The passing of Christine Grandberry has evoked an extraordinary outpouring of grief, especially in the Frayser community where she was dub hailed as “Queen,” or the “Mayor of Frayser.”
Nothing happened without her blessing — politicians knew it, community leaders acknowledged it, and resident families depended on it.
“Of course, Ms. Grandberry sat on our board at the Frayser Community Development Corporation,” said Steve Lockwood, executive director. “Of course, that was several years ago. She was still very active in the community fairly recently. It was only lately that she had slowed down some. Ms. Grandberry was a life-long resident of Frayser, one of the most effective advocates. She will be greatly missed.”
Rev. Charlie Caswell, also a prominent advocate in the Frayser community, penned a brief but touching and message on Facebook to the community and to Ms. Grandberry:
“Frayser, keep our Queen Christine Grandberry’s family in your prayers as she has gained her wings. She will be missed. She played a key role in my life as a community activist. ‘Thanks for all you gave to our community and my life, Ms. Grandberry.’ Heaven, get ready—a Queen who is a fighter is on her way home. #RIH (Rest in Heaven)”
She was a world-changer, and her world was Frayser. No one knew it better than elected officials seeking community support.
State Representative Antonio Parkinson also posted on Facebook:
“We lost a wonderful person in Christine Grandberry. Before there was a State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, Christine was there. I held my first community meetings in her den, my first campaign organizing meeting in her den, and enjoyed my first neighborhood night out in her den. She was the epitomy of ‘love for community’. She used to LOVE cutting her grass and cutting a design in her yard such as that when she carved “Obama” in it during his first election.
“I’ll never forget that even after I lost my first election, she proudly kept my 8-foot campaign banner on her porch for the world to see. She was there at Mrs. Winners when I began my community service and never faltered in her support for me…ever! I’m glad that I always told her, ‘I loved her’ and she would always say, ‘Love you more’ every time we ended our conversations. We will miss her.”
Ms. Grandberry was a lifelong resident of North Memphis, born to Lem Anderson Jr. and Roxanna Brown. Health problems plagued her at the year’s end, but she held on until Christmas. She died two days later at the age of 70.
Ms. Grandberry graduated from Manassas High School in 1966, she attended Manassas K-12.
“My mom loved her school and was a true Blue-and-Gold alumni. She was a lifetime season ticket holder of the Memphis Grizzlies from the time they first came to the city. She tried to make all the home games to cheer them on, win or lose, until poor health prevented her. Not only did she love the Frayser community, but she loved her city.”
Ms. Grandberry worked at General Electric and later, the Kellogg Company until her retirement.
She is survived by one daughter, Duckett, and a son, David H. Tuggle; four grandchildren, three sisters, one brother, and a loving host of other relatives and friends.