Katherine Anderson Obituary, Death – It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Katherine Anderson-Schaffner, a founding member of The Marvelettes, at the age of 79. Katherine, seen on the top right in the photo, was an integral part of a pioneering group that left an indelible mark on the music industry. The Marvelettes achieved remarkable success and made history as the first act to score a number-one hit for Motown with their timeless classic, “Please Mr. Postman,” in 1961. This achievement was not only a milestone for the group but also a groundbreaking moment in music history, as it was one of the first number-one singles recorded by an all-female vocal group.
Katherine Anderson-Schaffner’s journey with The Marvelettes began at the very inception of the group. Her dedication, harmonious vocals, and unwavering commitment played a pivotal role in the group’s ascent to stardom. Alongside fellow members Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Wanda Young, and Wyanetta Cowart, Katherine contributed to the creation of timeless music that transcended generations. The Marvelettes’ breakthrough came with their iconic hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” a song that remains an integral part of music history. Written and produced by the legendary Smokey Robinson, this classic became a million-selling Gold-certified single, captivating the hearts of listeners around the world. The song’s catchy melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and the captivating voices of The Marvelettes made it an instant classic. “Please Mr. Postman” was a testament to the group’s undeniable talent and charisma.
The Marvelettes’ success was not limited to chart-topping hits. They also shattered gender stereotypes and opened doors for countless female vocal groups to follow in their footsteps. Their achievements demonstrated that women could not only hold their own in the male-dominated music industry but also excel and reach new heights. Although The Marvelettes disbanded in 1970 as members pursued their separate paths, their legacy endures. The group’s contributions to Motown and the music industry as a whole have left an indelible mark. Over the years, The Marvelettes, including Katherine Anderson-Schaffner, received several well-deserved honors, including induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2013, they were further recognized for their outstanding contributions when they were inducted into the first class of the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame.
Katherine Anderson-Schaffner’s passing is a somber moment for music enthusiasts around the world. Her talent, along with that of The Marvelettes, has left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire and entertain. We remember her not only for her incredible vocal abilities but also for her role in breaking down barriers for women in the music industry. As we pay our respects and say farewell, we do so with gratitude for the beautiful music and the pioneering spirit she and The Marvelettes brought into our lives. Their melodies and harmonies will live on, reminding us that music has the power to transcend time and touch our hearts for generations to come. Rest in peace, Katherine Anderson-Schaffner. 🙏