Longtime Resident Susie Waxwood Dies at 103

Susie Waxwood, 103, the first African American to serve as executive director of the Princeton YWCA, died January 30 at The Pavilions at Forrestal, an assisted living facility in Plainsboro.

Born and raised in Gray, Louisiana, she attended elementary and high school at Straight College at Dillard University. In 1925 she graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in English Literature. She married Howard B. Waxwood Jr. in 1929 and five years later moved to Princeton.

Another long-time Princeton resident, Albert Hinds, who will turn 104 in April and still lives in the Borough, claims responsibility for Mr. and Ms. Waxwood's nuptials.

Having known each other since childhood, Mr. Hinds introduced Ms. Waxwood, then Susie Brown, to Mr. Waxwood while working at Straight College in New Orleans, which later became Dillard University.

Mr. Waxwood, who died in 1977 at 72, was in the vanguard of the integration of Princeton schools. A physicist, he was principal of the Witherspoon School.

Also a leader in removing racial barriers, Ms. Waxwood served as executive director of the Princeton YWCA from 1958 to 1968.

During World War II she volunteered for the American Red Cross and also assisted in programs for servicemen stationed at Fort Dix.

She served the Princeton community in many ways. She was a member of the Soroptimist International Club of Princeton, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., and the Central New Jersey Chapter of the Links, Inc. She also served on the Mercer County Council on Aging, which she chaired for four years, and served two terms as the State's delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. Last month she was recognized by the Mercer County Office on Aging for her outstanding contributions.

Appointed to the board of directors of the Princeton Nursery School, she helped start the Princeton Adult School, served on the Princeton Regional Scholarship Foundation, and was one of the authors of A Recipe Sampler, a cookbook published to help provide educational grants for graduating students of Princeton High School.

The former Witherspoon School was restored as the apartment complex "The Waxwood" to honor both her and her husband and the school that Mr. Waxwood governed. Ms. Waxwood attended a reception for the grand opening of the complex last year.

Mrs. Waxwood was a devoted member of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder, president of the Women's Association, and founding member of Witherspoon's Verse Speaking Choir. She served for several years as treasurer of the Witherspoon Federal Credit Union, an organization which she helped to establish. Her legacy was the annual birthday food donations to the Princeton Crisis Ministry, a project which she started because of her commitment to alleviating hunger.

Daughter of the late John D. and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Saulsby Brown, wife of the late Howard B. Waxwood Jr., and mother of the late Howard B. Waxwood III, she is survived by a sister, Vera B. Randolph of Mount Vernon, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.

The funeral was February 4 at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. Interment was in Princeton Cemetery.

Arrangements were by the Hughes Funeral Home, Trenton.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, 123 East Hanover Street, Trenton, 08608.

Compiled by Town Topics editorial staff

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