Memorial and funeral services for D.C. Board of Education member William Lockridge, who died Jan. 12 at George Washington University Hospital after a stroke, are scheduled for Thursday at the Temple Praise in Southeast Washington.
Guest speakers will include the city’s congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Council member Marion Barry.
The longest-serving member on the board, Mr. Lockridge, 63, was first elected to the Ward 8 seat in 1998, when most of the city's affairs were being run by a congressionally ordered control board.
During his tenure, he urged D.C. leaders to support citywide vocational and special-educational programs, decried the fact that the city had lost control of its executive and legislative functions, and was an outspoken skeptic of charter schools and opponent of vouchers.
"We do not want vouchers in the District of Columbia," he proclaimed in 2003, when Congress implemented a publicly funded but privately run scholarship program for low-income D.C. students.
On Tuesday, the D.C. Council approved its second resolution honoring Mr. Lockridge, a Democrat and Chicago native who spent his adult life as a teacher, advocate for the underprivileged and public servant.
The ceremonial resolution paid homage to Mr. Lockridge as an education reformer who, while on the school board, "developed a performance-based budgeting policy and led the effort to create and approve a Master Facilities Plan, a blueprint to rebuild or renovate the District of Columbia Public Schools."
It was the second time the council had hailed Mr. Lockridge. In October 2005, the council honored both Mr. Lockridge and his wife, Wanda, for their civic activism and support to the D.C. Democratic Party.
His motto was "I listen, and I am accessible."
Mr. Lockridge, who graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor's degree in education, also was a former elected advisory neighborhood commissioner, PTA official and president of the Ward 8 Democrats.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two children, his mother, a sister and a host of other relatives.
Thursday's services will be held at the Temple Praise, 700 Southern Ave. SE. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the William Lockridge Educational and Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 54012, Washington D.C. 20032.
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Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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