TEANECK - The flag at City Hall in Teaneck is at half-staff to mourn the death of Mayor Lizette Parker, who died of respiratory problems over the weekend.
Parker was the first African-American woman to serve as mayor in Bergen County when she was elected in 2014.
"The essence of leadership is not providing of visions or the giving of things, it's the offering of one's self and one's spirit and that statement truly epitomizes what Mayor Parker was all about,” says National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Yvonne Witter.
Acting Mayor Elie Katz says that he thought Parker was just suffering from a cold when they last spoke.
"She was telling me that she did have a bad cough and in fact, I actually sent her soup,” Katz says.
Parker had battled cancer prior to her most recent hospitalization.
Parker’s colleagues say that her passions were social services and youth. She had resurrected the youth advisory board for Teaneck. She served on the Township Council since 2006 and worked at the County Board of Social Services since 1992.
"As they say, you can go to get a degree to get a social worker but you're born to be a social worker and that's what Mayor Parker was,” says Teaneck Councilman Mohammed Hameeduddin.
"Everything she did, she did with such grace and she really worked hard to build amongst different groups and different organizations and different personalities,” says Katz
Parker is survived by her husband and daughter.
Viewings will be held on Friday at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Parker’s funeral will be held Saturday morning.