Mary Wilson, one part of the Supremes, died yesterday, Feb. 8, at her home in Henderson, Nevada. She was 76.
Over the years, Wilson has visited Northeast Pennsylvania several times. Her first visit to Scranton was with her fellow Supremes, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, on July 3, 1964 at the Masonic Temple.
Their performance was part of the traveling show, Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars. Along with the Supremes, the other acts to perform were Gene Pitney, the Dixie Cups, the Rip Chords, Major Lance, the Shirelles, Mike Clifford, the Crystals, the Reflections and Dean & Jean.
Following their show in Scranton, the caravan headed down to Lakewood Park Ballroom near Hazleton for a performance on July 5.
Years later Wilson would return and give a free concert on May 18, 1991 in Wilkes-Barre as part of the annual Fine Arts Fiesta.
On Nov. 25, 2000 Wilson performed at Mount Airy Lodge in a show called “The Supremes starring Mary Wilson.” The tour was developed out of an idea by Ross to get the group back together. It was to be one tour with Wilson, Ross and Cindy Birdsong — who replaced the late Florence Ballard. But Wilson didn’t agree to the $2M she was offered to perform.
So it was decided that there would be two tours, one with Ross and one with Wilson, according to a Nov. 11, 2000 Scranton Times article.
In June 2011, Wilson would return to our area with her wardrobe. She would bring a collection of her gowns and other pieces of memorabilia for an exhibit called “The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection” at Misericordia University’s Pauly Friedman Art Gallery.
Along with the exhibit, Wilson also performed at the university’s amphitheater.
A year later, Wilson would return again to our region for a performance at the Dorflinger Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary for the Wildflower Music Festival in White Mills. The show took place on Aug. 11, 2012
In speaking with Times reporter Caitlin Heaney West, Wilson said for her show “I hope to see all my fans, I just hope that they all come out and enjoy.”
Wilson is survived by her daughter, Turkessa; her sons Pedro Antonio Jr. an William; 10 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild; her sister, Kathryn; and her brother, Roosevelt, according to a New York Times article dealing with her death.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast