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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Honors Legacy of Della Reese

December 29, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Honors Legacy of Della Reese

LOS ANGELESCongresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), released the following statement honoring the late Della Reese whose life and legacy will be celebrated in a memorial service on Saturday, December 30, 2017 in Los Angeles:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of my dear friend Della Reese’s passing last month.  Della was a living legend and a woman of extraordinary talent, blessed with one of the most iconic voices of our time and a career that spanned several decades.  While of course it was that powerful and distinct voice that earned her acclaim very early in her career, it was Della’s dynamic acting ability in various film and television projects, most notably the successful primetime series, ‘Touched by an Angel,’ that endeared her to millions of new fans who saw in Della’s character their own loving mother, friend, or guiding mentor helping to navigate them through life’s many trials and tribulations.  Della’s work on that series was very much aligned with her personal life and work as an ordained minister in my district at the Understanding Principles for Better Living ‘UP’ Church in Inglewood, California – a ministry she steadfastly maintained by taking frequent flights between Inglewood and Salt Lake City, Utah where ‘Touched by an Angel’ was filmed.

“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to know Della and experience firsthand her devotion to the church, her ministry, and ensuring our community’s young people understood their place and history.  Della was the beneficiary of strong women role models from her mother to Mahalia Jackson who mentored and gave Della her first big break when she was just 13 years old.  Della therefore always understood the importance of mentorship and passing on knowledge to the next generation, and on that account, she was a profoundly engrossing storyteller.  The lessons and pain she experienced were fundamental components of her ministry and testimony.  To those who truly knew Della, her soaring voice and commanding persona onscreen was only eclipsed by her heart and sincere compassion for mankind.

“As we lay to rest the legendary Della Reese, it is my hope that we all reflect on her legacy this holiday season in sharing with one another the same love and compassion Della showed everyone she encountered.  My sincere condolences are with Della’s husband, Frank, her children, family, and loved ones in Los Angeles and across the country.”