Hortense Ridley Tate Was Active in Her Community

Hortense Ridley Tate was born on March 9, 1899 to the late Mary and Ezekiel Ridley. She died at the age of 104 years on Sept. 7, 2003. She was the second of three daughters, Ruth and Venola having preceded her in death.

She was raised in a supportive and nurturing family. After high school, Hortense enrolled at Washburn University in Topeka, Kans., in 1917. In 1920, she was graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Her first job after college in 1921 was at the Montclair YWCA as director of cultural programs. Over the next 75 years, she served the YWCA in numerous capacities, as a committee member, board member, and at one time, its president. In addition, Mrs. Tate was a professional school teacher in both the town of Montclair and the city of Newark.

She was united in marriage to the late Alfred Harrison Tate of Montclair, N.J., in 1928. Together they raised his only son, the late Hon. Herbert H. Tate Sr.

Mrs. Tate had a long, diverse history of community activism. She was one of the founding members of the National Council for Negro Women. She was also a longstanding member of the Board of Trustees for the Montclair YWCA, a member of the Montclair Public Library, the Montclair Human Relations Council, the League of Women Voters and an active member of St. Mark's Methodist Church in Montclair since 1921. She was also an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for 81 years, and held the coveted title of Diamond Soror. Mrs. Tate received numerous awards and accolades for her community service over the years, among them the Sojourner Truth Award in 1992. Mrs. Tate was the subject of two published short stories and several magazine and newspaper articles.

She leaves to cherish her memory her grandson, Herbert H. Tate Jr., of West Orange, N.J.; her goddaughters, Alice LaTouche of Riverside, Calif., and the Honorable Amalya Kears of New York city, and a host of friends including Wilhelmina Dover, Bea Inzilla, Betty Holloway and Ressie Fuller.