ALBANY -- Over the years,
Elfrieda Textores watched scores of neighbors flee her Third
Avenue block, driven out by gunfire, drug dealers and blight.
Textores stood steadfast in the South End.
In 2002, she brokered a compromise to save Lincoln Park Pool,
convincing officials to refurbish the inner-city bathing spot.
Her plan was dubbed "The Elfrieda Compromise."
On Monday, Textores died at home at 73. She lived all her life
in the brick building where her father ran Otto's Bakery.
Saving the neighborhood "was her crusade," said
Mark Yolles, a former officer of the Mansion Neighborhood
As president of South End Concerned Citizens, Textores spent
a decade photographing and cataloging blocks of boarded-up
properties, then urging change.
"I'm tired of having people afraid to visit me in my
home," she said.
Not one to mince words, she criticized Mayor Jerry Jennings
for a range of policies over the years, from paying police extra
money to live in urban areas to a lackadaisical summer program
Absentee landlords and real estate speculators were to blame,
she often said, for the decay that marked so many city streets
south of Madison Avenue.
Textores spoke frequently at Common Council meetings. In one
letter to the Times Union, she thanked the Albany police for
enforcing code violations, then urged the city to reinstate
" 'Clean-up Saturdays' that the city seems to have
"I'll always remember the flower lady," one mourner
told Elfrieda's husband, Bill Textores, at the Daniel Keenan
Funeral Home Wednesday. Each spring, Elfrieda dug in the dirt on
downtown State Street, planting impatiens in the medians.
"She put her shoulder to the plough," said Peter
Haley, former head of the Siena College music department. The
Textores routinely accompanied Haley's opera group to see
performances in Europe and Manhattan.
The pair traveled frequently and were slated to leave for
Patagonia this weekend, said Bill Textores, a retired GE
Born the baker's daughter to immigrants Otto and Paula Thiebe
in a diverse area called Dutch Hollow, Textores was of strong
build, tall enough to accommodate the springali (anise cookies)
and sweets she ate each morning.
"Today you're told you're supposed to eat bran and all
that garbage," she once remarked.
In the past few months, Textores had developed an arthritic
condition that required steroids and exacerbated existing heart
trouble, her husband said.
Textores graduated from the Albany Academy for Girls. She
taught social studies at Colonie and Bethlehem high schools for
33 years. As a girl, she worked nights with her parents to bake
breads into the early morning. After retirement, she applied
that stamina to crime-fighting programs like Weed and Seed. She
often shared stories of past life in the South End while urging
newcomers to embrace civic life.
"She could have lived anywhere," said Harold Rubin,
former president of the Council of Albany Neighborhood
Associations. "She didn't move. She stayed."