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Theresa Ernestine Richardson Pope

Born on 1-8-1944. She was born in Somerset, KY. She was accomplished in the area of Education. She later died on 6-16-2024.
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Theresa was born on January 8, 1944, in Somerset, Kentucky. She was the only child of Ernest Richardson and Theresa Owsley Richardson. She was lovingly raised by her maternal grandparents, Reverend Robert Mae, and Sarah Jane Owsley, following the early death of her father. Surrounded by cousins she considered siblings, she fondly recalled her childhood at the house on Harvey Avenue, known for its distinctive big red rock, which still stands as a testament to her cherished memories.

Theresa's educational journey began at Dunbar, an all-Black school where her parents and other family members had studied under the guidance of Miss Virginia Lackey and Professor Wilson. She was one of the first Black students to integrate Somerset High School in the early 1960s, where she was beloved by her classmates. Just over two years ago in 2022, she celebrated her 60th high school reunion, a testament to the lasting bonds she formed there.

Theresa pursued higher education at Kentucky State College (now University), majoring in English. It was there she met the love of her life, Jerry D. Pope Sr. They married on December 30, 1965, before moving to Buffalo, New York. The couple completed their studies at Buffalo State College, where Theresa earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees. She furthered her education with a certificate in School District Administration and educational supervision.

Theresa dedicated her career to education, serving as an English Language Arts teacher in various Buffalo schools including Genesee Humboldt, West Hertel, and Follow Through School 8 Middle School. Her ambition led her to become the first African American woman Assistant Principal at Seneca Vocational High School. She later served at City Honors and Hutch Tech, retiring as Assistant Principal from Hutch Tech in 2001 after 33 years with the Buffalo Public Schools, to care for her husband, Jerry.

Her husband, a history teacher, school principal, and supervisor of school integration in the Buffalo Schools died in 2006.

Theresa's passion for service extended beyond the classroom. She was a life member and Golden Soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, actively participating in the Gamma Phi Omega Chapter in Buffalo for over 50 years. As the Ivy Leaf Reporter, she used her writing talents to share the sorority's accomplishments, forging relationships with local and national media outlets.

Additionally, Theresa was a member of The Links, Incorporated, Niagara Falls Chapter, encouraged by her lifelong friend Hattie McCarley. She served in various capacities until her health declined. In her retirement, Theresa remained engaged with the educational community as an officer in both the Buffalo Retired Teachers and the Buffalo Retired Administrators Associations, advocating for better education policies across New York State.

An active member of Second Temple Baptist Church and the NAACP, Theresa's contributions to advancing education and community service earned her numerous awards and recognitions. Her legacy of dedication and service will be remembered by all who knew her.

Theresa leaves behind a loving family: her daughter Michea (James) and son Jerry (Jessica), six grandchildren Jerica, Jasmine, Jerry II, Meiasha, RaiZiya, and Tiajeri, and four great-grandchildren, Ali'Yanna, Mason, Shateka, and Summer. She also leaves behind cherished memories with her brothers-in-law Bobby and Kenneth, sisters-in-law Bette and Ada, and a host of cousins, family, and friends.

On Saturday, June 16, 2024, Theresa Ernestine (Richardson) Pope was called home for eternal rest. As God said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Her legacy of love, dedication, and service will forever be treasured by those whose lives she touched.