February 2, 1939 - September 17, 2017
OBITUARY OF LOYCE PICKENS HUSTON Loyce Pickens Huston was born on February 2, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Buck and Helen O’Kelley Smith-Pickens and lived many years of her youth in Carr Square Village, the first black residential community in St. Louis. Her family was the first tenants of the community. Sunset occurred on September 17, 2017 at 8:45am in her home. Loyce attended Patrick Henry and Carr grade schools. She is a graduate of Vashon High School and pursued higher education at Washington University, Forest Park Community College, Harris-Stowe State College studying Mass Communication, Public Speaking and Social Studies. She also received certification from the Manpower Alteration & Tailoring School and has been a lifelong seamstress designing and making most of her own clothing. Loyce met her husband, Herman Huston, Sr. in St. Louis, MO & eventually divorced. Her children include LaMon, Herman Jr., Karl, Joyce Ann & Gerry. Loyce had a tremendous gift for organizing and served on many boards and committees. She had a very outgoing personality and inspired others to achieve and see beyond their own self-doubts. She has been an advocate of many causes. Her family was the first to move into the Pruitt-Igoe Cass Plaza building in which she worked for the Housing Authority that was over the development of the project buildings. She led many efforts in helping the residents including assisting with the coordination of the Black Panthers to serve food to families during a black-out. During her business career, Loyce served as chairperson for the Normandy Tax Levy, supporter and organizer of the Dr. Martin Luther King Programs at Garfield School in Pine Lawn, produced music shows for the Fete De Normandie and served in the capacity of Registration Deputy for the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners. She worked as an Office Administrator, Sales Representative, Assistant Manager, Census Bureau Enumerator Supervisor, St. Louis Housing Authority-Relocation Field Operator, Site Supervisor for the summer outdoor recreation program for the North County Y.M.C.A. serving the Garfield and Pagedale areas, and at Vashon High School as Research Communications Assistant with the St. Louis Public School Teaching & Learning Support Unit. Her last office job was as a front desk receptionist and database editor with the Urban League. Loyce also held positions as a journalist, marketing and Advertising Editor for the Argus Entertainment Newspaper and several St. Louis weekly periodicals including the St. Louis American and the News Network Magazine. Her other career and love for life was as a Song Stylist. She began singing in church and high school choirs, eventually touring with her own gospel group called “The Crusaders”. She was heralded as a protégé of record producer, song-writer, manager and journalist, Chick Finney with his To-Morrow Stars. She spent many years performing on the West Coast, especially in Hollywood, CA where she met Berry Gordy, Jr. and opened for the Supremes. She has performed or been on shows with; the Staple Singers, Eddie Hendricks and Jimmy (Night Train) Forest, Joe Buckner, Fred Sample, Pop Porter, Johnny Johnson, Jimmy Jones, Sweet Lorraine, Mickey Porter & others singing blues, pop, jazz and gospel. She also appeared on multiple Muscular Dystrophy telethons hosted by Jerry Lewis. To her credit, her records “It’s Best to Play it Cool” and “I Want A Man Like That” made it to #16 on the St. Louis R&B charts. She has performed across the country presenting an outstanding contralto voice with range, control with each song, and styled in her own soulful delightfulness. Loyce began booking her own shows as an agent, consultant, producer and director for promoting entertainment for churches, social clubs, community organizations and schools. Later in her career, she penned the stage name “Lovin-Loyce”. Her unique song stylings have been hailed as a mixture of Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight, Sarah Vaughn, and Aretha Franklin. She took her skills as griot of family history into an avocation of “Story Teller through Music”. She presented an historical perspective beginning with Negro Spirituals through the driving beat of R. Kelly to Blues, Gospel and other Popular Music. Decorations include: 2017 Inductee into The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Council of Negro Women, Chairperson for Vashon High School Class of 1956 Reunions, Chairperson or committee member of many O’Kelley Family Reunions since the 1960s, to name a few. Her dedication in preserving the legacy of family picnics, reunions, family tree documentation, photos, videos are in abundance in her family archives. Loyce organized spectacular entertainment productions for she and her twin’s birthdays. They began in the clubs as “Musical Blow Outs” and as her faith in religion strengthened through the teachings of Bishop Dr. L. P. O’Hara, she changed the productions to “Spiritual Musical Blow Outs” which were held at various churches in the area. In 2008, Loyce was baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in sacred white garments which she was also dressed in for her physical transition to be with family and her Heavenly Father. Loyce’s book of poetry entitled “Feelings” received its official publication for sale shortly after her passing. She was thrilled to have finally gotten it completed with the help of her daughter and dear friend Larry Hutchins. It was a life-long passion to become a published author which was achieved in-part posthumously. Loyce was preceded in death by: her parents, Buck and Helen O’Kelley-Smith-Pickens; her brothers Sylvester and LeRoy Smith; her sister Rosie Smith Morgan; and her grandchildren Katrina E. Simmons and Mikal M. Pickens. She leaves to cherish and celebrate her life: her five children; LaMon Keith (Sherry) Pickens, Herman Huston, Jr., Karl Mandell (Judy) Pickens, Joyce Ann Huston (all of St. Louis, MO) and Gerry DaMon (Diane) Huston of Phoenix, AZ; her 14 grandchildren; Stephon Watson, Keirston M. Pickens, Stewart Smalley, Jason Lorthridge, Sheila Jones-Ellis, LaVonda Henderson, Isaiah Jones, Carvas D. Pickens, Joseph Armstrong, Kheematah M. Pickens, Jordan Pickens, Erin B. Venerable, Yvonne L. McIntosh, and Mitchell Lolar; and thirteen great-grandchildren. Also cherishing her memory is her sister, Wanetta O’Kelley Price, her twin sister, Joyce Pickens Coffey, two lifelong friends, Bobbie Wells-Parks and Rita Ford, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
OBITUARY OF LOYCE PICKENS HUSTON Loyce Pickens Huston was born on February 2, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Buck and Helen O’Kelley Smith-Pickens and lived many years of her youth in Carr Square Village, the first black residential... View Obituary & Service Information
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