Lula Lovetta Hadley McGriff Walden (married twice) the Mother of James Thomas McGriff, M.D. and Linda Inez Walden, M.D. Lula was named after her paternal grandmother Lula Love
Reid Hadley ( 2nd wife of Richard Hadley)born on her birthday and etta part of her name from her mother Rosetta. Her nickname is “Music Roots” because of the musical talent as a singing Lyric
soprano and also playing piano both she inherited from her father and grandmother Lula . Lula was born January 5, 1935. (the 9th of 15 children of King Dennis and Rosetta James Hadley in Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomas County, Thomasville, GA. Nine siblings preceded her in death. Her siblings from oldest to youngest are: Estella Hadley Groover- d. (Henry d), Rev. John
Dennis Hadley-d (1st Viola-d., Virginia-d.), Lloyd Curtis Hadley-d. (1st Annie -d & 2nd Sadie-d.), Morris Brown Hadley (1st Raphine –d., 2nd Alice), Ella Ree Hadley (died as infant), HerbertHoover Hadley-d (Cynthia ),, Rosa Louise Hadley, Catherine Delano Virginia Hadley Robinson D. (Matthew “Mack-d), Mom (George-d) (Jack) Roosevelt Hadley,(Chris), Agnes Celestine Hadley
Adams (Pastor Emeritus Charles G. Adams) , twins: Marie Elizabeth Hadley Robinson,(Emmett-d) & Richard Livingston Hadley-d (1st Grace-d,2nd-Pat-d,3rd Lauretta),Naomi Ruth Hadley Monroe
(Jerry-d) and Lillie Mae Hadley Witherspoon(Eugene-d).
Lula attended Ochlocknee Missionary Baptist Church in Grady County and was baptized at the age of 9 years ago. Her paternal Grandmother who she was name after and born the same day
was Lula Love Reid Hadley She donated the Land to build the Ochlocknee Missionary Baptist Church. Lula’s Baptism took place in a pond on Blackshear Road in Grady County. She started
singing in the choir at the age of 4 years old. She attended elementary school on Pebble Hill Plantation. Lula’s family later moved to Thomasville where she attended Douglas High School in
Thomasville, GA. Her favorite classes were Math, Home Economics and English. At Douglass High School she sing in the High School Chorus and was an outstanding 1st soprano featured in many programs in school and the community, singing solos and receiving many Awards for Douglass High School in competitions. She was very talented in designing her evening gowns and enjoyed sewing. Lula learned from her eldest sister Estella and cousin Hanna McGriff ( who was Charlie McGriff’’s mother) she later married in 1954. She was also one of Douglass High School Queens Court in 1951. After graduating from High School in 1953, with the help of her older sister, Dr. Rosa Louise Hadley, she received a 2 year scholarship from Fort Valley State College and a 2 year Scholarship form Savannah State University and she chose Savannah State University because she had several relatives living there. She majored in Vocal music and minor in Home Economics. Shortly afterwards she met cousin & married Charlie McGriff and to this short marriage, James Thomas McGriff , her first child, was born. He who grew up and was blessed to become a physician specialized in Anesthesiology. Dr. McGriff spent 34 years in Huntsville,AL and retired in 2020. Linda, like her brother, also had aspiration to become a physician and became a Family Physician for the last 30 years.
In 1955, Lula moved to St. Albans, New York, living with her Uncle Richard (son of Richard Hadley, Sr) and his wife Aunt Grace and started working. She met George Herbert Walden ( a distant cousin also from Grady County Georgia in Beachton, GA) and they married in 1956 and to this union, Linda Inez Walden was born in 1957. Prior to her daughter’s birth Lula and husband George enjoyed seeing their cousin the late Legendary baseball icon Jackie Robinson born in Cairo, GA play with Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbits Field in New York.
While in New York, Lula attended Julliard School of Music. She enjoyed singing solos in church and was a member of the New York Choral Society; performing at the Lincoln Center Performing
Arts and Carnegie Hall with her younger sister Opera star, Dr. Marie Hadley Robinson. Lula and George lived and worked in New York for 30 years and moved back to Thomasville, GA
area . She worked at Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville in Surgery as an Anesthesia Technician and Southwestern State Hospital and fully retired in 2009. Afterwards she was thrilled
to become the Office Manager of her daughter’s Cairo Family Medical Center, Inc., a private Family Practice for 6 years with her daughter.
Linda Walden, MD Family Physician was the first female physician Black or White to start Private medical practice in Cairo, GA in 1996. Her daughter Dr. Walden also was the first African
American Chief of staff at Grady General Hospital in Cairo in 1999 breaking color barriers. Dr. Walden was also responsible for bringing recognition of her late cousin Legendary Jackie
Robinson in the State of Georgia. He was born in Cairo, GA. Lula supported and worked with her daughter, inspiring her to make a difference in her community. Dr. Walden was also responsible
for renaming GA State Hwy 93, the Jackie Robinson Memorial Parkway, which she was given the opportunity to rename and for the first time she had the former Governor Zell Miller to speak
at a Hwy Dedication ceremony she organized for the City/County. Dr. Walden is responsible for getting a Georgia State Historical Marker erected with the help of late US Senator Max Cleland;
marking the birthplace of Jackie Robinson after Jackie’s brother her Uncle Mack Matthew Robinson and Aunt Delano inform her where he was born.. Uncle Mack was both Linda’s cousin
on her father’s George side of family, and Uncle after he married her mother’s sister Delano. Uncle Mack made history in the 1936 Berlin Olympics when he won the US Silver Olympic medal and
Jesse Owens won the US Gold Medal in Track and Field. Linda wanted the world to know where Jackie Robinson’s humble beginnings started and that greatness comes from rural small towns
and Youth should always be proud of where they come from. Her mother Lula and father George supported her in everyway!!!
About 20 years ago Lula join Catholic denomination starting at the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Thomasville, GA and later join Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Tallahassee, FL where she attended Mass. Her life has been blessed with a loving family, her children and a daughter-in- Law ,Audrey Gayles McGriff and 2 wonderful Grandchildren Jamie Lynn McGriff and James Thomas McGriff, II. Her granddaughter, Jamie Lynn became the first African American News Anchor hired just a few years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah for KUTV. Lula has enjoyed her life one day at a time. She enjoys her family and friends, cooking country meals and giving God thanks for all of his Blessings!!
Mom’s love was unconditional and she loved her family and friends. She was truly a Phenomenal and Virtuous Women of Grace and Dignity. I thanked God not only for her duration of life but
her donation to it. Not how long she lived, but how she lived. Her work on this earth was of eternal value and because of that she will have an eternal reward! She has reached the ultimate destination of the Universe. She has departed, but God says She has now Arrived!! Ring out the Welcome and Swing Wide the Gates!!! Mom is now with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! Mom, We will love You Forevermore!!!!!!
Lovingly her daughter, Linda I. Walden, M.D, FAAFP