In loving memory of Mollie Mae Claretta Hooey Bagwell, musician for 100 years

by Shani Harris-Bagwell

Mollie Mae Claretta Hooey Bagwell

Mollie Mae Claretta Hooey Bagwell was born to the union of John Neely Hooey, a minister, and Blanche Hooey, a missionary, on Aug. 12, 1916, in Waxahachie, Texas. She was preceded in death by four sisters and four brothers and a step-sister and brother. Very early in life she was trained as a pianist and played for her father’s church.

Mollie’s first love outside her family and music was swimming, at which she was excellent, teaching all of her children to swim and taking her children and others to every available swimming facility – first in Brownwood, Texas, then in San Francisco, then she fell in love with music, she started visiting The Box Tiger Music where she found many of the instruments she fell in love with.

In 1936, during her third year of college, she married Alex Roy Bagwell Sr., who preceded her in death in 2004. Five children were born to this union, children whom she doted on. In 1945, at the end of World War II, the family came to Oakland, then to San Francisco.

Alex Roy Bagwell & Mollie Mae Claretta Hooey Bagwell

Mollie became a licensed beautician, practicing her craft for many years. She studied organ and was the organist at Jones Methodist Church for a number of years and then became the organist at First Union Baptist Church. Mollie was also the official organist of the National Baptist Convention. She also played organ for several funeral homes in San Francisco. She retired from these duties because of deteriorating health.

In spite of great pain, she loved life and lived over 100 years, serving as an inspiration for many, not least her family.

She leaves to cherish her memory her son Alex Roy Bagwell Jr. and his wife Harriet; her daughter Johnette Pansy Smith; and sons Saabir ibn Malik and Rodney Allen Bagwell and his wife, Gloria Jean. She also leaves to cherish her memory eight grandchildren: Keli, Raven, Elka (deceased), Willie, Shani, Melanie, Rodney Jr. and Angelica.

She will be sorely missed by her six great grandchildren, Maizah Gonzales, Ahbleza Bass, Franklin Ray Lloyd Jr., Margaret Ann Wexelman, Amaia and Anthony; and her nine great-great grandchildren. Of course, her memory will be cherished by many nieces, especially Paulette Hooey Satterwhite, and nephews and countless friends.