Myrtle Pollard of Westbury: 'She was always a teacher'
Longtime teacher Myrtle Pollard of Westbury had been retired for more than 17 years when she passed away on March 28 at age 80 due to complications from COVID-19, according to her family.
But the time away from her professional life — most of it spent at PS 181 in Flatbush, Brooklyn — didn’t stop more than 1,000 individuals from virtually reaching out to express condolences to her family.
A post on the United Federation of Teachers Facebook page about a month after Pollard’s death has more than 1,100 interactions recorded, from "likes" to crying face emoji to messages of support for the family.
Pollard was a respected 30-year teacher from a family of teachers. It’s no wonder there was such an outpouring of support.
"I was surprised to hear from people from her old school," said her daughter, Denise Pollard-Manigault of Smyrna, Georgia. "She had been retired a long time. Whether they knew her or not, they reached out."
Pollard-Manigault is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing science who taught at Adelphi and Pace universities.
Another daughter, Pamela Pollard-Mims of Brooklyn, is a teacher at PS 251 in Flatlands, Brooklyn.
"My father, the late Willis Pollard, and my aunts all worked as teachers for the New York City Department of Education," Pollard-Mims said in a story about her mother on the UFT Honors website.
"She was caring," Pollard-Manigault said. "Education was really important to her. She was always a teacher."
Pollard was an active member of United Methodist Church of Westbury. About 20 years ago, "she was instrumental in starting a college fund at her church — getting scholarship money for children," Pamela Pollard-Mims said. "That was big for her."
Myrtle Pollard was born in McClellanville, South Carolina, on July 22, 1939. She did her undergraduate work at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and, after relocating to New York in 1960, completed her master’s degree at City College. She moved to Westbury in 1978.
Pollard was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority for more than 60 years. She sewed decorative pillows and cooked Southern cuisine and was beloved by her two granddaughters, Ivie Mims of Brooklyn and Madison Manigault of Smyrna, Georgia.
Pollard, one of nine children, is also survived by her sisters Candis Bugg of the Bronx and Carolyn Martin of Dix Hills, and her brother Henry Williamson of Elmsford.
A graveside service was held at Friends Cemetery in Westbury.