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‘Queen Of Soul Food’ Sylvia Woods Remembered At Wake

Sylvia Woods (credit: CBS 2)

Sylvia Woods (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Restaurateur and Harlem legend Sylvia Woods is being laid to rest.

The founder of Sylvia’s Soul Food restaurant died Thursday after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon With More On The Story

On Tuesday, family and friends said their final farewell.

PHOTO GALLERY: Notable Deaths 2012

Long-time customers were among those who came to pay their respects to the woman known as the “Queens of Soul Food.” One woman told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon that she remembers seeing Woods at one of her first jobs as a waitress and is proud of what she became.

“From a waitress to an icon,” she said.

Woods and her husband started Sylvia’s Restaurant in 1962. It has since become a must-stop not only for the neighborhood, but for tourists and high-profile politicians.

Woods’ house photographer in the 1980’s was also among those who came to say goodbye.

“It was very quiet, very solemn — a lot of friends. To gain that many friends over the years, it says a lot,” he told Rincon.

Margarita Simmons also remembered many conversations with Woods.

“She was a gracious lady. She taught you about being cordial to everybody and that’s how she was. She treated you in her restaurant, like you were stepping into her home,” Simmons said.

Corwin J. Breeden said it just wasn’t the food that gave you a good feeling.

“She was like a mother to everybody here in the community. When you came in there, she’d say ‘You eat too fast, you gotta slow down,'” Breeden said.

Mourners filed past an open casket at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. She was laid out in a cream-colored brocade suit. The altar was adorned with white flowers: roses, orchids and calla lilies.

A service is scheduled for Wednesday at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y., where Woods lived.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)