Elder Bostic died Friday, Dec. 9, at the age of 76 at her home in Menlo Park, where she lived for over 50 years, church member Laurita Wheeler said in an interview.
Elder Bostic, a student of the Bible who had written 10 books interpreting sections of it, delivered sermons on Sundays at services that were "very jubilant, very upbeat," Ms. Wheeler said. "The sermons were never the same and were power-packed and dynamic," she said.
Elder Bostic headed a nationwide organization of 24 Apostolic Original Holy churches and traveled frequently for speaking engagements, Ms. Wheeler said.
Asked if Elder Bostic had interests outside the church, perhaps a hobby, Ms. Wheeler warmly replied: "Her hobby was pretty much studying the word of God."
Church members did manage to get her to Hawaii or on a cruise about once a year, Ms. Wheeler said. Membership in the Menlo Park church is around 180, and includes residents of Fremont and Hayward as well as East Palo Alto and Redwood City, as well as Menlo Park, Ms. Wheeler said.
Taking over for Elder Bostic in Menlo Park will be her son, Teman Bostic, also of Menlo Park and a bishop, Ms. Wheeler said.
Elder Bostic was named to the San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame in 1992.
Founding the church
From her Belle Haven home, Elder Bostic and several associates founded Mt. Olive in 1963, according to church sources.
The church's first home was a storefront on Newbridge Avenue, but members later built a church on Hamilton Avenue in 1971 that, in 1992, was rebuilt as a larger church and community center.
Matt Henry, former president of the Belle Haven Homeowners Association and a former Menlo Park planning commissioner, said in a 2006 Almanac profile of Elder Bostic that he "(could) not say too much about" her in praise of her work and presence in the community.
Among the church's neighborhood initiatives: lowering the crime rate, improving schools, making housing more affordable, finding shelter for the homeless, and helping substance abusers.
Ms. Bostic, one of eight children from a broken home, grew up poor and sometimes homeless in Mobile, Alabama, the profile said. At age 9, she chopped wood to help support the family. "I'd go to school when I could, and chop wood when I could," she says in the profile. "I made $2 a week. At that time, $2 would almost buy groceries."
Elder Bostic is survived by sisters Ruthie Young and Oliestine Smith, both of Mobile, Alabama, and Patricia Lawson of San Jose; sons Teman, Charles and Michael Bostic of Menlo Park, and Tabbert and George Bostic of Hayward; and 14 grandchildren, family friends said.
Donations in Elder Bostic's name may be made to CPNDEC (Crime Prevention Narcotics & Drugs Education Center), 605 Hamilton Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025.