Funeral arrangements announced for Rev. Dr. McLin, Chicago pastor, music teacher for Jennifer Hudson

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Rev. Dr. Lena McLin, Chicago music teacher, remembered for legacy
Rev. Dr. Lena McLin, a Chicago pastor and music teacher whose protégés include Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan, has died.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Funeral arrangements have been announced for the Rev. Dr. Lena McLin, a Chicago icon and institution in the music industry, who died last week at the age of 95.

McLin's Celebration of Life Homegoing Service will take place at 11 a.m. Oct. 21 at the United Church of Hyde Park, located at 1448 E. 53rd St.

The service is open to the public, and early arrival is suggested.

Famously known as the "the woman who launched a thousand careers," McLin has worked with some of the biggest celebrities in the music industry, including Chaka Khan, Tony Award-winning actor Mandy Patinkin, Jennifer Hudson and R. Kelly, to name a few.

McLin spent several years as a choir director at Kenwood Academy High School on Chicago's South Side, inspiring hundreds of students over the years to be their best selves, stand tall and lift their voices.

Known for her no-nonsense demeanor, former students recall her firm yet motherly approach in teaching and mentoring young adults. Many have referred to her as their second mom, someone they could lean on through life's challenges.

McLin is the niece of Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the father of Gospel. She moved to Chicago to live with Dorsey when she was a young girl, being immersed in a world of music that would impact her life for nearly a century to come.

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She went on to receive her Bachelor's degree at the historic Spelman College. McLin would also go on to receive honorary doctorate degrees in Humanities from Spelman and Virginia Union University.

McLin has composed and arranged dozens of musical pieces, from classical to gospel works of art, garnering her notoriety not just in the states, but globally.

In 1981, Lena founded Holy Vessel Baptist Church in Hyde Park, becoming an ordained minister, and the head pastor, while also serving as the minister of music.

Her gifts to this world will live on forever in her ministry, music and the lives she has touched.

ABC7 Chicago's Samantha Chatman said she is also blessed to have known her. As a former student and member of her church, she always taught Chatman to dream big, and never forget where she came from.

She leaves behind a daughter, son-in-law, two grandsons and one great-grandson.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.