sister and I called her MOM,” Schaffner wrote. “She was not just a Mom to us but to many. Many people would come and sit at her table. Now if you ever sat and said, ‘Kat I need to talk.’ You already knew you were going to get true, uncut, unedited council. She wasn’t going to tell you what you wanted to hear but what you should hear. I remember friends saying I’m coming over and I would say, ‘I’m not home;’ the response would be I’m going to talk to your mom. My response would always be you know how that’s going to go right? Two hours and a box of tissue later sitting at her kitchen table, your counseling session was over. The funny part is you would come back for more.”
The Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman (Lyric Video)www.youtube.com
Born on January 6, 1944 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Katherine Elaine Anderson first began her career as a background singer for friends Gladys Horton and Georgia Dobbins for the 1961 Inkster High School talent show. At 17 years old, Anderson, along with fellow backing vocalists Georgeanna Tillman and Wyanetta Cowart named their group The Casinyets, later landing an audition with Motown Records. Signed that same year, the five women were renamed The Marvelettes, releasing the single “Please Mr. Postman,” which became Motown’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for 13 weeks.
Dobbins, who died in 2020, was ultimately replaced by Wanda Young, who died in 2021. Like other pop and R&B groups of the 1960s, The Marvelettes had a rotation of members, ending in 1969 with their ninth and final album, In Full Bloom. Following the group’s disbandment, Anderson retired from singing, and lived in Detroit until her passing.
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