The original stars of multi-Grammy winning legends The 5th Dimension are giving tribute to LaMonte McLemore’s cherished mother, known warmly by all as “Mama June,” who passed away peacefully at age 106 on November 8. Mama June had remained the only surviving parent of the members of The Original 5th Dimension. Always beautifully groomed and attired, and wonderfully wise, LaMonte proudly shared in his memoir “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension” as well as with many an interviewer-including at BackBeat R&B: “Don’t let her homespun name fool you. Mama June’s memory is better than yours and mine, combined…she’s as sharp as a tack!”
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.-the married duo of the original quintet-expressed on the occasion of her centennial birthday: “Mama June is one of the true gems in our lives, she’s always been full of joy, love, and acceptance for all…a true treasure. Florence LaRue, original member and current lead of The 5th Dimension made a special appearance at Mama June’s 105th birthday celebration in St Louis delivering a prayer and song in her honor. Lamonte’s biographer and media spokesman, Robert-Allan Arno states: “Mama June possessed a warm godly light-not only coming from inside but surrounding her-that was simply breathtaking when in her presence.” June McLemore (1914-2020) lived through many decades, eras, US presidents, and positive changes in Civil Rights. She always embraced a “can-do” spirit of diligence, grace, optimism, fairness, and inclusivity through it all, attributes that are reflected in the ethos of The 5th Dimension’s harmoniously uplifting hits like “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” and “Up Up and Away.” The McLemore family states, “She was elated to witness our first Black president and lived to see our first Black woman, South Asian vice president-elect.”
Mama June is also survived by her daughter Joan and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren. Visitation and funeral services will be held privately in her hometown of St Louis. The family thanks fans for their outpouring of sympathetic sentiments on Mr. McLemore’s Facebook page.