BRADENTON — Caring. Involved. Tireless.
Community activist Berniece Scott was all those things and more to those who knew her.
“She was always on the go,” said daughter Monica Scott, in Minneapolis, Minn.
“Very willing to help anyone anytime any way she could,” said Lynette Edwards, an assistant superintendent for Manatee County Schools.
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“She touched everyone in this community,” said School Board member Barbara Harvey.
A community that mourns Ms. Scott’s passing last Saturday after a prolonged illness.
She was 84.
“If not for people like her, many people wouldn’t have a voice,” said retiring School Board member Walter Miller.
Ms. Scott was born in Bradenton, then left for New York City in the 1940s as a teenager to pursue her dreams.
She went onto become a registered nurse and an Air Force lieutenant, one of the first African-American women to do, said her family.
Ms. Scott earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at New York University, adopted two little girls, and spent 34 years in public health, first with the City of New York and then as an administrator with the State of New York. She also became a Realtor.
“Education was the biggest thing with her and helping others reach their dreams,” said daughter Adrienne Scott.
Which is what Ms. Scott did after returning to Bradenton 40 years later.
“When she retired, she could’ve just enjoyed her golden years,” said Wenston DeSue, the Bradenton Housing Authority executive director. “But she redirected her energies to her community.”
Among the organizations and roles she served were:
n Bradenton Housing Authority board member.
n Civil Service Advisory Board.
n Core Team District Strategy Plan/ADVANTAGE.
n Manatee County NAACP education committee chair.
n Manatee County Community Action Team.
n Manatee County Children’s Services Board.
“When it comes to community service, some are in it for self-aggrandizement, but you could tell Berniece was invaluable and had a genuine interest in the goals of the organization,” said State Rep. Bill Galvano.
Ms. Scott helped get Haile Middle School named after former Lincoln Memorial High Principal Carlos Haile.
She was also instrumental in the building of Rogers Garden Elementary School.
“One of her passions was getting an elementary school in the inner city,” said community activist Raphael Allen.
“Our kids have been bused for years and that needed to be corrected. She helped make it a reality.”
In addition to her daughters, Ms. Scott is survived by brother Albert (George) Robinson Jr., and granddaughter Kira Scott-Harris.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Westside Funeral Home, 204 Seventh St. W., Palmetto.
A viewing is 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The funeral service is noon Saturday at Rogers Memorial United Methodist Church, 1100 15 St. E., Bradenton.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.