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Obituary: Mattie L. Washington

4/27/2011, 12:13 a.m.
Mattie L. Washington, one of the state’s first African American...

Mattie L. Washington, one of the state’s first African American businesswoman to work as a licensed hair stylist, died on Easter Sunday. She was 88 years old.

Washington was the first of two children born to Joseph and Elizabeth Thornton in Macon, Ga. on March 2, 1923

A Bostonian for 66 years, Mattie was married to Ernest E. Washington Sr. (deceased) for more than 21 years and lived in and served her Roxbury community through the years. She received a master’s license in barbering and had a long history as an entrepreneur. She operated two Corner Barber Shops in the city of Boston and was widely known and respected as one of the first African American women licensed to cut and style hair in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Upon her retirement from barbering, Washington  owned and operated a day care facility and served as a volunteer at the Orchard Park Community Center and the American Indian Council in Boston.

Washington is survived by her fraternal twins, Ernest E. Washington Jr. of Mattapan and Ernestine E. Washington of Roxbury; four grandchildren, Carmela Elizabeth Washington, Taj Jahiz Washington, both of Roxbury, Ivanna Ernica Washington of Durham, N.C., and Christy Nokomo Marrs of Nashville, Tenn; goddaughter Nancy Bouldin of Randolph; in laws Ethelina and Ida Mae Hall, both of Dorchester; scores of nieces, nephews and cousins; and Lena Hunter, trusted companion for the last six years of her life.

The funeral will be held on Monday, May 2 at Charles Street A.M.E. Church (551 Warren St., Dorchester) with viewing hours with the family at 10 a.m. and a church service at noon, followed by Interment at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain.

Washington was a survivor of both breast and colon cancer. The family suggests that gifts in her name may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Mattie L. Washington Scholarship Fund.