Emma H. Pendergrass, a devoted mother and sister, outstanding advocate, inspiring educator, consummate travel agent, leader and friend to many, passed away on July 17, 2022 in Oakland, California.
Born in Orangeburg, SC, on June 1, 1928, Emma spent her formative years in South Carolina. She later lived in Washington, DC, where she graduated from high school and college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Howard University. She also earned a master’s and Ph.D. in Education.
Emma was a chemistry teacher and high school counselor in her early career, but an interest in the 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, the Charles Houston Bar Association, the California Black Bar Association, the Wiley Manuel Legal Foundation, and the Alameda County Bar Association. She received numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding service to the judiciary.
She applied her unmatched leadership skills to numerous social organizations, including Delta Signa Theta Sorority where she was a member for over 50 years; Links, included; The Carrousel, Incorporated; and C’est La Vie.
A love of travel led Emma to found the Emma H. Pendergrass Travel Agency in 2009. She organized numerous cruises and trips to destinations around the world for colleagues and friends during 2020.
Emma was a model of excellence, determination and courage. She lived her life with a spirit of kindness that touched all who knew her. Joyful 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, August 4, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., followed by a viewing from 10:00 a.m. 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 3rd from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home, 3665 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA. Emma will be buried in Orangeburg, SC
The Emma Pendergrass Memorial Scholarship is established by the Charles Houston Bar Association. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Charles Houston Bar Institute, PO Box 1474, Oakland, California 94604 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state that the contribution is for the Emma Pendergrass Memorial Scholarship.