Lillie Margaret Lazaruk, 84, of Fairfield, director emerita and founder of the Women's Center at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, died Dec. 7, 2010, at Bridgeport Hospital.

Born in Jefferson, S.C., she was the daughter of Nellie and O. Graham Pressley.

A Fairfield resident since 1968, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Berea College in Berea, Ky. She began her career with the YWCA College & University Division in Atlanta, Ga., in 1947, organizing interracial/interfaith student conferences throughout the South. A year later, she accepted the position of associate dean of women at Berea College, the youngest person installed in that role. While in this position she earned her master's in student personnel administration and counseling in 1953 from Columbia University on a John Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship, and attended Union Theological Seminary for courses in ethics and theology.

She also studied at the University of North Carolina; Wellesley College, from which she received a certificate in administrative skills in higher education administration, and Yale University as a Mellon Visiting Faculty Fellow in women's studies. Other career posts were associate dean of women at Douglass College (then the women's College of Rutgers University); executive director of the YWCA of High Point, N.C.; and director of the Everywoman's Center at the YWCA of Greater Bridgeport. She was recipient of the first Susan B. Anthony Award presented by Greater Bridgeport N.O.W., the Governor's International Women's Year Award to Distinguished Women of Connecticut and the Salute to Women Award from the YWCA of Greater Bridgeport.

She was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, where she served on the vestry.

Survivors include a son, Edward Lazaruk of Fairfield; a brother, Mack Pressley and his wife, Christine; a brother-in-law, Howard Byrum; nieces Kim Hall, Holley Cook, Julie Potts and Cindy Rossi, and nephew Michael Byrum. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. William Lazaruk, and sisters Joyce Pressley and Billie Byrum.

A burial service will take place at noon Jan. 8 in Trinity Episcopal Church, 651 Pequot Ave. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Berea College, CPO 2216, Berea, KY 40404 and the Southern Poverty Law Center, www.splcenter.org. Funeral arrangements are handled by the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road.