‘Dee’ Hastings, well known Tampa native, educator and community supporter, passes away in South Florida
By Yolanda Streeter
Delores ‘Dee’ Henry Hastings passed away on Nov. 8, 2013, after suffering complications following a previous stroke. She lived in and loved Florida all of her life and was 78-years-old.
Born in Tampa, eldest of the “three Henry sisters” (Dee, Rachel, and Eva), she became a popular student and active member of the class of 1954 at Middleton High School, where her exuberant personality allowed her to forge many lasting friendships.
Ms. Hastings received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Clark College in Atlanta in 1958, and she was awarded her Master’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Florida A & M University (FAMU). She taught in Sun City and at Phillip Shore Elementary School in Tampa.
Continuing in her service and love of knowledge and education after relocating to the Ft. Lauderdale area, she taught at Larkdale Elementary, conducted workshops for Head-start, and trained paraprofessionals at the Mailman Family Center of Nova University. She also became involved with Florida International University’s Urban Education Pro-gram and The United Way. After retirement, her dedication remained obvious as she worked as an advocate for young African American men pursuing higher education, served as mentor to a Longshoreman Community Action Team, and taught parenting skills classes to inmates in order to facilitate visitation with their children.
Ms. Hastings’ commitment to community and families ex-tended beyond the doors of academia as she committed many hours of effort to several charities, including rehabilitation centers in South Florida, medical centers in Haiti, and the Grandma’s Hands and Friends of Children programs of Fort Lauderdale.
With a passion for candidates she believed would best serve the needs of her community, she demonstrated incredible energy working on political campaigns from the 1960’s to 2012, even working to register over 200 voters in 2008, at the age of 72, and traveling to Washington, D.C. to attend President Obama’s inaugurations.
An early campaign she worked on was (ex-husband) Alcee Hastings’ bid for U.S. Senate in 1970. As a result of assembling a group of ladies, mostly longtime friends, to garner campaign support, Ms. Hastings co-sponsored the Hillsborough County Chapter of the Charmettes, Inc. This group has in turn performed humanitarian service locally and nationally for over 40 years.
Love, vibrancy, creativity and joy are attributes evidenced by this remarkable lady and this will be remembered and cherished by her son Jody, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors. She will be missed by many, including her beloved pet companions, Dolce and Tranz.
A memorial gathering to honor the life of Delores Henry Hastings will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Ray Williams Chapel, 301 N. Howard Avenue in Tampa.