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Lillian Scott, businesswoman, taught young entrepreneurs

Updated: June 03, 2010, 6:38 am /
Published: June 03, 2010, 12:30 am

Aug. 29, 1943—May 30, 2010

Lillian E. Scott, of Buffalo, who encouraged young people to become entrepreneurs while developing many businesses herself, died Sunday in Buffalo General Hospital after a lengthy illness. She was 66.

Born Lillian Estelle Hill in Buffalo, she attended St. Mary of the Sorrows Elementary School and Bennett High School. In 1979, she received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University at Buffalo.

Raising six children on Grand Island, she took a job as a production assistant at WUTV on Grand Island in the 1970s, and owned and operated three boutiques on Grand Island in the mid-1970s. She also was a direct sales representative for Shaklee, Tupperware, Avon and Mary Kay Cosmetics.

With her late mother, Ella Hill, and her family, she operated Rosette’s Catering throughout the 1970s. In 1983, she and her husband opened the Kensington Place Restaurant at Kensington and Fillmore avenues, and she operated the business for 20 years. It became the place to have a function on Buffalo’s East Side and hosted such famous figures as Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young and Bill Cosby.

Writing about the restaurant in 1996, Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde said: “The Scotts—George and Lillian and their six kids, plus various cousins, aunts, uncles, friends—gutted and restored it. That’s the way it always was. Everybody worked. The Scotts are the African-American version of the Waltons. Bonded by love, believers in the work ethic, committed to the American Dream—even after hard times slowed business.”

Mrs. Scott was profiled in Business First and received numerous awards and citations. She was given the Buffalo Common Council Award in 1982, the Phi Lambda Business Award in 1984, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Economic Empowerment Award in 1992, the Urban League Business Award, the YMCA Century Award, the 100 Black Women Citation and was named Omega Psi Phi Woman of the Year.

She contributed to the training and employment of more than 100 young people, teaching them business skills and how to become self-sufficient and independent. In the midst of all her activities, she also served as a foster parent.

She was a dedicated tutor and counselor, and a collector of pottery, brass, crystal and art. She also enjoyed making floral arrangements, decorating and planning social occasions.

Her husband of 31 years, George W. Jr., a former professional football player and an accountant, died in 1995.

Surviving are two daughters, Anita Moore and Angela Scott West; four sons, George W. III, James, Clifford and Anthony; and two brothers, Willie Hill and Dr. Chester Williams.

Services will be at noon Friday in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.