Elizabeth McCombsSeptember 6, 2017
THE LIFE AND SERVICE OF
ELIZABETH D. McCOMBS
Elizabeth McCombs, a Staten Island native, born March 6, 1931, to Ira and Mary Wideman, was the youngest of four daughters. Elizabeth departed this life on September 6, 2017. Her mother, Mary Wideman, a native of South Carolina, worked as a domestic. Her father, Ira Wideman, who was born in Virginia, worked as a baker and cook on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Mrs. McCombs was christened at The Shiloh A.M.E. Zion Church under the Late Presiding Pastor, Reverend Goodwin. She was a lifelong active member of Shiloh, following in the footsteps of her parents who were dedicated members of Shiloh. Her parents instilled in her a Christian way of life, which demanded respect, discipline and obedience.
Betty’s (her mother’s pet name for her) childhood endeavors at Shiloh had been the foundation of her life’s work and her sense of community. It was there that she developed the motto “Always strive to be a willing worker”. Shiloh was where Betty taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, and chaired many church fundraisers. Betty’s actions can be summed from words in Deuteronomy 15:8, “but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” Betty lived, “You must practice what you preach; just work to get the job done and not for recognition.” Betty’s résumé will be associated with church, civic, political and non-profit organizations throughout Staten Island.
Always “the willing worker,” Betty adhered to her parent’s advice, ““My parents taught me that you have to work hard and get involved, especially if you want to see changes come around.” Putting action to words, since her teens Betty was active in the NAACP: she was a “golden” lifetime member of the national organization, served as vice-president for the Staten Island Chapter NAACP, served as vice-president of the board, was chair of numerous chapter committees, and was the chapter delegate to state and national conventions. Betty implemented the NAACP’s William A. Morris Humanitarian Awards Program and Luncheon in 1998 and was the principal fund-raiser for the Staten Island branch of the NAACP. As a testimony to her work with the NAACP, Betty was the very recipient of the Morris Award, a certificate of recognition that she helped to create. A champion of human rights and public service, Betty was a life member of the National Council of Negro Women and was active in the Staten Island branch of the New York Urban League where she served on the advisory council. She was its principal fund-raiser and chaired the annual Mills G. Skinner Awards Luncheon. She was a member of the Staten Island League for Better Government and the 120th Precinct Community Council for more than a decade
After 38 years of service, in 1992, Betty retired from the New York Telephone Company, but she remained active in the company’s volunteer program, The Verizon Pioneers, finding time to visit residents of the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Home where she played Bingo and provided companionship to the seniors. Betty assisted the Visiting Nurses Association with its annual flu shot program for seniors and helped organizers of the March of Dimes’ annual Walk America.
Betty’s acclaim from numerous public and civil service organizations and groups is evident by the numerous awards and citations she received in her lifetime. Yet, if anyone who knew Betty’s true passion, it was her notable collection of dolls. She collected artwork and figurines of clowns, owned a collection of several hundred pin buttons from political campaigns, concerts, Broadway shows and sporting events, organized and pinned by category on a large banner that hung from one wall of her sitting room. Betty donated 100 Black dolls from the 19th, 20th, and 21st Century to the Sandy Ground Historical Society for the museum to sell to help defray the operating expenses of the museum.
Elizabeth Delores Mc Combs was predeceased by her husband, Calvin Mc Combs, of Richmond, Virginia, her daughter, Rosalind Mc Combs of Atlanta, Georgia, three sisters, Geraldine Metoyer of New Rochelle, New York, Catherine King of Detroit, Michigan and Josie Anna Mason of Charles City, Virginia. Elizabeth leaves to cherish her memories, her beloved son Russell Calvin McCombs (Mary) of Oakridge, Tennessee, Kenya Munnerlyn and children of her son Russell, Latiece, Devon and Destiny Munnerlyn, her closest friend and Sister-in-Law, Thelma Mc Combs-Yarbrough, her godchildren Carol Edmond, Gayla Marsh and a host of relatives and friends.
Betty has gone the last mile of the way and in her wake, her close friends and family will have wonderful memories to share.