Meet Elvis Presley’s Grandma, Minnie Mae

Most folks have a grandmother. Elvis had “Dodger.”

Sunday, September 13 is Grandparents’ Day, and to celebrate we’re getting to know Minnie Mae Presley, Elvis’ paternal grandmother, whom he affectionately called “Dodger.”

Minnie Mae Hood Presley was Vernon Presley's mother and Elvis' grandmother.

Minnie Mae Hood Presley was Vernon Presley’s mother and Elvis’ grandmother.

Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in Lee County. His family tree traces both east and west of the All America City. His parents came from the the two counties that surround Lee County: His mother’s family is from Pontotoc County, which is to the west of Lee County, and his father’s family is from Itawamba County, which to to the east.

The Hoods came to Itawamba County from Alabama in the 1830s, and one Hood family member, Joshua, built a log cabin there. It’s believed Minnie Mae Hood was born there on June 17, 1890, to Mary Louisa and William H. “Buck” Hood. A portion of that log cabin still stands, and there are many Hood relatives still living in the area.

Minnie Mae, center, serves her son, Vernon, and her grandson, Elvis, who at the time was both a superstar and a member of the U.S. Army.

Minnie Mae, center, serves her son, Vernon, and her grandson, Elvis, who at the time was both a superstar and a member of the U.S. Army, in Germany.

Minnie Mae married Jessie D. McDowell Presley on July 20, 1913. The couple welcomed their first child, Vernon Presley, on April 10, 1916. The couple went on to have four more children: Vester, Delta Mae, Gladys Erlene Dowling, and Rev. Nashval Lorene Pritchett (Presley). Minnie Mae and Jessie’s marriage slowly declined and the couple unofficially separated; she moved in with her son, Vernon, his wife, Gladys, and son, Elvis. She moved with them when they moved from Tupelo to Memphis, and Minnie Mae and her husband officially divorced in 1954.

Minnie Mae enjoys a meal at Graceland.

Minnie Mae enjoys a meal at Graceland.

Minnie Mae lived with Elvis and his parents at all of their homes in Memphis, including Graceland. She even traveled to Germany with Elvis while he was stationed there. Elvis, always the family man, loved having his relatives so close. Others called her “Grandma,” but Elvis nicknamed her “Dodger.” No matter what life threw her way, she always came through it in the end.

Minnie Mae, Elvis, Vernon and Gladys Presley are all buried at the Meditation Garden at Graceland.

Minnie Mae, Elvis, Vernon and Gladys Presley are all buried at the Meditation Garden at Graceland.

Minnie Mae died on May 8, 1980, in Memphis. She is buried at the Meditation Garden at Graceland near her son, Vernon, daughter-in-law Gladys, and her grandson, Elvis.

In the mornings, visitors can walk up to visit the Meditation Garden at Graceland for free. Check Graceland.com for more information and how to book your visit to experience the the king’s castle.


25 Comments

  1. Elivs loved his family so much.

  2. I love learning about elvis’s family tree …my grandchildren and I love listening to his music and our favorite movie is viva las vegas. ..hope to visit graceland soon. .Pricilla is doing a great job …

  3. Carolyn Talton

    Loved reading this.

  4. Barbara Lezcano

    Love these stories. Love all the new and exciting things you are doing
    around this area. Our last visit was in 2009. Looking forward to our next visit and all the new renovations. God bless the family and all who take care of this legacy. Have a wonderful day!

  5. Jeanne Forgues

    Hi I’m from Gatineau Quebec in Canada. I was lucky to win a SAFE trip from my work in 2010. My first real vacation since 1977 when we got married. I always wanted to go see Elvis, but never had the money. We made it to Graceland in 12011 in April. It was the best time of my life and worth every penny. I plan to go back some day. Thank you for letting the world share this experience.
    Jeanne

  6. Barbara Lezcano

    Love all these stories. Love all the new renovations coming. Thanks for taking care of his legacy and god bless the family and all who take care of Graceland.
    Have a wonderful day!

  7. Sherrie Curtis

    Too bad she never looked happy.

  8. Maxine Graybill

    TYVM for these pictures of Grandma ‘ Doger’ – and the article as well.

  9. Lindsay Weaver

    It looks like the picture with the “Mother” pin is reversed. The pin is turned around and her hair is parted on a different side from the other pictures.

  10. Simples e bonita

  11. Jerricogar

    Very nice to see this.

  12. Barbara Arlen

    she really started it all,she gave birth to Vernon and he married Gladys and she gave birth to Elvis and the rest is history.

  13. Joyce Tippett

    Love anything I can read of Elvis family.

  14. Did Minnie ever get to see Elvis in concert?

  15. Our apologies for the mistake. It was a simple mistake, and it’s been corrected.

  16. mary ware

    hi love this story of elvis grandmother love hearing any thing about elvis

  17. anthonyluizza

    love to hear anything about Elvis and his family.

  18. anthony Luizza

    He was a good man who took care of family and friends, and many times people he didn’t even know.

  19. Yvonne Hart

    I love to read anything to do with Elvis his family and his life. Elvis always took good care of his family and friends. I traveled from England to visit to Graceland in January I loved it so much, it was a dream come true. So many wonderful things to see and what a thrill to walk through Elvis front door and walk around the house he loved and called home. Thanks to all who take care of everything Elvis he will never be forgotten by his millions of fans around the world
    Love Elvis loved Graceland XXX

  20. tom hood

    Just looked her family tree up same last name as me.

  21. Elvis family reminds of my own family, besides all the success Elvis had they never changed, being humble was his greatest gift!

  22. Michael Mchale

    I did see Minne Mae…in 1980…i was visiting Elvis grave at Graceland….I could see an elderly woman sitting at the back door , watching all the visitors…I did ask the guide who she was ….He did say Elvis’s grandmother…I thought that was a rare moment to have that privilege …. I waved and she waved back through the screen door..I seen she had died the same year 1980..Yes we do miss him…He had a happy spirit..which we all fed off of….

  23. Haley Smith

    I am related to Elvis and I found out on Ancestry.com. Are you? If you are then we are related!

  24. Dewain Ira Martin

    I was celebrating my birthday at Carthage at my wife folks. August 16 1977. I was outside my wife told me Elvis passed away.. I felt like heaven came down all around me.five words You are kin to Elvis. I told my wife about it. How are we going to find out how i’m kin. In 2015 i found out .My grandmother Amanda Hood Elvis grandmother Minnie Hood are cousins.ELVIS WAS A GIFT FROM GOD FOR THE WORLD TO ENJOY.

  25. James R. Land

    I went to Milton Tennessee in May of 1980, Two of my ship mate’s went to Graceland about that time. Elvis Uncle Vester met us at the gate. He spoke very kindly to us. He looked like the life had been sucked out of him. He was very nice. He invited us to walk up the drive way to visit Elvis’s grave. He asked us not to walk by the house because family members still lived there. I don’t know the date so I’m not sure if Vester’s mother was still living. I feel a personal connection with Elvis and his family because of that experience. His Uncle was just like someone I new all my life. You could not emagine his hospitality unless you were there. God Bless the Presley family.

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