Berry Gordy’s Sister, Motown Museum founder dies

By Mike Fossano

Esther Gordy Edwards, the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., died Wednesday of natural causes. She was 91 years old.

Gordy Edwards is perhaps best known as the founder of the Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard. She also served as the Motown’s vice president and chief financial officer during the company’s zenith in the 1960s.

AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Steven R. Nickerson

She also acted as an adviser for Motown artists–many of whom were still in the nascent stages of their careers–including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and Diana Ross.“She was the most educated in our family and was the go-to person for wisdom in business,” Berry Gordy, Jr. said in a statement.

“Esther Gordy Edwards was a top Motown executive, businesswoman, civil and political leader, who received numerous awards, commendations and accolades. Whatever she did, it was with the highest standards, professionalism and an attention to detail that was legendary. She always came out a hero.

“Esther turned the so-called trash left behind after I sold the company in 1988 into a phenomenal world-class monument where Hitsville started- the Motown Museum.

“She preserved Motown memorabilia before it was memorabilia, collecting our history long before we knew we were making it. She nurtured and held it together through the years, protecting the Motown legacy for generations to come, which is only one of the reasons people all over the world will remember and celebrate Esther Gordy Berry.

“Despite my sorrow, I will proudly continue to honor and celebrate her. She will always be my big sister and she will forever live in my heart.”

Her death marks the second big Motown loss of the week – Ashford and Simpson star Nick Ashford died on Tuesday.


About The Woodward Spine

The Woodward Spine was the brainchild of Michael Fossano and Jeffrey Buck, two Royal Oak, Mich. natives who met nearly 10 years ago while attending the now-defunct George A. Dondero High School. It seemed fitting for the two Wayne State University alums to craft an outlet to help continually refine their writing skills, while also serving as a trusted source of information for the metro Detroit community. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts not only by Mike and Jeff, but other upstanding citizens as well who are driven and proficient in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, however concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
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