MIAMI – Authentically creative people are usually unable to turn off the imaginative juices. Not at work, not at home and not when their goddaughter has an elementary school project that requires a family member to be accompanied by Flat Stanley, a doll she made from construction paper. Such was the case when Mamie Lingo learned that her then first grade goddaughter, Noelle Strong and her five and six-year old peers were given The Flat Stanley Project at their Georgia elementary school.
According to her Facebook post, the now 23-year old Strong said, “The assignment was to send Flat Stanley to a family member or friend and have them take him everywhere they went and document it.”
She said her classmates sent their Flat Stanley to a neighbor or around the corner to their grandparents’ house and came back with a few pictures; however, her Flat Stanley “went all the way to Miami to be with my Goddie and came back in a giant box filled with all kind of goodies.” She added, “My Flat Stanley went to work at The Miami Herald, partied at Mardi Gras, cracked crabs at The Crab House and came back with souvenirs from every place he visited. Needless to say my project was the talk of Mr. Young’s class.”
The words “creativity,” “generosity” and “kind” are woven throughout the stories that Mamie Earnestine Lingo’s family and friends have been sharing since her May 11 death due to natural causes.
Mamie, also known as “Tina,” was born on July 30, 1961 in Miami. She was the youngest of three children of Willie Dean Lingo and Dory Lingo and grew up attending the Church of the Open Door, where her parents were active members and officers.
A 1979 graduate of Miami Central High School, the popular majorette captain was quite active. Her many roles included vice-president of the junior class, National Honor Society member, art director of the school newspaper, and a participant in the Inter-Club Council. Ranked eleventh in her graduating class, Mamie was twice listed in Who’s Who Among American High School Students.
Prophetically, perhaps, she was a Silver Knight winner in the category of speech, the coveted award created and distributed by The Miami Herald. The Florida State University grad (Bachelor of Fine Arts) eventually became an award-winning art director for Herald Creative, where she and her team provided creative support to the various holdings of the Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC), the City of Miami Beach, and various sports, entertainment and art industry organizations. After many years in the industry, she started Lingo Design in 2008, working full-time as a freelance graphic designer.
Her creativity was also a bonus for her family as Mamie’s work ended up on T-shirts and other merchandise sold in a “family boutique” to raise money for its education fund. Cheryl Mizell said she grew to know her cousin when Mizell, a radio host with WEDR, returned from college and their relationship deepened during their work with cousin Linda Mizell and other family members on the annual family reunions.
“Mamie would design the whole line of the Mizell Gift Shop, which included hats, tote bags, tank tops,” Mizell shared. “Any time you work with people you get to know them even better,” said Mizell, whose father and Mamie’s mother are first cousins. “I became really, really fond of her.”
Mamie has been friends with Noelle’s mother, Wilma Cookie O’Rourke Strong since they were in the fourth grade.
“We shared a special bond, and although we were the closest of friends and I insisted she call me Cookie like everyone else, she never stopped calling me Wilma,” Strong shared on her Facebook page. “Mamie was one of my bridesmaids–the one who had all of the “fun stuff” planned the night before the wedding,” she shared about her friend, who was also a sorority sister as a member of the Miami-Dade County Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Preceded in death by her father Willie Dean Lingo, Mamie is survived by her mother, Dory Lingo King; sister Teresa Lingo Floyd, brother Horace Tyrone Lingo and numerous family members.
In lieu of flowers, Mamie’s family requests that do- nations be made to the scholarship fund that has been established in her memory. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Church of the Open Door and note “Mamie Lingo Art Scholarship Fund” in the memo section. In the coming days, a Community Arts Festival will also be established in Mamie’s name.
The funeral is scheduled for May 22 at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Open Door, 6001 NW 8th Ave., in Miami.