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Remembering: Olivia McClurkin

My wife suggested that my first blog be about Olivia…

Though I didn’t “report” it, Olivia McClurkin passed away on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 and her homegoing service was held this past Tuesday, the 11th, at Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York.

She was eulogized by her younger brother, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, and the service was an incredible tribute to her amazing life.

I want to give you details, but I wouldn’t remember it all.From all of the words spoken to all of the songs sung, the service was fitting and phenomenal.

A host of family, friends and church members showed their love for Olivia that night.

Reflections were made by many, including her three daughters, Daesa, Crystal and Jada, and two of her sisters, Marlene and Andrea.

Also speaking about Olivia were Kirk Franklin, Cissy Houston (Olivia used to provide background vocals for Whitney Houston), Teresa Hairston (Gospel Today), Andraé Crouch and Sandra Crouch.

Perhaps one of the most moving tributes came from the doctor who treated her for the past decade, as he discussed how Olivia’s fight shaped his own posture in medical treatment– one of reliance on the master Healer.

And I won’t even talk about the music.

Or, maybe I will… Folks who grabbed the mic in honor of Olivia included Pastor Marvin L. Winans (co-officiant), Pastor McClurkin, Kirk Franklin (with a special group of vocalists in “My Life, My Love, My All”), Andrea Mellini, Sheila Carpenter, Arnelia Lomax and Andraé Crouch.

To cap it off, Louis Mellini (Olivia’s brother-in-law) compiled an awesome video presentation about Olivia, which included some hilarious home videos and inspiring documentary footage.

On a personal note, I am going to miss Olivia terribly.

She had a remarkably quick wit and was an absolute riot. While I often enjoyed just sitting around, waiting for her to do or say something stupid, I also looked forward to hearing her speak words of wisdom and faith.

It was by that faith that Liv battled and beat cancer many times over, for nearly a decade.

She is the true definition of a Christian soldier and I’m excited to see her again in glory.


  • Janice

    I didn’t know Olivia McClurkin personally, but I felt sad sitting in the midst of the people who love and miss her terribly. It was a beautiful ceremony filled with great (and I do mean GREAT) music. Her life celebrated through the service really was a testimony to her faith in God. It convicted me to definitely stop complaining about any situation I’ve encountered. I’m just sad I never got a chance to know her….

  • Monica

    Olivia’s testimony will certainly outlive her. Just hearing the stories from people who attended the service blessed me and challenged my faith. God is faithful even in our sufferings…especially then, because it is in our sufferings that we come to know Him as Christ did.

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  • Andrea

    Liv was a fighter and she praised and worshipped the Savior, with reckless abandon, in the midst of her fiercest battle…to the bitter end. So many lives were affected by her testimony of faith and her unshakable trust in the Lord. When our faith stalled, her faith and confidence in who God is and what He IS capable of, encouraged us to get with the program!! :o ) Even though she didn’t understand everything (nor did we) she chose to worship Him, because He is good and does ALL things well!

    My life will NEVER be the same now that she’s gone. I’ve been taught an invaluable lesson of unconditional love, unwavering faith and been given the desire to draw closer to the God who sustained her and kept her with a song of praise on her lips, while her body betrayed her.

    Though our hearts have been shattered, we rejoice in knowing that she is finally free, whole and healed!

  • Lorna

    She was the 1st sister I met of the McClurkin Mafia (smile). I didn’t find out until later that getting past her (to marry her brother) should have been my greatest challenge, but instead she was kind and carefee. I learned from her just how real God is and it’s by our faithfulness to His Word that we can stand strong in EVERYTHING. Even after such a glorious service, I still feel that she is here, except she’s somewhere in Italy buying her Italian Boots. We all know that she was absolutely a fashionista!

    Thanks for creating this blog Erik! Thank you Janice for being his helpmate. Love you both.

  • Ms.Pooh

    When I met her and got to know her battle I was always scared about her dying and knowing that she was so sick but everyone including her would say she was okay. I have come to realize that she really was okay because she had an unwavering faith. My son and I will miss her terribly but just to know that she isn’t suffering anymore and is at peace is comforting. Life is short and not promised to anyone so we should live every day like it’s our last and tell people what they mean to us.Also we all must remeber John 11:25″….I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies,will come to life. We know she had faith so we will see her again. R.I.P. Aunt Peanut. We love you and miss you.

  • EJ

    Ms. Pooh: Thank you so much for coming to the site, but thanks even more for sharing your thoughts and your heart about Olivia. We will rejoice with her again one day soon!

  • ~gc

    i was searching Olivia’s name online and was directed to this site after surfing the net, just seeing the impact she had on so many lives. I was more surprised when I realized that this site belonged and was created by you. Congrats. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, along with Sandie (Canada) who passed away literally 2 weeks prior. Anyway, its good to know that this site exist.

    Take care to the both of you,
    ~gc

  • EJ

    @~gc: Welcome to the site, man. God Bless ya and thanx for the encouragement. Hopefully, you’ll pop back through now and again! :-)

  • D. Olivia T

    I met Olivia when Donnie came to Rock Church International Virginia Beach VA for his live recording in 2004. In observing this remarkable family, Andrea & Olivia both stood out to me, but especially Olivia. (My mom’s name was Olivia and it is my middle name.) She mentioned that she had undergone radical surgery/treatment for cancer and I was able to encourage her though in an amazing way she without words encouraged me. It totally awed me how she kept up the hectic pace and was determined to be a part of her brother’s recording no matter what. I often wanted to communicate with her to see how she was doing and to discover that she recently passed broke my heart. It was a joy to be around this beautiful family and to meet such a lovely woman of God – Olivia.