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Hugh Donald Lanier “Bay” departed on January 20, 2024, at his home in Chester, Pennsylvania. Hugh was born October 6, 1952, in Chester, Pa. He was the fourth of eight children born to the late Willie G. and Ardie (Miller) Lanier.
Hugh attended Chester public schools, graduating from Chester High School in 1970. He furthered his education by attending the historic 2nd civilian class at Pennsylvania Military College (PMC), now Widener University Chester, Pa., earning a Bachelor of Science in business/economics. Other notable Chesterites we're also attending include former Chester, PA Mayor John Linder, prominent attorney Clinton Johnson Esq., and retired Philadelphia Police Sgt. Jesse Staton (all were lifetime-long friends).
While at PMC (Widener Univ.), Hugh was a very active member of the Black Student Union, fighting for controversial causes such as black student enrollment and other discriminatory issues. He was also an active Chester High School's 1970 Alumni class member.
Hugh honorably served for two years in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. He then served the country for another four years in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Hugh attended Shiloh Baptist Church during his early years, where he accepted Christ under the leadership of the late Pastor Merland Mcknight.
He leaves to cherish his memory a loving son, Nathan Hugh Lanier, and grandson, Ezekial Vincent Lanier of Woodbridge, NJ. He is survived by four brothers and two sisters, Elores Lanier-Clark of Upper Marlboro, Md., Leon(Shiela) of Centreville, Va., Ivan(Neida) of Milford, DE., Janet of Chester, Pa, Darrell(Jane) of Davidsonville, Md. and Erwin(Jalynne) of Baltimore, Md.
Additional family members who will continue to cherish Hugh's memory and life are his sister-in-law Diane Lanier(Willie Jr.- deceased), Aunts Lillian Dixon, Ann, and Ernestine Lanier, and Uncles Ronnie Lanier(Della), Thomas and Lawrence Lanier. In addition to his parents and brother, he was preceded by the death of his close brother-in-law, John Clark Sr.
He also had a godson, Bramir Bost, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Hugh was known by the nickname given by his sister, ”Bay” Lanier by friends and family, specifically those he considered “Special”, including Bruce Wright, Robert Thorpe, James Springfield, Cyrus Mclaughlin, Beverly Harris, and Durel Freeman, to name a few.
Hugh was employed by the city of Chester, Pa. for several years before relocating to Maplewood, NJ, as he started his 20-year employment with PSE&G (Electric and Gas Company). Tirelessly working his way through the ranks from electric reader to maintaining overhead electric lines, Hugh was promoted to Troubleshooter! Historically, this position was held by very few people of color in the entire state. Being the first in his region to attain such status invoked countless incidents of racial injustices. Hugh’s ability to resist temptations to retaliate ultimately caused a breakthrough within PSG&E's culture, enabling other minorities to advance.
Bay resided in Sickleville, NJ, for many years, and after retiring, he relocated back to Chester to assist and care for his mom. Bay’s assistance was comprehensive, including being mom’s primary chauffeur when traveling to Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. Additionally, he was usually “ON TIME” for local transports to the pharmacy, doctor’s appointments, and Bay’s favorite, Sam & Sam Food Store.
To pay for his college tuition, Bay became employed at the old Colony South Hotel Chester, Pa., where he honed his culinary skills and became a Chef.
Winter crockpots filled with all types of beans, turkey wings, and beef roasts were staples for the Tilghman St. Lanier household, and of course, they were all delicious. He insisted we acknowledge him as “Chef”(we wouldn't), as he enjoyed cooking for family gatherings. He was incredibly proud to prepare his baked chicken and cabbage for Mom, her favorite dish!
Hugh was best known for his unwavering love for his son Nathan. By all accounts and witnesses throughout, as Nathan and his dad talked several times daily, Nathan had no choice but to listen and acknowledge Bay’s council and guidance, OR ELSE!
Bay was also known by family and friends for providing a space in which you could share your tough times. Although he would emphasize the "don't let them defeat you" attitude, we all knew that if one needed financial support, “If Bay had it, you needed it, you got it. "
Bay began playing sports very early, mostly baseball at age six or seven (when we were allowed to throw our own pitches). He continued the three-generation Lanier Family tradition of playing baseball (Outfield) through his senior year at Chester High School. Bay was a regular at the infamous “Cage” basketball court, where he competed, at times, against professional basketball players with that sweet left-handed jumper and tenacious defense.
While living in Maryland, he joined and enjoyed his brothers on numerous basketball, softball, and touch football teams. His competitive instincts regularly got the rest of us into shoving/fighting matches! Thanks, Bro!
He was unapologetically a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. With his Eagles blanket thrown over his knees during game time, DO NOT CALL HIM! He wanted to enjoy the moment without comment.
He and Nathan shared a love of sports, especially football, which Nathan excelled in high school and college. Nathan explains a time when he dropped a colossal pass while in college. Waiting for Bay’s instruction to improve, Bay exclaimed, “Just catch it and don’t drop it again!”
Besides sports, you need not interrupt him when JUDGE JUDY is on television.
As you can sum up, Bay had a lifelong passion for being an activist against social injustices that commonly occurred in the U.S. in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
In 1995, he participated proudly in the Million Man March in Washington, DC.
REST IN PEACE: You were an incredible Spirit to us all! We Love You, and you will be remembered ALWAYS.
The Lanier Family