Emma H. Pendergrass, a devoted mother and sister, an outstanding attorney, inspirational educator, a consummate travel agent, leader, and friend to many, passed on July 17, 2022 in Oakland, California.
Born in Orangeburg, S.C., on June 1, 1928, Emma spent her formative years in South Carolina. She later lived in Washington, D.C., where she graduated from high school and college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Howard University. She also earned both a master’s and Ph.D. in Education.
Emma was a high school chemistry teacher and counselor in her early career, but an interest in law led her to attend law school at night. After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam on her first attempt, she established a successful law practice in Oakland, California, specializing in Family and Probate Law.
She was an active participant in various bar associations and held leadership positions in the National Bar Association, Charles Houston Bar Association, California Association of Black Lawyers, Wiley Manuel Law Foundation, and Alameda County Bar Association. She received numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding service in the law.
She applied her incomparable leadership skills to numerous social organizations, including Delta Signa Theta Sorority where she was a member for over 50 years; The Links, Incorporated; The Carrousels, Incorporated; and C’est La Vie.
A love of travel led Emma to establish Emma H. Pendergrass Travel Agency in 2009. She organized numerous cruises and trips to worldwide destinations for colleagues and friends through 2020.
Emma was a role model of excellence, determination, and courage. She lived her life with a spirit of kindness that touched all who knew her. Rejoicing in her life are her two sons, Bailey III and Gary Pendergrass, seven siblings, a host of other family members, and many dear friends.
A celebration of Emma’s life will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., preceded by a viewing from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., at Allen Temple Baptist Church, 8501 International Blvd, Oakland, CA. Masks are required.
There will be a viewing on Wednesday, August 3 from 11:00a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home, 3665 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA. Emma will be interred in Orangeburg, S.C.
The Emma Pendergrass Memorial Scholarship has been established by the Charles Houston Bar Association. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made payable to Charles Houston Bar Institute, P.O. Box 1474, Oakland, California 94604 or online at [email protected] Please state the contribution is for the Emma Pendergrass Memorial Scholarship.
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