Miola Laws
Miola Laws

Miola Donahue Laws, matriarch of the Laws family and mother of a slew of legendary jazz artists, died this week. She was 103.

The service will take place at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 3401 Jeanetta Rd
Houston 77063 on Friday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. The viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Following the service, the interment to take place at Paradise North Cemetery.

The Houston-born Laws live the entirety of her 103 years in the Bayou City, attending Blackshear Elementary, one of only three Black elementary schools in Houston at the time, and Jack Yates High School, where she was recently honored as one of the matriarchs of her class of 1937.

After marrying Hubert Laws Sr. and raising their eight children, Miola attended Houston Community College.

Miola Laws

Those eight children are Blanche Laws-McConnell (church minister of music and general manager of Angelus Funeral Home in Los Angeles, California); Hubert Laws, Jr. (international classical and jazz musician/flutist); Johnny Laws (veteran, retired postal worker, and vocalist); Eloise Laws-Ivie (recording vocalist, Broadway actor and author); Ronnie Laws (international recording jazz musician/saxophonist); Charlotte Laws-Thompson (author/poet and former Ikette-“Ike and Tina Turner”); Debra Laws (recording vocalist and Broadway actor); and Dr. Donna Y. Laws (professor, author, motivational speaker and classical dancer). 

Flowers for the service are welcome. However, in lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to any of the two established scholarships in Miola Donahue Laws’ name: The Second Chance Scholarship at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church (supporting students for college) and the Conrad O. Johnson Music and Fine Arts Foundation (supporting college-bound students pursuing careers in music and fine arts–members of the Conrad O. Johnson Regional Youth Orchestra).

As the mother of the Conrad O. Johnson Foundation, Laws remained active until her passing according to Artie Onayemi, who co-founded the foundation along with its namesake, the Houston legend it was named after, “Prof” Conrad Johnson.

“Mrs. Miola Laws was the backbone of the organization. She supported us from its inception back in 1999 and has been a supporter of ours since that time,” said Onayemi. “Even when she couldn’t physically attend the events, she supported the organization in countless ways. That’s why we named a scholarship after her, the Miola Laws Scholarship for Academic Achievement, which has been around for at least 10 years.”

Onayemi said that scholarship is given out annually to one of the high school seniors who is part of the Conrad O. Johnson Regional Youth Orchestra for excelling musically and academically. The group is comprised of middle and high school student musicians.

According to Onayemi, Laws, even while sick, continued raising money for the organization. “She was a dedicated supporter of our youth musicians, and not just by her monetary donations alone. She regularly volunteered her time and even her children’s time. Ronnie gave out saxophones to our organization for years. Hubert has not only contributed time and resources to perform at our annual fundraising galas, he was the honorary chairman of our first such gala. And Eloise has been a constant force and supporter, just like her mother. But all of Miola’s children supported the foundation. And even during my last conversation with her earlier this month, she was still asking what could she do to support the children,” shared Onayemi.