On Wednesday August 7th in Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, our beloved Mildred Boutin Prothrow completed life’s journey. She died in the presence of her immediate family – her daughter and son-in-law Deborah and Charles, her grandchildren Trey, Tony, Percy, and Mimi, and her great grandchildren Gabriella, Gracyn, Kamal, Perci, and Ruby. At 102, she fulfilled her wish to travel on the annual family vacation, which she had not done for four years. She was particularly motivated by the excitement her great grandchildren showed when she told them that she was planning to come this year. She made it to Sint Maarten and had four great days. She then became terminally ill. Before her passing, as she had done so many times before, she offered words of instruction, encouragement and prayers for the family.

Mildred was renowned for her dedication to family and as a welcoming presence to friends and extended family, in the homes she shared with her late husband Percy Wendell Prothrow Jr. in Marshall, TX, Atlanta and Houston and those she shared with daughter and son-in-law in Boston, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Los Angeles, California. Beyond her gracious, loving and hospitable spirit, another of her claims to fame was her culinary skills, which were greatly appreciated by family and friends.  A broad array of Bostonians. and many others from around the world feasted on her legendary gumbo, pound cake, egg nog, and buttermilk pecan and lemon meringue pies.


Mildred Boutin was born in Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana on April 7, 1917 and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After completing her primary and secondary education in Jackson, she went to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, a historically black college made famous in the 2007 movie The Great Debaters. While at Wiley she met Percy W. Prothrow Jr. to whom she was married for 33 years, until his passing in 1976. To that union was born two daughters – Lady Percy and Deborah Boutin. Percy Prothrow was a rising executive at Atlanta Life Insurance Company and as a result the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia from Marshall and then to Houston when he became the regional executive. After daughter Lady Percy passed in 1982, she moved to Boston to live with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. She accompanied the family to Tanzania during her son-in-law’s tenure as the US Ambassador to that country. There she was given the moniker “Bibi”, which is the Kiswahili honorific title for grandmother. The family returned to Boston in 2001 and later moved to Los Angeles when daughter Deborah assumed the position of Dean of the Medical School at Charles Drew University.

Mildred was a graduate of Wiley College (BA ’41) and Texas Southern University, from which she received a Masters Degree in reading education. She taught in the North Forest Independent School District outside of Houston until she retired in 1983. She was a member of Jack and Jill and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. A woman of great faith, she was a faithful member of the Methodist Church until her passing. She was a member of Warren United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Trinity United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, Union United Methodist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California.

She leaves behind a large and loving immediate and extended family – daughter Deborah Boutin Prothrow–Stith; son-in-law Charles Richard Stith; grandson James Robert Edmondson, III (Trey); grandson Anthony Wesley Franklin; grandson Percy Roderick Michael Stith; granddaughter Mary Mildred (Mimi) Boutin Stith; great grandchildren Gabriella Ervin Stith, Gracyn Ervin Stith, Kamal Kai Stith, Perci Ayele Edmondson and Ruby Deborah Stith.  The family includes her granddaughter-in-law, Quay Whitlock Edmondson and Quay’s mother, Quay Whitlock Sr. (Gigi) and sister, Kendal Whitlock. Her St. Louis family includes, Rebecca McLean Fannings and Becky’s children, Tatyana, Teresa, Dana and Tiara Fannings. Her nephew Rev. Albert W. Duplessis Jr. in Atlanta and a host of family members in Chicago, Houston and New Orleans. Many friends loved her and were encouraged by her spirit. A special lady who is truly missed.

Beyond the private memorials held by the family, as Bibi requested, there will be service of remembrance and party celebrating her life on April 4th in Los Angeles, California. Gumbo and pound cake will be on the menu.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Mildred Boutin Prothrow Scholarship Fund at Wiley College [CLICK HERE] - you must indicate The Mildred Prothrow Fund in the Restricted Donation box.