Known for her no-nonsense hairstyle -- a neat bun wound tightly without a strand out of place -- educator Hazel Brandon-Palmore was the quintessential role model for the legions of students she taught for more than three decades, her family and friends say.
Brandon-Palmore, an educator and districtwide administrator for the Malverne school district, died Tuesday after a battle with multiple myeloma, a progressive cancer of the blood. She was 67 and had lived in Amityville.
"People would come to her for everything. She was the ultimate party planner, consummate friend, the quintessential stylish woman," said daughter, Heather Palmore, a Garden City lawyer.
"When she walked into a room, you couldn't help but be drawn to her because of her infectious smile and warm spirit," Palmore said.
From the perspective of a daughter who saw her mom as larger than life, Palmore speaks in awe of a woman who had numerous responsibilities and was able to be effective in all.
"She set the bar very high and was able to balance work, motherhood and community service," Palmore said.
Brandon-Palmore began her career as a teacher in Roosevelt in the 1970s before moving on to the Malverne schools, where she rose to the rank of administrator. For many years, she taught business classes in the high school she had attended as a teenager.
Her daughter said many past students have commented how grateful they were to have learned typing skills from such a knowledgeable teacher.
In addition to her career, Brandon-Palmore was an officer in the Links Inc., one of the oldest national African-American service organizations in the country.
But Palmore points out that her mother was also considered a medical miracle by her doctors for having successfully fought an aggressive form of ovarian cancer at age 35. Her family was later found to carry the BRCA 2 gene, which predisposes carriers to the cancer.
She met her second bout with cancer three decades later with the same fighting spirit, Palmore said, noting: "Obviously she lost her battle to multiple myeloma but she never wavered."
Hazel Brandon-Palmore was born Jan. 6, 1946, in Brooklyn. Her family was among the first African-Americans to move to Long Island in the 1950s as postwar suburbia expanded.
She later graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore where she obtained her undergraduate degree, and New York University where she received a master's.
Brandon-Palmore and her former husband Harvey, raised three children.
The entire family had first names that began with the letter H.
"We were known as the HP family," Heather Palmore said.
Besides Heather, she is survived by another daughter, Helisse of Wyandanch; son Hayward of High Point, N.C.; sisters Deborah Santiago of West Hempstead and Elizabeth Milton of Brooklyn; brother James Grimes of Stone Mountain, Ga.; and three grandchildren.
A wake will be Monday 3-8 p.m. in The Greater Allen AME Cathedral, 110-31 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, Queens. The funeral, also in the cathedral, is Tuesday at 10 a.m., with interment at Pinelawn Memorial Park.