Jeannette Gadson, who went from serving on a community board to becoming Brooklyn’s first black woman deputy borough president, died on Tuesday. She was 61 years old.
Gadson was Howard Golden’s number two from 1993 to 2001, and then ran for the top job against Marty Markowitz, losing to him by 12,000 votes.
This week, Markowitz praised Gadson as a woman “who served her community so vigorously, gave passionate voice to the concerns of so many Brooklynites, and contributed her boundless energy to spurring the renaissance that has continued to transform our borough.”
Gadson had been active in politics long before running for her old boss’s job. She was an Assemblywoman and district manager of Community Board 16 in Brownsville.
During her tenure as deputy Beep, she worked to increase affordable housing.
“We shared a mutual respect that continued long past the campaign,” said Markowitz, “and I sincerely believe that Brooklyn would have been in good hands regardless of who won.”
She spearheaded the Brooklyn 2000 Census Task Force and in 2004, she was appointed as a Board of Elections commissioner, which she remained until her death.
In a statement, Golden described her as a “wonderful public servant and a great friend.”
Gadson was also an active and important member of her church, and was a life member of Church Women United, a group run by Ophelia Perry, Markowitz’s liaison to the church community.
“She was sensational,” said Perry. “I loved her very much. She was so compassionate and she was always willing to help anyone who came to her office. She never turned anyone away.”
There will be a wake on Sunday from 1 to 9 pm at the House of Hills, 1000 St. Johns Pl. Gadson’s funeral will be on Monday at noon at Wayside Baptist Church, at 1746 Broadway, between Cooper and Chauncey streets.
©2007 Community News Group
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