Basil Emery

  • Born: January 5, 1921
  • Died: April 7, 2021
  • Location: San Mateo, California

Sneider & Sullivan & O'Connell's Funeral Home - FD-230

977 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94402
Tel. (650) 343-1804

Tribute & Message From The Family

In Loving Memory

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Basil by adding your memories and photos.

Basil Emery was born on January 5, 1921 in Ferriday, Louisiana to the union of Will Emery and Marie Ferguson Emery. He was the oldest of five children. His parents, his brothers Alphonso and Belton, and his sister Juanita preceded him in death. He departed this life peacefully on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at his home in San Mateo, California just three months after a 100th birthday parade celebrating his long life of service.

Basil stood as the Emery family patriarch and remained a guiding force for so many throughout his life, generously offering solicited and unsolicited advice whenever it was needed. As a young man growing up in the South, Basil felt the only way to start a new life with more opportunity was to serve his country in the armed forces. He enlisted in the Air Force during World War II and served from a base in Kunming, China, supporting the war effort at the terminus of the Burma Road. Shortly after the war he and his new bride moved west to San Mateo, California.

Not long after settling in the peninsula, Basil became convinced that a new hospital—and the essential jobs and medical services it would bring—was desperately needed in the community. In the early 1950's he passed out fliers campaigning for the building of what would become the new Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame. With the success of that campaign, he became one of many laborers contracted to build the hospital, but that was just the beginning of his 30 year career with Peninsula. He was first hired as a cook's helper and swiftly moved through the ranks to become first cook and then, in 1957, was put in charge of the entire Food Services Department, continuing in that role for the next 13 years. Given his record of accomplishments and strong relationships in the community, he was transferred to the hospital's Personnel Department as an Employee Representative in 1970. He then became Administrative Assistant to the hospital's administrator and concluded his tenure at Peninsula Hospital as Human Relations Counselor.

Basil always felt it was important to remain involved in the community and he contributed in many ways. At the height of the civil rights movement, he served as President of the San Mateo Chapter of the NAACP and with the NAACP he helped establish a credit union in San Mateo to provide loans to African Americans at a time when others in the area refused to lend money. Basil Emery was the first Black member of the Burlingame Rotary Club, he was honored with its Paul Harris Fellowship, and he remained a member of the Club for over 50 years until his death.

A man of great faith, Basil was a proud member of the Pilgrim Baptist Church and served on the church's Board of Trustees. He was a Director of the March of Dimes Campaign and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for 12 different community service organizations. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge #34 in San Francisco.

Basil leaves his beloved wife of 78 years, Annabelle Emery, to cherish his memory and their eight decades of shared love and laughter. Joining her in mourning are his sister Odessa Grimes of San Mateo, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends, as well as the countless people he touched with his kindness and wisdom. Over the course of a century he lived to the absolute fullest.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the funeral services will be private.