Private Services Set For Rap Star's Mom

Tuesday, November 20th 2007, 7:14 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The mother of rap star Kanye West will be remembered Tuesday during a private funeral service in northeast Oklahoma City. Donda West died November 10 in Marina Del Rey, California, from what the Los Angeles County coroner says may be complications from cosmetic surgery.

The 58-year-old woman was remembered by her father as a devoted daughter and respected educator. Portwood Williams Sr. says he often called his youngest child "Big Girl" and says she was "one in a million."

A 1967 graduate of Douglass High School, Donda West attended Virginia Union University before receiving her master's degree from Atlanta University and her doctorate from Auburn University in Alabama.

West began her teaching career at Atlanta's Morris Brown College in the early 1970s. A Fulbright scholar, she went on to chair Chicago State University's English department.

After 31 years in higher education, she left academia in 2004 to take an active role in her son's career, serving as chairwoman of the Kanye West Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to combat the dropout rate among high school students nationwide.