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Mae Dedrick Prelow, 99, Mother to Hundreds, Dies

March 24, 1994|DEBORAH SCHOCH

Mae Dedrick Prelow of Carson, who cared for hundreds of children as a foster mother and hospital volunteer, died March 12, less than two months before her 100th birthday.

Prelow died of heart failure during surgery for cardiac problems, said her daughter-in-law, Leona Prelow of Carson. A funeral and musical tribute were held Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in South-Central Los Angeles, where Mae Prelow had organized the children's choir and directed it for 50 years.

Those who knew Prelow praised her talents in dealing with children. For 20 years, she ran a South-Central foster home where she cared for more than 70 youngsters. After closing the home in the early 1970s, she turned her attention to the infants at Los Angeles County Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Willowbrook, where she volunteered as a foster grandparent until 1991.

"There's a charisma about her. Little kids just kind of look up to her," New Hope Baptist Pastor James S. McKnight said last April, as her family prepared a 99th-birthday celebration.

At her funeral last weekend, a family friend spotted an unidentified young man seated in a pew, weeping. He explained that Mae Prelow had raised him and taken him to New Hope Baptist many times.

"He said, 'Everything they're saying about Mae Prelow is correct,' " Leona Prelow said.

Prelow is survived by her daughter-in-law; her son, Clifford Prelow; two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions can be made to the Mae Prelow Children's Choir at New Hope Baptist Church or the King/Drew Medical Center.

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