Lillian Mobley, a South Los Angeles activist who worked to keep Martin Luther King Drew Medical Center operating, died Monday at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood. She was 81.
Originally from Georgia, “Mother Mobley,” as she was affectionately called, moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s, and soon became an invaluable member of the community by advocating for better lifestyles and opportunities for all, with a focus on education, healthcare and transportation.
Mobley also was instrumental in the opening of the Charles Drew Medical School, which opened doors for African Americans and other minorities to train in the healthcare field.
“Something I enjoy is fighting for the rights of others,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1977.
Just doing her best to be an honorable citizen caused Mobley to impact a number of lives.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lillian Mobley, who served as a community caretaker for more than 30 years. Mother Mobley knew the value of our community and was determined, without hesitation, to ensure that much needed services and resources such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital would no longer be ignored or delayed. Lillian Mobley stood strong and tall like others before her–Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.
“Mrs. Mobley’s life embodied the 1990’s theme: ‘Speak to Power,’ and, I would add, without fear,” said Congresswoman Laura Richardson.
“The loss of Mother Mobley is a loss for all of South Los Angeles, the community she loved and worked so tirelessly to empower and improve. As we mourn the loss of this incomparable crusader, we must pause and reflect on the legacy of courage and commitment that she leaves us.
“As forces move to divide and weaken us, we must work together in the same spirit of love and struggle that Mother Lillian showed us and we will honor her life and works and we will be successful,” said Senator Curren Price “Mother Mobley leaves us with a long legacy of work, but a call to keep pushing. I will miss her deeply.”
Council President Pro Tempore Jan Perry who adjourned the Los Angeles City Council in Mobley’s memory on July 19, added, “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of long-time community advocate, leader, and friend Lillian Mobley. Her tenacity and commitment to the people of our community was an inspiration. Ms. Mobley leaves a legacy of service by which she will always be remembered,” said Perry. “I was personally moved by her leadership in the fight against diabetes. She was an outspoken advocate on the issue and always challenged elected officials to develop creative solutions to build healthier communities. She was truly an angel in our midst.”
Congresswoman-elect Janice Hahn added, “. . . Lillian was an incredible woman, and a passionate advocate for her community. She worked closely with my father to bring the Martin Luther King Jr. hospital to the community of Watts. Countless lives have been saved because of her vision and her dedication. Lillian was a lion. I know she lives on in the hearts of all of us who were inspired by her example.”
Mobley’s survivors include her husband, James, sons Kenneth, Phillip and Charles, 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. A daughter, Corene Mobley Bowie, preceded her in death.
Services will be held July 29 at 11 a.m. at Ward AME Church, 1177 25th St., Los Angeles. Condolence may be sent to 1111 W. 51st. St., Los Angeles, CA 90037.