Judge Golar, Father of Boston Mayoral Candidate Richie, Passed Away

Boston, August 12, 2013, — Boston mayoral candidate Charlotte Golar Richie’s father Simeon Golar passed away on Sunday, August 11. He was 84 years old and died of natural causes at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York, with his two daughters at his side. He was a man of great stature in New York City politics during the last four decades of the 20th century, having served in various appointed positions and having sought elective office as well, during his career. He ended this illustrious career as an elected New York State Supreme Court Justice, serving on the bench for more than a decade.

Judge Golar was born in 1928 during the Great Depression, in segregated South Carolina. He was born to Lottie Jackson, a single teenage mother, and then adopted by the Golar family with whom he migrated to New York City when he was a small boy. He attended public schools, and later the City College of New York. He worked his way through New York University School of Law as a subway toll clerk; and at NYU he was a classmate of former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. In 1956, he married Pauline Wellington, a young teacher and daughter of Barbadian immigrants, and they settled in Brooklyn. They had two children, Charlotte and her sister, Katherine. Though Simeon and Pauline divorced in 1965, they maintained a close relationship with each other and with their two daughters.

In 1966, Golar ran unsuccessfully for the office of Attorney General of New York on the Liberal Party ticket, running at a time when it was extremely uncommon for African-American candidates to campaign for statewide office. He subsequently became the Chairman of New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, and later, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in the administration of New York City Mayor John Lindsay; he was reportedly the first NYCHA chairman to have lived in public housing.
Golar later served as a judge in the New York State Family Court system; he had a stint as a television talk show host on WNBC’s “Open Circuit,” and worked for several years as a housing developer, a law professor, and as an attorney in private practice. He served on many boards, including the Supreme Court Justices’ Association of NYC, the Community Service Society of NY, the New York Urban League, and NYU Law School. He was also a life member of the NAACP.

In keeping with one of her father’s favorite quotes, “A life well-lived is a life of service,” Charlotte followed closely her dad’s path to public service, as a volunteer in the US Peace Corps, a Boston State Representative from 1994 to 1999, Boston’s Chief of Housing and Director of Neighborhood Development, as a senior aide to Governor Deval Patrick, as Senior Vice President for YouthBuild USA and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Roxbury-based nonprofit organization Higher Ground.

On Father’s Day, Richie sent out a special tribute to her dad in an email blast to supporters, praising him for his work and influence on her life. She also recognized the difficulties of having to care for an elder parent and she thanked those who care for and advocate for elders. Read here.

Of her father and his influence on her life, Richie said, “He had great courage and a brilliant mind. He overcame great odds to succeed in public life, rising from humble beginnings in Chester, South Carolina to become a dynamic leader and public servant. I will miss him very much.”
Funeral services will be held in New York this week.