Friday, July 23, 2010

Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod: RIP

On Monday, July 19, 2010, my mother, Eleanor Ruth Prescod, died and joined the church triumphant.

As my mother's caregiver the last six years, I have gained insight in the mercy and care of God. My love for my mother and God has deepened as I learned to joyfully serve another and am comforted by our Lord's embrace of our suffering.

I solicit your prayers for the repose of her soul, and my family and community as we enter into a season of mourning.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Obituary for Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod:

Eleanor Ruth Pollard Prescod, 84, of Portland Oregon died on July 19, 2010 at the Marquis Care of Piedmont. At the time of her death she was the Matriarch of the Cobb Family, a large extended family that traces its lineage to former slaves Jane and Joseph Cobb of Nansemond County, Virginia.

Eleanor, affectionately called “Bootsy” by her close friends, was born in New York City to Willie and Eleanor (Banks) Pollard on April 29, 1926. She was the younger sister of Willie (Pollard) Stanford. She was educated in the New York City Public Schools. A member of a family involved in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, she followed her mother(a Cotton Club chorus member) and sister (an actress and model) into the entertainment business as a dancer. She was a member of various dance and band companies and toured the “chitlin' circuit” of the eastern and southern states. Her close friends included Billie Holliday and Lena Horne.

In the 1940's she met Cecil Agustus Prescod, and ignored his romantic overtures. Eventually she agreed to date him, the two fell in love and were married in October 1954. They made their home in Jamaica, New York where they raised their family. They met the challenges of providing for three children with sacrifice and dedication. They enjoyed family outings to the beach and amusement parks, summer vacation trips, barbecues, and holiday gatherings. Eleanor adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Eleanor was known as the stern mother by the children of the block. She could be found sitting on her stoop, watching everything go by. You couldn't get anything past Mrs. Prescod, or “Gran” as she was affectionately known.

Eleanor was a dedicated wife, mother, and concerned citizen. Raised in a family committed to struggling for civil rights, she was active in school, community, and church events.

In 1968 she helped organize a parents' committee in favor of integration, when white citizens picketed her child's and other children school buses in an attempt to prevent the integration of a previously all white public school. This coalition of black and white parents advocated for social justice for their children.

A life long baseball fan, her heart was broken when the Brooklyn Dodgers left the city, and she became a devoted and often disappointed New York Mets fan. She fell in love with the Portland Trailblazers in the early 1990s. She was a ferocious reader, informed citizen about politics, and dedicated advocate for justice.

Her faith in God who sustained people in good and difficult times was central in her life. She was a long time communicant member of St. Albans Congregational Church in St. Albans, New York. At that church she was a member of the Bayanihans Club and a faithful worshiper at the early Sunday morning service.

In 2005, after her beloved husband died, Eleanor moved to join her son in Portland Oregon. In 2008, her family surprised her with a Family Reunion in Portland. The family recalled how her great grandparents, Joseph and Jane Cobb, survived slavery and created a strong and nurturing family, and honored her as the family's matriarch.

In Portland,Eleanor attended Ainsworth United Church of Christ. At that community she met a wonderful group of friends. Eleanor celebrated the church's commitment to spirituality and social justice. She enjoyed Pastor Lynne's sermons, listening to the choir, Adult Sunday morning discussion group (Early Edition), and Ministry With Older Adults' retreats and trips.

Eleanor is survived by her children: Cecil, LaVerne Paniagua,and Denise Slater; son in law, John Bruce. Grandchildren: William H. Turnage III, Emery Lewis Slater, Jr., Nikole Eleanor Prescod, Nathaniel Christopher Bruce; Great grandchildren: Jaylen Michael Lewis, Tai Jarrett Turnage, Isabel Cruz, Tatiana Faith Slater, and Emery Lewis Slater III; her niece Roberta Ricks, great niece Nyia Miller, great great nephews, David Miller, Sean Miller, great great niece, Rachel Simone Miller; a host of cousins, life time friends and new friends she met in Portland.

Eleanor, who cousin reminded her a few days before she died, “we come from a long line of strong stubborn broads”, will be missed and forever loved.

Memorial Services will be held on:

Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM Ainsworth United Church of Christ. 2941 NE Ainsworth. Portland, OR. The Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Pastor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 7:00 PM at Bethany Baptist Church. 157-11 111th Avenue. Jamaica, NY. The Rev. Craig Scott Brown, Pastor.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post Cecil. I enjoyed reading the story of your mother's life. She certainly had an interesting and full one. How much fun she must have had performing and spending time with Billie Holliday and Lena Horne! She was blessed to have such a large and loving family and blessed to have you as a son.