Wanda Young, Lead Singer and Co-founder of The Marvelettes Passes Away

Wanda Young, a co-founder of the ’60s female group The Marvelettes, has passed away at age 78. According to Deadline, the singer passed away on Dec. 15 due to “complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” per her daughter Meta Ventress.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.” Young is to be laid to rest at the John N. Santeiu & Son Funeral Home. The funeral home’s site includes a page about Young, her family and the services that are taking place to lay her to rest. Young’s family is holding visitation for her on Jan. 3 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and her service will be on Jan. 4, starting at 11:30 a.m.

NEW YORK – CIRCA 1965: Motown singing group The Marvelettes (L-R Katherine Anderson, Wanda Young (Rogers) and Gladys Horton) pose for a portrait circa 1965 in New York City, New York. (Photo by James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The famed singer was very young when the group was formed; in fact, the other members were merely teenagers who attended Inkster High School. Later, Georgia Dobbins, one of the four group members, was replaced by Young and Young and the other members continued to thrive. Young also became the lead singer on a few of the group’s songs. She sang with the group for its popular hit “Please Mr. Postman,” which was led by her group member Gladys Horton. The song became Motown’s first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961, just months after Motown had signed the ladies.

Ventress told The Times, “I told her constantly, ‘All these people love you,’ And she’d say, ‘Wow.’ ” She continued speaking about her mother, saying, “She didn’t wake up every day thinking of the Marvelettes, but she never lost that glamour.”

After singing for about seven years with The Marvelettes, Young decided it was time for members to go their separate ways and for her to do a solo career. She later retired from the music industry. Young had four children overall, three of which survived her while a daughter reportedly was murdered. She also has seven grandchildren and eight siblings that survive her as well.

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