A memorial celebration has been set for Mary Lyerly Alexander, the first cousin of renowned saxophonist John W. Coltrane.
Known as “Cousin Mary” throughout the international world of jazz, she died on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. She was 92.
A longtime teaching assistant at Gideon Elementary School in North Philadelphia until her retirement in 1987, Alexander was one of the seven founders of the John W. Coltrane Cultural Society (JWCCS). Headquartered at the historic Coltrane House in North Philadelphia where she and her husband resided, the organization sought to counteract negative constraints facing African American youth through presentations of local jazz artists.
The memorial service will be held on Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. at the Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts, Broad and Fitzwater Streets.