During the '90s, Pittsburgh's mayor was Sophie Masloff. But Elbert S. Hatley was the "Mayor of the Hill."
Mr. Hatley spent 40 years working on numerous projects for the city's Hill District. His development efforts in the struggling community earned him a long list of awards, said former colleague Carl Redwood, chairman of the Hill Consensus Group. Mr. Hatley was a champion for securing funding for the Crawford Square Housing Development.
Mr. Redwood called Mr. Hatley "an ambassador for the community," but he never wanted the attention.
"He was very diplomatic," said Marlene Jackson, who was on the board of the Hill District Community Development Corp.
Mr. Hatley died Friday after a 20-year battle with cancer. He was 70.
A native of North Carolina, Mr. Hatley was a graduate of Horton High School and North Carolina Central University. After graduating from college in 1966, he was drafted into the military where he served two years before receiving an honorable discharge.
Mr. Hatley and his wife of 47 years, Josephine, moved to Pittsburgh in 1968. He was a longtime member of the Macedonia Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, where he served as a trustee, a deacon and a member of the male chorus and the men's fraternity.
Ms. Jackson, who also attends Macedonia Baptist, said no matter how active Mr. Hatley was in the church, "he did everything with a smile and complete patience."
"He was gentle in nature, but you knew from the way he walked that he led by example," Mr. Redwood said.
His employment and community service included Allegheny Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America, WAMO, Pittsburgh Opportunity Industrial Center, Hill Community Development Corp., Ebony Development, the Hill Consensus Group, Small Seeds Development Corp., One Hope Square, AUBA Triangle Shop and Christian Evangelistic Economic Development.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Elbert S. Hatley Jr. of Chicago; daughter, Melita Hatley Terry of Stanton Heights; brothers, Estridge Hatley, Bishop L. Gene Hatley, and Vernon Hatley, all of North Carolina; and seven grandchildren.
Visitation is Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Samuel J. Jones Funeral Home, 2644 Wylie Ave., Hill District.
The funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church, 2225 Bedford Ave., Hill District, followed by military honors held at Allegheny Mausoleum.
Donations can be made to the Small Seeds Development Inc., 204 N. Highland Ave., Second Floor, Pittsburgh 15206.
Kelton Brooks: firstname.lastname@example.org.