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Family Plans Funeral For Harlem Restaurant Owner Sylvia Woods

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Family members of Sylvia Woods, the late former owner of the legendary Harlem soul food restaurant Sylvia's, are planning her funeral in Queens on Wednesday, where Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

With every bite of that authentic Southern home-cookin' at Sylvia's on Friday was a somber reminder that Sylvia Woods, who fed souls as well as hungry mouths on this Harlem corner, was gone.

"Me being from Mississippi, this was like being home," said one restaurant-goer.

Woods died Thursday afternoon in her Westchester home after battling Alzheimer's Disease and folks came from all over the city to claim her as their inspiration.

"She built something out of nothing," said one person. "She kept her family together."

Some members of that prolific family, which consists of four children, 18 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, thanked the community Friday morning through brimming eyes.

"We thank all our patrons, the guests, not just here in Harlem but the entire world," said Ken Woods, Sylvia's youngest son.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who is among the many that turned Sylvia's into a political venue, will deliver the eulogy at her funeral, which is set for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon.

"She didn't have big shots or little shots at Sylvia's," Sharpton said. "The guy standing outside panhandling got the same greeting from Sylvia as those that were prominent."

Her family urged the public to turn any grief into an act of kindness.

"She always said 'give me my flowers while I'm here,'" said Tren'ness Woods-Black, Sylvia's granddaughter. "So we ask that in lieu of flowers, were asking donations be made to the Sylvia and Herbert woods scholarship fund."

A public viewing is scheduled for Tuesday at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then, on August 1, a public celebration will take place, complete with a parade and breakfast, to mark the restaurant's 50th anniversary and Sylvia Woods' legacy.

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