Al­freida D. Up­shaw, a life well lived

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - By MHollinger@SFLTimes.com

MICHELLE HOLLINGER

FORT LAUD­ERDALE, Fla. - Al­freida Up­shaw lived her life in a way that de­fied con­ven­tional “left-brain,”“right-brain,” no­tions. As a sci­en­tist, fash­ion model, event plan­ner, busi­ness con­sul­tant and more, Up­shaw drew from her en­tire brain. A true Re­nais­sance woman, Up­shaw died on Jan­uary 15 at age 77 fol­low­ing a fall.

She leaves a legacy of “del­i­cate strength,” that she ex­em­pli­fied through­out her life, said daugh­ter, Ch­eryl Turner, Up­shaw’s only child. Hers was,“Not an abra­sive, loud; it was a quiet, gen­tle, but there was a strength there… It was a sound of con­fi­dence. You didn’t have to be loud to be heard. You didn’t have to talk a lot to say some­thing im­por­tant.”

Al­freida Delois Jones was born on May 12, 1940 to Beatrice and Al­fred Jones. She ar­rived de­fy­ing the odds; born three months pre­ma­turely and weigh­ing in at just two pounds. Their par­ents placed a strong em­pha­sis on education for Up­shaw and her sis­ter, Roslyn Bo­mar.

Up­shaw grad­u­ated from Tuskegee Univer­sity (B.S. Chem­istry/ Mas­ters of ScienceGe­orge Washington Carver Fel­low). A na­tive of Detroit, she worked as an Au­to­mo­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing En­gi­neer (Ford Mo­tor Co), a Den­tal Re­search Chemist (Kerr Man­u­fac­tur­ing, where she holds two patents for a mouth­wash and a gel for chil­dren) and Sr. Tech­ni­cal Au­to­mo­tive Sales Rep. (BASF Coat­ings & Colorant Di­vi­sion).

Up­shaw was also a fash­ion model, grac­ing the run­way for sev­eral venues through­out Detroit.

Dur­ing re­tire­ment she founded and op­er­ated “It is Con­nec­tion, Tal­ent & Book­ing Agency.” After 17 years in Detroit, she re­lo­cated to Ft. Laud­erdale in 2010.

With all her ac­com­plish­ments, Up­shaw’s role as mother was one where she taught her great­est lessons. One of which was, “the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing just a woman ver­sus be­ing a lady," Turner shared. "Just be­cause you have fe­male body parts does not make you a lady. It all lines up with char­ac­ter, your spirit, your whole be­ing. It’s how you carry your­self when you walk into a room.”

Turner said her free-spir­ited de­meanor nearly re­sulted in her turn­ing down ad­mis­sion into West Point Academy; but her mother was not hav­ing it. Turner said her mother sur­mised that if West Point is in­ter­ested in her, she was ob­li­gated to at least check it out. She did, re­luc­tantly; and to Turner’s sur­prise, she was ac­cepted.

In ad­di­tion to as­so­ci­at­ing with many jazz, blues and gospel artists, Up­shaw has worked with a num­ber of Mo­town artists, in­clud­ing Ste­vie Won­der, The Temp­ta­tions, The Mir­a­cles, The Four Tops, Freda Payne, Ge­orge Clin­ton and The Funkadelics, The Dra­mat­ics, The Velvelettes, Martha Reeves & The Van­del­las, Mary Wil­son, Carolyn Craw­ford, Carl Carl­ton, and Joe Billingslea & The Con­tours.

Her many tal­ents in­clude pro­duc­ing “Mo­town Sings Gospel,” to delv­ing into the art world; and she was an agent and ad­vo­cate for Mas­ter Daniel Austin, founder of “INTERPRESSIONISM,” Art Move­ment and Phi­los­o­phy.

“Al­freida was so vi­brant as she learned and ap­pre­ci­ated the arts, a truly so­phis­ti­cated, fab­u­lous woman. The Mem­bers of Pro­fes­sion­ally Fab­u­lous will miss her. She was the epit­ome of what we rep­re­sent,” shared friend Priscilla Dames, founder of Pro­fes­sion­ally Fab­u­lous.

Up­shaw was a mem­ber of the Al­pha Kappa Al­pha Soror­ity, Inc., Na­tional No­tary As­so­ci­a­tion, Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Women, (Woman of the Year, 2010-2011), Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Black Fe­male Ex­ec­u­tives in Mu­sic and En­ter­tain­ment, Mo­town Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, Inc., Cor­po­rate Mem­ber of the Detroit Metro Con­ven­tion Bu­reau, Friends of African Amer­i­can Re­search Li­brary Cul­tural Cen­ter, Florida Non­profit Foun­da­tion, FAB­U­LOUS Women, Sclero­derma Foun­da­tion, NSU Mu­seum of Art, Tuskegee Alumni Club, Broward County, and Peo­ple Help­ing Peo­ple Min­istry, Inc. She worked with the The­atre of Cre­ative Con­scious­ness of the Arts and served on the Mis­sion­ary Board of the Mt. Olive Bap­tist Church. Up­shaw vis­ited the sick and shut in, gave of her time and tal­ents.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ter Ch­eryl Turner, Up­shaw’s sur­vivors in­clude her son-in-law, Clif­ford Turner, grand­sons and their wives, Remy and Brit­tany Ham­mock, and Paris and Mar­ion Ham­mock, great-grand­sons Myles and Dea­con Ham­mock, god­daugh­ter, Linda Dud­ley and cousins Richard McDon­ald, Eleanor and Ge­orge But­ler.

Ser­vices were held.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UP­SHAW FAM­ILY

Al­freida Up­shaw passed away at age 77 on Jan. 15.

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