Allegra Bennett, a former reporter at the Baltimore Sun and editorial writer at the Washington Times who became a Baltimore-based self-help entrepreneur, died of fast-moving cancer on Tuesday, friends told Journal-isms. She was 68.
On her LinkedIn profile, Bennett described herself as a "Writer, editor, publisher, self-help author, public speaker" who had also been special projects editor at Uptown Professional and Heart & Soul magazines. She taught in the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education's Summer Program for Minority Journalists and was an avid reader of "Journal-isms."
In 1997, Bennett wrote her first book, "Renovating Woman: A Guide to Home Repair, Maintenance and Real Men," which included this question in its publicity material: "How did you become a 'Renovating Woman?'"
She answered, "No money, nobody on whom to fob off repairs the way I did for the 23 years I was married. If it 'got broke' I had to fix it myself or it stayed 'broke.' In short, necessity created my renovating self."
The "About the Author" section explained, "Called the 'industrialized Martha Stewart,' by the Baltimore Sun, Allegra Bennett is the author of a very popular feature column, 'Renovating Woman,' which has appeared in The Washington Times and the Baltimore Sun; and is featured regularly on WBAL radio and WMAR-TV in Baltimore, She is also the creator of the 'Fabulously 50 Plus' calendar featuring beautiful African-American [women] (including herself) over 50.
"In her spare time, she is an amateur standup comedienne. . . ."
In 2013, Bennett wrote another book under the "Renovating Woman" imprint, "12 Steps to Self-Publishing Success: Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Work."
On social media Tuesday and Wednesday, friends and acquaintances praised her wit and mentoring abilities.
"Elbert Dogan is leaving for college on Wednesday morning,"Jessica Bock reported Wednesday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"Just 24 hours earlier, that was not the case. The 2015 graduate of Clyde C. Miller Career Academy realized shortly before he was to start at Tennessee State University that his tuition bill was much larger than anticipated. He wouldn't be able to pay.
"A story in the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday included his troubles as an example of the so-called 'summer melt,' which describes what happens when students are accepted to a college or university but do not make it to campus in the fall for myriad reasons. Nationally, it happens to 10 percent to 20 percent of college-eligible students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Those coming from families in poverty are the most at risk.
"Early Tuesday morning in Nashville, Glenda Glover was checking her messages when those from her administrative team at Tennessee State University and others told her about Elbert's story. There was an alert from a news service the public relations team receives. And a phone call from a friend in Omaha, Neb., who reads STLtoday.com online each morning because her daughter lives here.
"Glover, who is university president, said she immediately started making calls.
"'You see a student, a good student, who wants to come to college and money is the hang-up,' Glover said. 'We do our best to accommodate as many students as we can. He fits into that.'
"A few hours later, she had secured a combination of scholarships and financial aid resources to get Elbert down to campus and into class as soon as possible. . . ."