By: Tennessee State University

Harriet Louise Johnson Pippin, who was the oldest living former Miss Tennessee State University, and 30-year Memphis area educator, has died at age 96. Pippin was described as a sweetheart, as she was born on Valentine’s Day. She died on June 10 in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Pippin was Miss TSU in 1946-47 and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

Her career as an educator with Memphis City Schools, included Booker T. Washington High School and Georgia Avenue Elementary, retiring 31 years later. She loved her family and had a passion for traveling and serving Christ as a member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Memphis for over 70 years, according to her obituary. 

Barbara Murrell, former Miss TSU, who won the crown 13 years after Pippin, said she was “a determined, extraordinaire queen.” 

“She will be remembered for her warm and caring personality, inspiration provided to other queens at our Annual Teas, and dedication to serve as a role model for all of us who respected and loved her dearly,” said Murrell, who was a senior administrator at TSU for many years. She noted that Pippin’s poise as a queen exuded dignity and determination. 

The Ashland, Kentucky native married William Pippin just a year before graduating from TSU. The pair had four children and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. 

Pippin’s family expressed their sentiments in her obituary by writing, “We will miss her tremendously, yet her legacy will continue to live in each of us.”