Teaneck Township Mayor Lizette P. Parker has died. Parker passed away Sunday morning after being taken to Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey for respiratory issues. She was 44.
Parker was the first African-American women elected mayor of Teaneck and first Black woman to serve as mayor of any municipality in Bergen County. In a statement, local officials described her as a public official who loved her community.
“Mayor Parker was a strong leader, public advocate and a consummate professional, who was greatly respected by her colleagues and the community,” they said. “Her love, presences and sincerity will be sorely missed in township government and in the community.”
Born in Teaneck, she earned a degree in sociology from Montclair State University and a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Before being elected mayor, she was a caseworker and social work supervisor at the Bergen County Board of Social Services.
According to reports, Parker was affiliated with several civic organizations, including the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Bergen/Passaic Chapter, the Bergen County branch of the NAACP and the Bergen County chapter of Mocha Moms Inc.
Parker was elected to the Teaneck City Council in 2006, serving nearly a decade before being elected mayor in 2014. At the time of her death, she had nearly two months left in her term as mayor. Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor Elie Y. Katz is assuming all duties of the office for the remainder of the term.
“Mayor Lizette Parker’s death was so sudden and unexpected,” U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said. “She was a pioneer and inspiration to many, who dedicated her life to public service and improving the lives of the people of Teaneck. Lizette Parker was a tireless advocate for civil and women’s rights, and worked hard every day to lift people up and strengthen the community.”
Parker is survived by her husband of 17 years, Anthony, their daughter, Alyssa, and her mother, Dolores Phillips.
Services are being held at Mount Olive Baptist Church, located at 260 Central Ave. in Hackensack, N.J. A wake and viewing will take place Friday, April, 29, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April, 30 at 10 a.m., followed by a burial at George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus, N.J.