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Who was Katherine Anderson-Schaffner?

Katherine Elaine Anderson-Schaffner, more commonly known as Katherine Anderson, was a remarkable personality in the music world.


She was born on January 16, 1944, and was one of the founding members of the renowned Motown group, The Marvelettes.

Her recent departure at the age of 79 has left a significant impact on the music industry, but her contributions continue to resonate.

Formative Years and Career Launch

Anderson was born in Ann Arbor, a university town, and grew up in Inkster, a suburb of Detroit. She began singing at a young age. In 1961, while still in high school, she formed a group with her fellow glee club members Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, and Juanita Cowart, as well as Georgia Dobbins. They initially named themselves The Casinyets, a playful nod to their early musical abilities, implying “can’t sing yet”.

The Marvelettes and Their Journey to Stardom

The group auditioned for Motown as The Marvels after participating in a talent contest. Motown asked them to come back with an original song. They returned with the Dobbins composition, “Please Mr. Postman,” which marked the beginning of their journey to fame. The group was signed by Motown and changed their name to The Marvelettes. Their song “Please Mr. Postman” became a massive hit, reaching number one and marking the start of their nearly decade-long reign as one of the top female vocal groups. They produced several hits, including “Don’t Mess With Bill,” “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game,” and “Too Many Fish In The Sea”.

Later Years and Legacy

When Gladys Horton proposed a reunion of the group in the 1970s, Anderson decided to move on. She became active in the Detroit community, helping at-risk teenagers while also raising her own family. Anderson rejoined the group to be honored at the Motown 50th anniversary and the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ultimately, she was a singer who played a significant role in the evolution of the Motown sound and the rise of Detroit as a global music hub. Her work will be remembered for generations to come.

Katherine Anderson Death

Her daughter, Keisha Schaffner, announced the news on Facebook, starting with the heartfelt words “Some called her Kat – some called her Sis , Gamma- Momma K but my sister and I called her MOM”. Katherine Anderson Schaffner will always be remembered as one of the Original Marvelettes. Her music and legacy will continue to live on.

So, whenever you hear ‘Please Mr. Postman,’ ‘Don’t Mess With Bill,’ or ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game,’ just smile and say ‘I’ll Keep Holding On.’

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