Connect with us

Obituary

Maxwell Claude Gillette, 92

Published

on

Maxwell Claude Gillette, age 93, died Dec. 10, 2020, at Sutter Health Hospital, Van Ness Campus, where he was being treated for lung cancer.

Born in Des Arc, Arkansas on March 2, 1927, Maxwell was the youngest of 12 children.

In 1943, his parents, Charles and Emma Gillette moved to San Francisco from Chicago, bringing Maxwell and four of his sisters and brothers (Gladys, Edythe, Roscoe, and  Harold) with them.  The children attended public school in San Francisco with Maxwell graduating from Lowell High School in 1945. After earning his BA and MA in Industrial Arts Education at San Francisco State College, he was hired by the San Francisco Unified School District as an Industrial Arts teacher and taught at Ben Franklin  School where he was one of its two Black instructors.

Studious, ambitious, and determined to give of his best, in 1971 he earned his Secondary School  Administrative credential from the University of San Francisco.  In 1984, he was appointed director of John Adams Adult School. He retired from the San Francisco Community College District in 1991.

Upon their arrival in San Francisco, the  Gillette family joined Bethel AME Church and Maxwell was an active participant, serving on the Junior Usher Board, the Chancel Choir, and other programs, eventually taking a trustee position, which he held for more than 60 years.  He was named Trustee Emeritus last year.

He was a member of the Victoria #3 Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, the African American Historical Society, the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and the Sigma Phi Phi fraternity. He was the recipient of several awards, including KQED’s “Local Hero” and “Man of the Year” by the SFBPW, Inc.

Maxwell is the last of the 12 Gillette siblings, four of whom died within the last two years.  His brothers Harold and  Roscoe died in July and  November of  2019; and sister Geraldine Earp was buried this Nov. 19, 2020.

He leaves to mourn his wife of 44 years, Frankie Jacobs Gillette, and numerous nieces and nephews throughout the Bay Area and the country.

Contact Bethel AME Church at admin@bethelamesf.org regarding A Virtual Celebration of Life  Service for Maxwell Gillette, which will be held Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Barbara Lee

IN MEMORIAM: Tribute to the Late Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James’ patience and foresight helped individuals to discern their calling to the ministry. Some became pastors because they were properly trained, tutored and mentored in the meaning of godly service to others.

Published

on

Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church

By Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor

Maya Angelou’s iconic poem “When Great Trees Fall” is a reminder of the impact that a person has on the lives of others during their lifetime.

Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church was called from labor to reward on April 20, 2022, leaving a huge void in the Bay Area after serving for 46 years as senior pastor. He was an honored senior statesman and distinguished iconic figure.

Pastor James joined the Beth Eden community in 1970 as an assistant pastor. A year later, he accepted the call to lead the congregation after the retirement of Pastor A.C. Dones. Dr. James became the 12th pastor of Beth Eden, also known as the “Mother Church” because it was the first Black Baptist church in Oakland and also a historic flagship church in Alameda County.

Dr. James was born in Dominica, West Indies. He immigrated to the United States in 1955, and later met his beautiful wife, the late Dr. Rosa V. Ferguson, in Ohio. She was a renowned educator in the Bay Area and formerly with the Progressive National Baptist Convention as noted by Dr. Vinchael Booth.

They remained married for 55 years until her death in 2017. They have one daughter, Jennifer Muhammad. Dr. James was a great soul. He was not only a pastor, he was an educator, author, community leader, justice warrior, humanitarian champion, voice for the voiceless, and a moving force for civil rights in the Bay Area.

Pastor James was a strong advocate for the role of women in church leadership positions. At one point, he was ousted from the California State Baptist Convention for his strong stance on women’s involvement in the ministry. He was later restored and continued to license and ordain numerous women in the clergy ministry.

Bay Area pastors looked up to Dr. James as a ‘pastor’s pastor’ and mentor. For him, life had endless possibilities. Dr. James had a reputation for keeping churches united. Under his leadership, Beth Eden maintained strong relationships with other churches and denominations including Taylor United Methodist, Bethlehem Lutheran and Antioch Missionary Baptist churches during the Thanksgiving season.

Dr. James was one of the rare persons who reached the summit of life because he believed in God’s word: “Thou Will be Done on Earth.” Doing God’s will on earth was about helping others along the way.

With the help of able-bodied members, Beth Eden built 54 senior housing units, purchased single-family housing and a triplex near the church for low-income families, fed the hungry, distributed groceries in the community.

Under his visionary leadership, a new family life center, with gymnasium and a daycare facility started construction and has been completed under the leadership of Dr. Dwight Webster, current pastor.

Dr. James showed a great appreciation for Black History, both from a religious as well as a cultural perspective. Beth Eden provided free office space to the first Black Adoption Agency in the Bay Area in its early days.

At one point, Beth Eden was named Oakland’s Teaching Church of the Year by the Berkeley School of Theology, formerly known as American Baptist Seminary of the West. Dr. James served on the seminary’s trustee board, was an adjunct professor at the seminary, bringing new ways of bridging theological training to the everyday lives of people.

Dr. James’ patience and foresight helped individuals to discern their calling to the ministry. Some became pastors because they were properly trained, tutored and mentored in the meaning of godly service to others. Dr. James authored “Through Toils and Snares-A Preacher Testifies.”

In this book, we get a glimpse of Dr. James’ life prior to his call to ministry at Beth Eden. Dr. James served two years in the military as Chaplain Assistant with numerous military attire photos. He was ordained in San Francisco at the Greater New St. John Missionary Baptist Church; one month later he and his wife were the key organizers of Grace Baptist Church, San Francisco. Drs. Gillette and Rosa James purchased a beautiful home on Havenscourt Boulevard, a tree-lined street in East Oakland where they loved entertaining the deacon and deaconess boards, often having them over for dinner and fellowship.

On March 13, 2017, Congresswoman Barbara Lee honored Dr. James in the House of Representatives on the occasion of his retirement as Pastor of Beth Eden. Dr. James legacy will never die. The current pastor, Rev. Dwight Webster, PhD, is a former son of Beth Eden, who was mentored by Dr. James.

The Homegoing celebration for Dr. James will be held Monday, May 16, 2022, at Beth Eden Baptist Church at 1183 Tenth St. in Oakland at 11 a.m.

COVID protocols will be observed and everyone must wear a mask.

Continue Reading

Black History

IN MEMORIAM: A Passion-Driven Life — Remembering Educator Brenda Harris (Dec. 1951 – March 2022)

“I had the honor of knowing Brenda for over 35 years, dating back to when she was a senior advisor at the California Department of Education. She was an extraordinary individual, an expert policymaker in the field of education and a fearless civil rights advocate,” said Dotson Wilson, former chief clerk and parliamentarian of the California Assembly.

Published

on

Brenda Harris. Image courtesy of Leo T. McCarthy Center.
Brenda Harris. Image courtesy of Leo T. McCarthy Center.

By Tanu Henry, California Black Media

Like her devotion to her Catholic faith, Brenda Harris’ willingness to help others, especially disadvantaged people, was consistent and rare, authentic in a way that drew everyone to her, friends and loved ones say.

On March 5, Harris, an outspoken advocate and civil servant who influenced state education policy, died after a brief illness. She was 71.

“I had the honor of knowing Brenda for over 35 years, dating back to when she was a senior advisor at the California Department of Education. She was an extraordinary individual, an expert policymaker in the field of education and a fearless civil rights advocate,” said Dotson Wilson, former chief clerk and parliamentarian of the California Assembly.

“Whether she was speaking to aspiring young students, academicians or elected officials, Brenda remained steadfast in her goal to implement sound education policy,” Wilson continued. “I consider it an honor to have known her as a colleague and friend.”

Wilson, who was the longest-serving African American in the State Assembly, retired in 2019 after 26 years.

Before becoming an Education Program Consultant at the California Department of Education, an advisor to the California State Board of Education and a professor at Sacramento State University, Harris was an elementary, middle and high school teacher in San Francisco.

Harris, who was a resident of Sacramento when she passed away, tutored students and taught classes at several after-school programs and community learning centers in Sacramento and the Bay Area.

When Harris was a teenager, her family moved to Marysville, a Yuba County town about 50 miles north of San Francisco. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Gonzaga University in the state of Washington. Later, she transferred to the University of San Francisco (USF) in 1971, where she majored in Communications and Sociology.

“She looked up to her parents as role models, both of whom were active participants in the Civil Rights Movement and had participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the mid-1950s,” said Jack Weinrieb and Meghan Grant, two San Francisco educators who wrote a biography of Harris.

“Harris would listen to her parents discuss the inhumanity of racism, injustice, and discrimination and quickly learned about the importance of doing her part in social movements,” Weinreib and Grant continued. “Harris recalls that her mother instilled an understanding that underprivileged populations have similar struggles, no matter their race.”

While she was a student at USF, Harris became close to other Black students and participated in several social and political activities on campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

She worked in USF’s financial aid office and with the school’s Drama department. And she volunteered, lending her time to community organizations serving several disadvantaged city districts with large Black populations, including the Western Addition, Bayview–Hunters Point, Haight-Ashbury and the Fillmore.

Daniel Hahn, Sacramento’s first Black chief of police — who served from 2017 until the end of last year — said he was always impressed by how many people Harris knew and how committed she was to helping others.

“She was extremely engaged in making tomorrow better for all people,” he said. “She was constantly introducing me to people in the city and she was always encouraging me to carry out the things I believed in. She wasn’t just talk. She always followed through with her actions.”

Harris attended St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Sacramento and taught classes at the church’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

“Gratitude is at the core of my existence. Ignatian Spirituality made me a global citizen. Living at this moment in world history, I am to share Ignatian Spirituality with a diverse ecumenical group globally,” Harris said in a statement on the center’s website.

Regina Wilson, executive director of California Black Media, said Harris loved the Black press.

“She always wanted to know what was happening in Black communities,” Wilson said. “She was a faithful supporter of Black-owned news outlets across the state.”

“For her, it was more than just representation. It was about informing people, educating people and improving lives,” Wilson said.

A memorial Mass for Harris will be held at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Sacramento at 10 a.m. on April l8, 2022.

Continue Reading

Black History

IN MEMORIAM: Wilfred Cyprian Harvey, 88

Wilfred Cyprian Harvey’s membership in various organizations included: Charter member of Oak Center Neighborhood Association; charter member of CITIES – Black Telephone Workers; president of Oakland Better Housing; former member of the Knights of St. Peter Claver, Council #95; board member of St. Patrick’s Senior Satellite Housing Association; and San Francisco-Bay Area Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Published

on

Wilfred Cyprian Harvey
Wilfred Cyprian Harvey

Wilfred Cyprian Harvey was born May 29, 1933, in Washington, D.C., and passed away in Oakland on Jan. 14, 2022.

He was the second son to the union of Cecilia Beatrice Fenwick and Emory Augustus Harvey. He attended Dunbar High School.

He joined the United States Navy and served as an electronics technician during the Korean War on an aircraft carrier.

In 1955, Harvey returned to the states to marry his bride, Virginia, “Ginny” Bell Parkinson. They were blessed with a son, Patrick Wilfred Harvey, now known as Imhotep Elijah Alkebulan, and a daughter, Nancy Elizabeth Harvey.

Harvey was hired by the Pacific Bell Telephone Company and became the first African American to hold the position of Chief Equipment Manager. He also became the first Affirmative Action manager where he made his mark by helping other minorities.

Harvey and his wife often spearheaded causes to protect and preserve their Oak Center neighborhood. He was instrumental in saving the West Oakland Fire Station No. 3.

After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, Harvey was a member of the Citizens Emergency Relief Team (CERT), which fought to reroute and align the double-decker freeway to make a pathway for the Mandela Parkway.

His membership in various organizations included: Charter member of Oak Center Neighborhood Association; charter member of CITIES – Black Telephone Workers; president of Oakland Better Housing; former member of the Knights of St. Peter Claver, Council #95; board member of St. Patrick’s Senior Satellite Housing Association; and San Francisco-Bay Area Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Harvey was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, of 42 years, his parents, and older brother, Paul. He leaves to celebrate his life, his son Minister Imhotep Alkebulan and his wife, Doris; daughter, Nancy Harvey; five grandchildren, Zakiya Mackey, Shakir Mackey, Chinasa Mackey, Rahotep Alkebulan, M.D., and Kaba Alkebulan; sister, Audrey Archer; brother, Ronald Harvey; niece, Shelley Archer Barron, and her husband Trent Barron and a host of other relatives, godchildren, church family, and friends.

Will Harvey’s children have announced the following services: Rosary and Quiet Hour on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes at 4499 Piedmont Ave; a funeral Mass on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at 1023 Peralta St.; interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery at 5000 Piedmont Ave. all in Oakland. The repast will be at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Dr. Noha Aboelata of ROOTS and Dr. Tony Jackson of Pranamind and President of the Bay Area Association of Black Psychologists.
Activism1 month ago

Oakland Frontline Healers Launches Black Mental Health Initiative

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Walkaround 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo AWD Sedan w/Premium Plus Package POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Asian Automotive Philosophy AutoNetwork Reports Black History Month

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab AT4 HD | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto [Car] Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 351

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews Live Auto Car Talk Show AutoNetwork Reports 351

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Subaru BRZ Limited Sport Coupe | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Mazda CX 30 2.5 Turbo AWD | Subcompact SUV

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Toyota Corolla SE | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto [Car] Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 350

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto Car Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 350

#NNPA BlackPress8 months ago

NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

#NNPA BlackPress2 years ago

‘You Know Who to Vote For’ Martin Luther King’s Voting Message 56 Years Ago Today

Entertainment2 years ago

Music Spotlight with LaToya London

#NNPA BlackPress2 years ago

#FIYAH! LIVESTREAM — U.S. Surgeon General: ‘The Debate is Over — We All Should Be Wearing Face Coverings to Prevent Spread of COVID-19’

Trending