The first African American woman to serve as mayor of Teaneck, New Jersey, died Sunday at the age of 44 after being hospitalized with "respiratory issues," according to the township.
Mayor Lizette Parker died at Holy Name Medical Center, the township said. Her mother, Dolores Phillips, said Parker's death was sudden and unexpected. The illness prevented her attendance at township meetings in recent weeks.
"The Teaneck Township Council, township manager, and employees would like to express their deepest and most sincere condolences to the Parker family," the township's website said. "Mayor Parker was a strong leader, public advocate, and a consummate professional, who was greatly respected by her colleagues and the community. Her love, presences and sincerity will be sorely missed in township government and in the community."
Parker had served on the council since 2006. Her colleagues appointed her mayor in July 2014.
Parker had been active in the Bergen County branch of the NAACP, Bergen County chapter of Mocha Moms, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club and the National Coalition of One Hundred Black Women Bergen/Passaic chapter.
She is survived by her husband, Tony, a daughter and her mother.
Deputy Mayor Elie Katz has been named Parker's replacement.