Mai Olive Prather Shumake Lusk 1922-2022

Party guests listened as Wannetta Edwards of West Chester, PA gave greetings.

NASHVILLE, TN — Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. member Mai Olive Prather Shumake Lusk was presented with a plaque recognizing her milestone achievement of 75 years of membership in the sisterhood. 

Mrs. Lusk was initiated into the sorority at Alpha Theta Chapter at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1946, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. While a student there, she participated in a vocal competition with another member of Delta Sigma Theta, lirico spinto soprano Leontyne Price, who was then a student at Wilberforce College. 

Rev. Olivia M. Cloud, a past NAC president, made the presentation to Mrs. Lusk.

Soror Lusk held a long and distinguished career as a classical (mezzo soprano) singer and educator. She is endowed with many talents, one of which is dramatics, for which she has won many honors. As a teen during the early 1940s, she captured Nashville Alumnae Chapter’s Miss Jabberwock crown, where she demonstrated her dramatic gifts. 

Rev. Olivia M. Cloud, a past president of Nashville Alumnae Chapter, presented the black lacquered plaque to Mrs. Lusk during her holiday luncheon and bridge party, held at Kingdom Café and Grill in late December. 

Her traditional holiday gathering was scaled down to observe COVID pandemic protocols. A small cadre was invited to be her special guests for a luncheon—longtime friends, bridge buddies, and Delta sisters, including her niece, Wannetta Edwards of West Chester, Penn.

Mai Olive Lusk poses with Deltas after the presentation: (left) Wannetta Edwards (Mrs. Lusk’s niece), and Nashville Alumnae members Patricia Wright, JoAnn Armstrong, Olivia M. Cloud, and Betty M. Jennings. Lusk, Wright, Armstrong, and Jennings are seasoned bridge players who have frequently played together for many, many years.

Betty Jennings, also a member of Nashville Alumnae Chapter, wrote a special poem for the holiday occasion and closed with these special words of consideration for entering the New Year, “A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have. Life is sweeter when friends and family can get together and enjoy the company of each other. 

“May peace and love be your gift in the New Year of 2022 and your blessing all through the year. Remember, God wants you to know that no matter what may come your way, He’s got it handled. Trust Him.”

Mrs. Lusk was especially pleased that Mrs. Edwards and her husband Victor were present to witness the presentation. Also in attendance at the petit gala was Mark Kwesi and two of his adult children, Dr. Gadson “Jack” Tarleton, and Helen Ross of the Hadley Park Duplicate Bridge Club. Special music was provided by Mr. Gerald Dixon.

The plaque was presented immediately following lunch. As is her tradition, Mrs. Lusk presented several door prizes, after which many of her guests formed tables of four to play a few rounds of bridge.

Mrs. Lusk was especially pleased by the presentation and remarked on the beauty of the plaque she received. She expressed her deep gratitude to Chapter President Beverly Evans Smith, and the members of Nashville Alumnae for acknowledging her 75 years of membership in the sisterhood.

Bountiful Blessings

By Betty M. Jennings

Bountiful blessings

Of joy, peace, and love

Our Heavenly Father

Sends from above

Precious gifts

That can’t be bought

Beautiful gifts that soothe 

The heart and help

Life run ever so smooth

Let your gift-giving this year

Include prayer, support,

Smiles, love, and kindness

For everyone

Along with those so dear.