Beatrice Odom Scott, an Ashburton neighborhood community activist who was an advocate of Baltimore City Community College, died of a heart attack Dec. 19 at her home. She was 77.
“She understood the importance of being an active and involved citizen,” said former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, the president of the University of Baltimore. “Bea had an enjoyable personality and was a community leader who often supported political candidates. She was also an advocate for community colleges and the Baltimore City Community College in particular.”
Born in New York City, she was the daughter of Marion Odom, a housekeeper in East Harlem. She spent her early years on East 101st Street in an apartment with her older brothers. She was later sent to Richmond, Virginia, to live with her aunt.
She was a 1960 graduate of Maggie L. Walker High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Hampton University.
After leaving college, she went to Tokyo to teach the children of U.S. service personnel. There she met her future husband, Edward G. Carroll Jr., a commissioned Air Force officer. They married in 1967.
She settled on Wabash Avenue in the Ashburton section of Northwest Baltimore and immediately became involved with neighborhood activities and joined a church..
After her first marriage ended, she married Patrick Oliver Scott in 1980 He was a member of her church, Heritage United Church of Christ, and a political activist.
“Politically, Bea was her own person,” said Dr. Katie Grove, former director of music at Heritage United Church of Christ. “She sang in my choir. She was classy, intelligent and giving. She let her light shine and worked hard for Ashburton. She was also active in the political campaigns of our former pastor, the Rev. Wendell Phillips.”
Ms. Scott soon became a leader in the Ashburton neighborhood. She was a president of the Ashburton Area Association and a founding member of the ForWinAsh Garden Club. She belonged to an Ashburton social group called the Flairs.
“She was energetic and artistic and civic-minded. She was a neighborhood mom,” said her son, Edward “Ted” Carroll III. “The kids would be all be over at our house."
A neighborhood friend, Cherlyn Mitchell, said, “Bea, of all my friends, was spiritual and creative. In church, she spoke of the universal community of people. She personally believed we were one big, universal family.”
In a 2015 Sun article, Ms. Scott described her community: “We have a reputation in terms of quality housing, pleasant neighbors, a lot of interest in education. We’re well known for our block party. It’s a staple of the community.”
She was a Heritage Church Sunday school teacher and often invited her students and their families to her home to enjoy her gardens and the koi pond she built.
“My mother was an accomplished gardener who famously had the green version of “the Midas touch,” said another son, Scott J. Carroll of Baltimore. “Any plant or flower she owned or took possession of always thrived and showed its very best, no matter the condition in which she had received it.”
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Ms. Scott hosted an annual cookout for students and staff as part of the week of activities for Heritage’s Vacation Bible School. She was a founding member of the church’s Spiritual Renewal Ministry. She also hosted solstice and equinox meditation gatherings.
She founded the Storybook Project and visited schools to promote reading and writing. She also worked with students to get them to express themselves through writing stories.
City Councilwoman Sharon Middleton said that Ms. Scott, whose friendship and advice she valued, wanted all children in Baltimore to write their own stories and histories, and she encouraged them to make books of their stories. Her commitment to the young people of the city was steadfast, Ms. Middleton said. She said she spoke to Ms. Scott shortly before her death and learned that Ms. Scott was busy planning to apply for a City Youth Fund grant.
“My mom was an avid Baltimore sports fan. She loved Lamar Jackson,” said Edward “Ted” Carroll. “She was always about being that uplifting matriarch in the community. She wanted to make Baltimore and the world a better place. She gave of her time, her energy, love and attention especially to the the most vulnerable and underserved. And, at the same time, she could played a host to the politically powerful, established and upcoming.”
A life celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 11 the Heritage United Church of Christ, 3110 Liberty Heights Ave.