Waco: Services set for trailblazer who died at 71

Alice Cooks Pollard "was a champion in the lives of thousands of children in the span of her adult life,” her obituary says. (Courtesy photo)
By  | 

WACO, Texas (KWTX) Services have been scheduled for Alice Cooks Pollard, a Waco native who blazed a trail as a student, police officer, educator youth advocate and writer.

Pollard died Monday at the age of 71.

A memorial is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church NBC at 613 Jefferson Ave.

The funeral service is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Second Missionary Baptist Church at 2001 Dallas St. in Waco.

Pollard was one of the first four black students to graduate from La Vega High School in 1966 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in history and physical education in 1970 from Paul Quinn College, whose campus was then in Waco.

Two years later, in 1972, she became Waco’s first black female police officer.

She started her career in education in 1978 as a teacher in the Waco ISD, retired after 23 years in the classroom, and then returned to teach first grade for a year.

She also worked for 30 years as a part-time recreational aide at Waco’s Dewey Recreational Center and in 2014 began to work for NeighborWorks Waco’s Project ASPIRE financial literacy and mentoring program for youth throughout McLennan County.

“She was a champion in the lives of thousands of children in the span of her adult life,” her obituary says, serving as a foster parent, organizing the girls’ Y-teen leadership program at the Blue Triangle YMCA, and sponsoring school teen clubs and the 4-H Club at the Dewey Recreation Center.

“A day didn’t go by without Alice having children around her, always leading, training, educating and developing young people into the model citizens who have benefited by the impact she has had on their lives today,” the obituary says.

She was a member of the Waco Tribune-Herald’s Board of Contributors and wrote often for the newspaper.

She also served on the Community Race Relations Coalition, the Waco NAACP, and was a member of the Waco Lions Club.

She was recognized for her service with the YMCA Path Finder Award for Volunteerism, the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award, the Central Texas African American Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the year award, the Parks and Recreation-Part Time Employee Volunteer of the year award and the NeighborWorks Waco Community Volunteer of the year award.

She was also an active member and longtime officer of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

She’s survived by her two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and a great granddaughter.