Remembering Activist Mimi Mency

Mimi Mency, community activist and the first African-American on the school board, was 74.

Long-time Monrovia resident Mimi Mency, a local civil rights leader and the first African-American woman elected to the Monrovia school board, died on June 21 at age 74. 

Friends and colleagues described Mency as a forthright and extremely warm person who loved to help her community.

"Mimi is larger than life in the history of Monrovia. It’s hard to find something that she wasn’t involved with," said Mayor Mary Ann Lutz. "She was very instrumental when it came to integrating our schools in the 60s and 70s."

Former Mayor Bob Bartlett, who attended Huntington Elementary School with Mency in the 1940s, noted that Mency was part of a group of concerned parents who went to the high school every day in the 1960s to oversee the newly desegregated campus and help maintain peaceful relations.

"As an adult she was a fierce fighter for Monrovians," Bartlett said. "She loved the city and loved everything it stood for. She wanted to make it better, and she did."

Mency was born Mimi Luvenia Martin on Nov. 13, 1936. She was baptized at Second Baptist Church, where she served in numerous programs, including Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and later as a Youth Director. She graduated from Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte High School in 1954 and attended Pasadena City College.

Throughout her corporate career, Mency worked as a telephone operator and in management, retiring from AT&T-Lucent Technologies in December 1989.

Mency was elected to the Monrovia school board in 1972, and later served on the city's planning commission. She also served on the board of directors for the , and for KGEM-TV.

Jason Lewis, the former executive director of KGEM, said that Mency gave him his first job at the station and that she was instrumental in driving KGEM toward original live programming and in transitioning the board from a self-appointing to an elected board.

Mency was a supporter of the Monrovia-Duarte Black Alumni Association, which awarded her the 2010 Mwalimu Award for being a strong community activist. She was the recipient of the Older American Volunteer Award from Los Angeles County in 2004, the Iris Award for citizen of the year from the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce in 2002, and the Mary Wilcox Award for her service to the Boys and Girls Club in 2001.

She is survived by her husband of 47 years, George Mency; her daughter, Sherellyn Parent; her sister, Lavada Desalles; four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.

Duarte Councilwoman Lois Gaston said that she’d known Mency since the age of 12 and that they were "good good friends and best best buddies."

"Our families often spent Christmases together," she said. "No one can imagine how much Mimi meant in all of our lives."

Memorial Services will be held on Tuesday, June 28, at 11:30 a.m. at , 140 East Palm Ave. Interment will be at , 200 East Duarte Road. A reception will be held at 3 p.m. in the at 119 West Palm Ave.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made payable to George Mency and proceeds will be shared with the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills, , and the Monrovia-Duarte Black Alumni Association.

Tom Adams June 28, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Mimi certainly left Monrovia far better than she found it, she will be missed
Damon Shay June 28, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Mrs. Mency was a charming powerhouse. She was on the oversight committee during the original Monrovia schools renovations which helped transform our embarassingly dilapidated schools into facilities we are all now so very proud of. Thank you, Mrs. Mency for all you've done for so many in our community. Damon Shay
Rodney Jefferson June 28, 2011 at 04:03 PM
My Auntie Mimi, was a very special and loving person to all Monrovians. She cared about her city and the residence that lived in Monrovia. Whenever there was a community problem many residents would call on Auntie Mimi for her support and insight. She really cared very deeply about all the kids in the City of Monrovia. I can still remember her saying to me, "Why don't you do something for the kids in this city". Shortly after that "A" Game fundamental Basketball Clinic was created. My Auntie Mimi educated me in community and city politics. She also guided my footsteps and shared her experiences with me. She taught me so much about people, places, and things and how to handle them in a respectful way. "Thank You Auntie Mimi"
Karen Suarez June 28, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Love you and will miss you Mimi. Much of what I see in town will always remind me of you. Your strength encouraged me. I know you will be on the shoulder of many, the fruit of your spirit will continue to grow. Karen Suarez
Pam Fitzpatrick June 28, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Mimi taught the power of teamwork, of connections, and of patience. She knew not to be dissuaded by the short-term because when all is said and done, it is what happens in the end that counts. Miss you, Mimi. Pam


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