Pearl, as she was affectionately called, was one of seven children born to Thomas Buckson and Dora Crosby Buckson. She began her life in Fairfield County, South Carolina, where she was taught by her mother in Grades one, two, three, and four. Once the family moved to Chester, South Carolina, Pearl attended Finley Elementary School, Finley Junior High School, and Finley High School. She graduated from Finley High as the Valedictorian of her class. Pearl joined Second Wilson Baptist Church at a very early age, where she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for many years before getting married, moving from South Carolina, and eventually settling in New York.
Pearl continued her education earning a Bachelor of Science Degree from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, where she majored in Biology and earning her Master of Arts Degree from Teachers College Columbia University in New York City, New York, where her concentration was Curriculum and Teaching Youth Education. She completed additional study at Bank Street College in New York City and Lehman College in Bronx, New York. Pearl remained dedicated to Benedict College as an alumni. Her alma mater named a Biology Lab after her (The Pearline Buckson Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Research located in Alumni Hall) because of her very generous monetary donation. She joined The Progressive Benedict College Alumni Association of Greater New York where she became a life member and held various offices including President. Pearl was also voted President of the Benedict College National Alumni Association. In 1984, she received the Progressive Benedict College Club’s Dedicated Service and Leadership Award. In 1992, Pearl received the Benedict College National Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. She remained devoted to Benedict College until her passing, attending an alumni association meeting on Zoom as recently as two months ago. Pearl was a volunteer member of the UNCF Inter-Alumni Council and President of the Metropolitan Committee of 100 New York, Inc. She was a member of Harlem Initiatives Together (HIT), Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement (HCCI), Aids Awareness of HCCI, and a lifetime member of the NAACP.
As a dedicated Christian woman, Pearl was devoted to Union Baptist Church in the Village of Harlem, New York, as a member for 62 years. She committed her life to the spreading of the Gospel and took on many roles at Union including being in the first cohort of female Deacons, Sunday School teacher of the Rev. Dr. Ollie B. Wells Sr. Adult Class, Board of Christian Education Council member, South Carolina Ministry president (later renamed South/North Carolina Ministry), Rose of Sharon Ministry member, choir member, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Spiritual Advisor for the Floral Guild and the Young at Heart Senior Citizen Ministry, Prayer Vigil member, Soup Kitchen organizer, and editor of the church newsletter. Pearl began providing Thanksgiving dinners to the UBC neighbors by asking other members to join her in cooking at home and bringing the food to the church. This was the springboard to blessing the Harlem community with the creation of the Soup Kitchen Ministry in addition to preparing Thanksgiving meals at the church and serving all in need. Pearl was honored as Mother of the Year in 1983 and received many, many certificates, plaques, and other types of recognition for her volunteer work at UBC. She loved and supported each of Union’s pastors, first ladies, members, and especially the youth who had a special place in her heart. She remained active by attending worship services online and participating in virtual church meetings, deacon meetings, and joint board meetings through October. Her favorite Bible Scripture was Matthew 5:13-16 “to be Salt and Light to the World.” Pearl was faithful, humble, loved her Union Baptist Church family, and they loved her back!
In addition to giving her time, talents, and financial contributions to Union, Pearl had a number of charities that she supported including: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Hale House of New York, Edmundite Missions of Selma, AL, Here’s Life of Greater New York, and World Vision by sponsoring a child.
After 26 years of teaching the fourth grade youth of NYC, Pearl retired in 1988. She delighted in providing new experiences for the children of Spanish Harlem. Whether it was using cooking to teach Science or taking them on fieldtrips to the Statue of Liberty, the Bronx Zoo, or the circus, Pearl made everything an exciting learning opportunity. Prior to teaching in New York, Pearl taught General Science at Finley Junior High School in Chester, South Carolina.
Pearl made time to travel the globe with her sisters Janie and Helen. They toured Niagara Falls, Rhode Island for the Lobster Fest, the Holy Land, South Africa, and enjoyed two cruises to Hawaii and Alaska.
Pearl was predeceased by parents Dora and Thomas Buckson and her six siblings: Nesbitt Buckson, Thomas Lee Buckson, Ardis Watkins, Janie Perkins, Velvo Mary Swinton, and Helen Ray McElhaney. We celebrate their heavenly reunion!
Pearl leaves a plethora of family members to celebrate her life and continue works of compassion as well as representing Jesus to the world: her daughter Altressa; three grandsons: Jordan, David and Marcus Jr. along with his wife Taneshia and their daughter, Pearl’s great-granddaughter, Victoria; many nieces and nephews; those adopted or “just like family”; as well as a host of great nieces, great nephews, great-great nieces, and great-great nephews.
Loved by all, our family prayer warrior always reminded us when we asked her to pray that God answers our prayers also; that as believers in God’s Word we were often told by her that we read magazines but STUDY the Bible; and when praying at mealtime we were challenged to recite a Bible verse that began with the same letter as the day of the week. The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, so the Bible verse to recite is- We love God because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
Once Pearl turned 90, she humorously referred to herself as a teenager. All who knew and loved her affectionately called her teenager and will forever miss the eternal teenager, full of laughter and positivity. “I love you Mommie and will always cherish our last 11 months living together. I’ll never forget what you taught me, and I’ll strive to make you proud!” ~Altressa
Pearl financially supported many charities and organizations. Please consider making a donation in her memory to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Benedict College, or Union Baptist Church- Youth Ministry. Thank you.
ST. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.
Services will be held Wednesday, November 17th at Union Baptist Church 240 West 145th Street NY, NY 10039
Celebration of Life service- 12pm
Gravesite service 2:30pm at Kensico Cemetery 273 Lakeview Ave. Valhalla, NY 10595