Pearl Maronie Young Baylor was born on September 8th, 1936 in Eutawville, South Carolina to (the late) Wade Hampton Young and Ellen Jefferson Young. A gentle and shy child, Pearl thrived under the watchful eye of her parents. Two years later, the Youngs were blessed with another daughter, Barbara, and Pearl’s life changed forever. Not only had she gained a sister, she had her very own BEST FRIEND. Barbara loved her big sister, and fiercely protected her from the bullies at school. Daddy had charged Barbara with the responsibility of looking after Pearl, whom Barbara nicknamed “Baby”.
Baby and Barbara were like peas and carrots, and you never saw one without the other. They did everything together, even accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior at an early age. Pearl was baptized at Springfield Baptist Church and became an active member. While the girls were young, they met their older brother, George Thompson, better known as “Red” (deceased) and their sister, Gladys Wright, “Tootsie” (deceased). The girls were so happy to have found their extended family, and they remained close until their passing.
In May of 1955, Pearl graduated from Roberts High School and migrated to New York City. She took with her, her love of music and her desire to succeed. Pearl worked very hard during the week, but made sure to enjoy good music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sundays, Pearl attended Central Baptist Church in Harlem where she met and fell in love with Frank (“Sonny”) Baylor (deceased). They courted and danced many a night away -- once until Pearl danced right out of her shoes. On July 18th, 1958, Pearl and Sonny were wed. God blessed their union with four children: Cheryl, Hillary, Frank, Jr. (deceased) and Renée. Pearl was a devoted wife and mother, and remained devoted to her children, despite her and Sonny’s separation.
Proud and fiercely independent, Pearl found her first City job as a school crossing guard in 1968. Her three little girls were “latch-key” children, and God watched over them while Pearl worked to keep them clothed and fed. In 1975, Pearl joined the ranks of the Department of Social Services’ Human Resources Administration. Her career and family flourished. Pearl was so proud of her girls, and they were so proud of their Mom.
Pearl’s calm and kind demeanor fostered many lifelong friendships. She was loved and respected by everyone who knew her. In 1999, she retired, and delighted in telling everyone of her new station in life. She morphed into a QUEEN of sorts, and there was no more cooking or cleaning for her!! Instead, her nails were manicured and her hair was coiffed to a “tee”!! On warm, sunny days, she enjoyed sitting on her porch solving her puzzle books and watching the school children play. Every once in a while we would say, “Ma, can you make us some smothered chicken and stuffing? “And she’d reply, as cool as a breeze, “I’m retired”!!!
In 2006, Pearl started to change. She would insist she’d seen movies and been places she’d not seen or been before. Her short term memory began to fade and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But GLORY TO GOD, she never forgot her sister, her children, her grandchildren or many of her family or friends. She no longer followed TV shows, but she loved Family Feud and Steve Harvey. The Game Show network was her best friend!!
Pearl left alot of things behind, but she always kept an “I’ll try” spirit. She could make you smile or laugh at the simplest thing, especially her constant request for a piece of ginger candy on the hour from 12 noon to bedtime!!! It didn’t matter who you were, Pearl would politely ask, “Do you have a piece of candy for me?”
We’re all going to miss her feisty stubbornness and the look on her face when she was caught throwing her dinner away!!! But we’re grateful that GOD gave her to us for a time to LOVE and CHERISH! Pearl always said, “Keep living”, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. She is at peace, and we must be also.
Pearl leaves to mourn her passing and celebrate her life, her daughters: Cheryl (Joe), Hillary and Renée; her sister Barbara; her brother-in-law Leroy; her sisters-in-law: JoAnn and Wilhemina; her aunt “Jack”; her grandchildren: Brittany, Alyssa and Kendra; her nieces: Felicia, Tamu, Tamani, Aniyah, Aliyyah, Kristy, Gladys, Beatrice, Mary S., Mary J., Sandra, Pearl, Jeanette, Hoppa and Sharon; her nephews: Darryl, Kevin, Dedan, Khalid, George, Jr., David and Andre; and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. Pearl also leaves to cherish her memory, BONUS daughters: Melody Pitt and Vera Washington; and a BONUS son, Joseph Smith.