Lillian Beatrice Scott, a passionate civil rights activist and a matriarch to her community, Amityville, died Oct. 28 of complications from liver cancer. She was 93.
A champion of the young and the poor, Scott became an integral part of the Central Long Island branch of the NAACP when she moved to Amityville in 1951. She fought segregation of local elementary schools and picketed businesses as she called on them to admit black clients. But those who knew her work say her crowning achievement was working on the hard-fought campaign to clean up a notorious, drug-infested corner in North Amityville.
"She was a warrior for civil rights and human rights," said Myrna Taylor of Amityville, a former NAACP chapter president.
Scott was born in Baltimore in 1916. When she was 16 her mother died, and her father died eight months later, leaving Scott to raise her three younger siblings, according to family members.
She worked as a domestic worker and later a riveter for the former Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Co.
She married Harry Pendleton in the 1940s, and the couple had two children, said her daughter, Lillian Joan Miller, 74, of Amityville.
By day Scott worked as a nurse, first at Brunswick Hospital and then at Pilgrim State Hospital, where she remained for 30 years, according to family members. She later worked for then-Suffolk County Executive Patrick Halpin doing constituent services, and as a receptionist for the Babylon Industrial Development Agency, family members said.
In her free time Scott poured her energy into community activism and the Hollywood Baptist Church in Amityville. "She was one of the pillars of the congregation," said Bishop Andy C. Lewter.
She was known as "Mama Lillian" to many in the community, always there for the young and the old, said Gwendolyn Brown, president of the Central Long Island NAACP. "She was part of the old group that was out here," said Brown.
Relatives said Scott was a masterful cook who could recite poems by heart, a woman who didn't mince words but was always there with a helping hand or an encouraging word. "She a no-nonsense, vibrant, loving, compassionate woman," said her grandson, Donald Pendleton Jr., 57, of Staten Island.
Besides her daughter and grandson, Scott leaves a son, Donald Pendleton of Atlanta; three other grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. A funeral was held Saturday at Hollywood Baptist Church, followed by a burial at Pinelawn Memorial Cemetery in Farmingdale.