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Community Leader Bette Stoltz To Be Celebrated at Memorial

By Nikhita Venugopal | December 8, 2015 3:06pm
 A memorial for Bette Stoltz will be held Dec. 12.
A memorial for Bette Stoltz will be held Dec. 12.
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Erica Stoltz

BOERUM HILL — Bette Stoltz, a longtime neighborhood leader who played a key role in Smith Street's resurgence as a commercial corridor, will be remembered in a memorial service this weekend, her family said.

"She didn't want a funeral," said Erica Stoltz, Bette's daughter. "She wanted an event where people could speak from their hearts about their time with her."

Stoltz was 74 years old when she died Nov. 19 following complications during a medical procedure, her daughter said.

Anyone who has lived in Brooklyn's Community Board 6 area has likely come across Stoltz's work through her local activism or one of many events she organized. 

Stoltz served as executive director of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation and pushed for the revitalization Smith Street through decades championing the "Little Street That Could" as she would call it, according to remembrances from locals such as City Councilman Brad Lander and Pardon Me For Asking blogger Katia Kelly.

She was also founder of the Transit Garden at Smith Street and Second Place and organized events such as Smith Street's "Sunday Funday" street fair, local Bastille Day celebrations and a soup crawl.

"Bette wore many hats and played many roles in her decades of selfless service to our communities," Community Board 6 said in an email. 

Stoltz's support for small businesses continued until her death as she advocated for a Business Improvement District for Court and Smith streets. 

"Bette never hesitated to say what was on her mind, and to fight against change that undermined our neighborhood values," Councilman Lander said.

"She never gave up, and was constantly looking for practical ways to make the community better, whatever challenge we were facing."

Friends and family will have a chance to listen and say a few words about Stoltz during the memorial celebration on Dec. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the School of International Studies, located at 284 Baltic St. in Boerum Hill. 

The memorial will be followed by a New Orleans-style procession with a second line that will lead to Angry Wade's, a bar at Smith and Butler streets, where they will toast Stoltz's life.