Briefly: Esther Gordy Edwards

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The Independent Online

Esther Gordy Edwards, who died on 24 August at the age of 91, was known as "the Mother of Motown", writes Pierre Perrone, not only to her brother Berry Gordy Jr, the founder of the label that defined the Sixties as much as The Beatles, but also to artists like Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes, whom she chaperoned on tour.

Born in Oconee, Georgia, in 1920, she grew up in Detroit and co-founded the Gordy Printing Company with her two other brothers, Fuller and George. Her decision to approve a loan of $800 from the family's fund enabled Berry Gordy to launch Tamla in 1959. She went on to work for the company in various capacities for 30 years, and drew on her personal archives to establish the Motown Historical Museum at 2648 West Grand Blvd, the former Hitsville USA headquarters, in 1985.