Evelyn Ames Billups, also known as Sallie, died June 25, 2012. She was 78.
She was born Nov. 18, 1933, in Birdsnest, Va. She was the third of George and Mary Lou Ames’ four children. During her youth, she enjoyed dancing and attending at the Weirwood and Tasley Fair with her aunt and cousins in Virginia.
She was the salutatorian of the 1951 graduating class of the Northampton County High School on the Eastern Shore. After graduation, she attended Norfolk State (now known as Norfolk University).
Billups moved to the Philadelphia area in 1952 where she resided in Yeadon and attended the Beaumont School of Nursing to become a practical nurse. On Oct. 11, 1952, she married the late James Calvin Billups of Media. The couple had three daughters, Olivia Ann, Carolyn and Marsha Lynne.
Although she lived in Philadelphia, she maintained close ties with her family. She traveled to Oyster Bay, N.Y., and Trehernville, Va., for summer vacations and to visit her parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Billups loved to travel with her adopted family (the Bullocks) to family reunions. She served on the Northampton County High School Reunion Committee and helped plan many fun filled class reunions in the Philadelphia area. At all these events she would always be found on the dance floor, doing the bop and cha-cha. Her daughters surprised her with 60th and 70th birthday celebrations, where she was the life of the party.
In 1974, Billups joined the Zion Hill Baptist Church where she served on the Women’s Day Committee, helped in the church office, served as the assistant church clerk and was president of the Inspirational Choir.
She was an avid wordsearch puzzler and could always be found sitting on her porch chatting and waving to neighbors. In her memoirs she wrote: “I loved my children and my grandson, Joel, is such a joy. I loved people and to do what was right.”
Billups was preceded in death by her brother, Davontz L. Ames.
She is survived by her daughters, Olivia Ann Cureton (Joel), Carolyn Billups and Marsha Billups; grandchildren, Joel Andrew Cureton and Carrie (Stephen) Davis; great-granddaughter, Cadence Davis; siblings, Ann Walker and George P. Ames Jr.; sister-in-law, Wendy; special cousins, Ethelyn Burnett and Victoria McNeil; and her best friend, Sally Smith.
Services will be held June 30 at Zion Hill Baptist Church, 53rd and Spruce streets. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Services will follow at 11:30 a.m. Burial is in Glenwood Memorial Gardens.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Lawrence Dent was described by loved ones as an exceptional man who lived a remarkable life in Christian faith and service. He was a man of few words, but his wisdom was profound. He was the “go-to” person when one wanted honesty and truth. He died Dec. 20. He was 85.
Dent was born on Sept. 17, 1926 to Harry and Anna Dent. He was the middle child of a family of seven. He received Christ as his personal savior at the age of 13 under the pastorate of the late Rev. Charles Carter, his uncle. It was his faith that allowed him to excel at Bartram High School and in the United States Army in the Philippine Islands. He distinguished himself by retiring from two full-time jobs for over 30 years, with the U.S. Postal Service and as a store manager for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Upon leaving the military, his Christian life’s mission was that of service to God and his wives. He married Gloria Boston, who preceded him in death, on Feb. 15, 1946. He married Cecile Stanford on Dec. 27, 2007. His other dedications were to his family, friends and community.
His family said he always set an exceptionally high standard for himself as an example of how to respect, love and revere his wife. To his children, his soft-spoken voice of reason served as his particular brand of discipline, and every child knew of his love, hopes, support and dreams for them. His family was first and foremost.
Additionally, Dent was a Prince Hall Mason at Campbell Washington Joppa and Lodge 37. He also had an appointment from the Rev. Lester McNeil to serve on the Stewart Board as a treasurer, was the baritone member of the Gospel Chorus, a member of the finance committee, instrumental for getting a copier for the church and producing Men’s Day booklets and ads for many years, served on the committee for pastoral lay preachers. He has been vice president of the Nile Swim Club and personally tried to keep it a viable entity of the community.
He is survived by his wife, Cecile; three daughters, Jewell Searcy, Patricia Wallace and Gloria Terrell; a son, Lawrence Dent; son-in-law, Leon Wallace; daughter-in-law, Victoria Scott-Dent; nine grandchildren, Lawrence Searcy, Melanie Huckabee, Courtney McCord, Michael Wallace, Lashaya Davis, Monique Cassis, Anthony Cassis, Victoria Dent and Rashawn Dent; special friends, Creighty Bivens, Helen Cropper, Brenda and Bill Gray, Karen and James Pendleton, Ursula Johnson; and a host of friends from Bethel AME Church.
Services were held Dec. 29. Yarborough and Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Clara L. Smallwood Fortune was a devoted missionary and family matriarch.
She died Feb. 18, 2012, in Mercy Suburban Hospital in Norristown following a series of health struggles. She was 91.
Fortune was born on April 8, 1919 in Indian Woods, N.C. She was the oldest of 11 children and was educated in the Bertie County School System.
She moved to Philadelphia where she met and later married Clyde Fortune, her devoted husband until his death in 1976.
Fortune attended Apex Beauty School and became a licensed cosmetologist. She was the sole proprietor of “Clara’s Beauty Salon” for more than 40 years.
She attained her associate of arts degree in education in 1978 from Community College of Philadelphia and continued to work towards her bachelor of arts in education at Temple University. Among Fortune’s many charitable endeavors was helping children of her family and friends as they entered college and when they later raised new families. Due to her unflinching dedication to education, Fortune helped to fund countless bachelor, master and doctorate degrees for young people in her family, community and social sphere.
Fortune’s parents, Willie and Clara Rascoe Smallwood; her brothers, Willie Frank Smallwood II and Herbert Smallwood; and her sister, Martha Cherry Truedale, preceded her in death.
She is survived by seven sisters and four brothers-in-law, Naomi Cherry of Portsmouth, Va.; Mollie and Arnett Teasley; Rose and Washington Harrell in Queens, N.Y.; Ruth Jones and Richard Brooker in East Norriton; Mildred Williams of Newport News, Va.; Sadie Campbell of Wynmoor; Dr. William Rice, Chesapeake, Va.; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held Feb. 23 at Cathedral Faith Full Gospel Baptist Church. A reflection memorial was held Feb. 25 at Indian Woods Baptist Church in Indian Woods, N.C. Burial is on the grounds of Indian Woods Baptist Church.
Anthony LeRoy Womack, a Philadelphia native who resided in Willow Grove, died of lung cancer on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. He was 55.
Womack, who was known to friends as Tony, was born Oct. 1, 1957 in West Philadelphia to LeRoy Womack and Elaine Vivian Spearman Womack. The family then moved on to Southwest Philadelphia.
As a teenager he began singing popular R&B songs with friends on Dover and Master streets in North Philadelphia. Music, especially gospel, became a vital part of Tony's life.
According to family members, a focus of Womack’s life was his desire to be of service to people. He played basketball, football and boxed before become a coach at the local Athletic Recreation Center in North Philadelphia. He felt a need to show youngsters the value of sports as a way to enjoy life and give back to their community. He was an avid Philadelphia sports fan and supported all the local teams. He eventually went to work for The Red Cross and then moved to providing security for Philadelphia area healthcare facilities.
"He would do anything for anyone," said his wife, the former Kimberly Carey. "If you needed him, he would be there.” Carey had six children and Womack had seven children when they married in 2010.
"He was known for his dedication to his family,” she said. “He was an amazing father and husband."
Womack, who also sang in a church choir as a teen, went on to sing with the EverReady Gospel Singers. He eventually created his own gospel group, Resurrected, with his brother Rodney. For the past three years he was a second tenor with Eugene and the Voices of Glory. His favorite gospel song was "Don't Get Left Behind":
“I would love to show you
If you'll try to understand
You need someone to lead you
To the heaven in your hands ..
Don't get left behind.”
"He was all about giving back," said his wife. "He was a very special man. He had the best sense of humor. He always made people laugh."
In addition to his wife Kim, he is survived by daughters, Phenise Stanford, Tonisha Womack, Angelique Womack, Pecola Womack and Aigner Womack; sons, Kevin Womack and James Anthony Davis; stepdaughters, Krystie Smoot, Kaitlin Yarnall and Alyssa Yarnall; stepsons, Justin Smoot, Ian Smoot and Kenny Yarnall; seven grandchildren; sisters Bonnie, Yvette, and Natalie; brothers Rodney, Raymond, Vernon and Ernest, and a host of nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at Episcopal Church of Our Savior, Homestead and Old York roads in Jenkintown. Eugene and the Voices of Glory will perform.
Michael Anthony Johnson Sr. enjoyed life to the fullest.
Johnson died May 10, 2012. He was 52.
He was born Dec. 16, 1959, to Rosalie Johnson and the late Charles Smith in Philadelphia. He was the oldest child of seven born to Rosalie Johnson.
Johnson was educated in the Philadelphia and Culpepper, Va., public school systems. He obtained a certification in cement masonry while attending Job Corps. He resided in Philadelphia with his foster parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John E. Lance until 1973. In 1973, he moved to Culpepper, Va., with his aunt and uncle, Evelyn and the late Roy Richardson. In 1978, Johnson left Virginia to attend Job Corps.
Johnson worked at Dietz Hats store in Philadelphia for many years. He enjoyed meeting and talking with people of all walks of life and helping them select the perfect hat.
While in Virginia, he was employed at the Culpepper agricultural enterprise. He was also employed at the Culpepper youth center where he was a drill sergeant and an instructor for several youth drill teams.
Johnson had many hobbies throughout his life. His favorite hobby was collecting movie memorabilia from the Lord of the Rings. He also enjoyed dancing and playing basketball and traveling with his drill team. Johnson enjoyed being with his family and friends. His family said he was a gentle soul with a kind heart. He always had a smile on his face.
Johnson is survived by his wife of 27 years, Maria Johnson; sons, Michael and Alexander Johnson; daughters, Erika Johnson and Pearl Johnson Dickerson; granddaughters, Amilya Johnson and Lana Johnson; grandsons, Michael Johnson and Tajmir Parker; mother, Rosalie Macklin; sisters, Carmella Johnson Brown and Pamela Batten; sons-in-law, Harold Brown, Jeffery Dickerson and Earl Batten; brothers, Delton, Darrell and Don Macklin; sister-in-law, Shelly Macklin; friend, Oscar Pierce; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held May 19 at Powell Mortuary Services.
Larry Felton was a mentor to many.
Felton died Feb. 22, 2012. He was 61.
Felton was born to James Felton and Dollie Morgan Felton on March 7, 1951, in Greensboro, N.C. He was the youngest of three sons.
He was educated in the Burlington public school system of North Carolina. After graduating from Walter M. Williams High School, he studied at North Carolina A&T University, where he was a great football player and pledged Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc.
He later joined the Air Force and received an honorable discharge in the late 1970s. Although he suffered from various health aliments he was determined to complete his degree. He graduated from Community College of Philadelphia with an associate’s degree in business/real estate on Aug. 25, 2004, at the age of 53. He was enrolled at Temple University pursing a bachelor’s degree.
He worked as a carpenter, salesman, welder, maintenance custodian, SEPTA train operator, chauffeur and a business manager.
On June 4, 1977, Felton was joined in holy matrimony to Cynthia White. From that union, two children were born, Lauren Cierra Felton and Larry Felton Jr.
Felton was a loving man who would do anything for his family. He loved to dance, play cards, swim, travel and sing.
He was a great mentor to many, always giving meaningful advice and willing to teach all that wanted to learn the value and benefits of hard work.
For Felton, leadership came naturally, his charisma and confidence allowed him to leap many hurdles and help many do the same. His smile could light up any room, and his keen sense of humor and witty sayings commanded people’s attention.
He was very outgoing and outspoken with a vibrant personality. Anyone who knew him knew that he spoke his mind and was a force to be reckoned with. He was a praying man and through his ups and downs, trials and tribulations, sickness and good health, he never ceased to sing his favorite song, “I Must Tell Jesus.”
His son, Larry Felton Jr., preceded him in death.
Felton is survived by his wife, Cynthia; daughter, Lauren; brothers, Billy Morgan (Johnnie Mae) and Bailey Felton (Vanessa); goddaughters, Lavea “Pam” Rhoden and Sharay Copes; aunts, Lucille Ivey and Otelia Morgan; adopted children, Richard, Nia, Joyous, Rashida and Salimah Cornitcher; special friends, Diane Parker and Bob Hickman; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held March 2 at the Church of the Redeemer Baptist. Burial was in Merion Memorial Park, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
Ivan Kimble Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Lily Irene Butler, also known as "Mommy Irene" or "Irene" was the superintendent of the New Light Beulah Baptist Church Sunday school.
Butler died March 21, 2012 at the Kearsley Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where she was a resident for more than 12 years.
She was 94.
Butler was born June 11, 1917 in Union, S.C. She was fifth child of 14 born to the late Christopher McNeal Sr. and Mazzie Foster Wilson.
Butler received her elementary education in Union, S.C. She started her spiritual journey under the leadership of Rev. Jarmon Pit in Union County, S.C. at Mt. Rowell Baptist Church where she sang on the youth choir and was the secretary for the Sunday School.
She later moved to Ashville, S.C. where she met her husband George Butler, who preceded her in death. From this union came their only daughter, Myrtle Kathryn.
She moved to Philadelphia and found her dream home in the 3300 block of North Bouvier Street where she resided for more than 47 years. During her time on Bouvier Street, she was the president of the garden club. As a member of the block club, she enjoyed time with her neighbors attending trips and playing pokeno.
Butler joined New Light Beulah Baptist Church, where she was an active member for more than 60 years until her illness prevented her from attending on a regular basis. She then became a member of the Church of the Redeemer Baptist. During her years at New Light Beulah Baptist Church, she served as assistant superintendent and superintendent of the Sunday school, sang on the choir and participated on numerous committees. She was honored during an evening of celebration for her 35 years of Christian service as the superintendent of the New Light Beulah Baptist Church Sunday School.
She served as a delegate for the church school to the Progressive National Convention and was elected president of the South Philadelphia Eastern District Congress of Christian Education. Her dedicated service afforded her the opportunity to travel to Miami, Kansas City, Houston and New York.
On Sept. 30, 1966, Butler became part of those who worked to purchase 98 acres of woodlands in Gibraltar in Berks County which is the present home of the first Black Baptist camp in the east, Camp Gibraltar. The site now has two swimming pools, cabins, indoor facilities and can seat up to 3,000.
She would go every year for its anniversary with the Sunday School, when they went camping. She continued to visit the camp even when her health began to decline.
Butler was employed by Joseph H. Cohen and Sons for 35 years as a seamstress. After retiring in June 1982, she returned to school to obtain her high school diploma. She attended Ben Franklin High School, where her daughter was a secretary. She even attended the prom with her husband against his will. She was the oldest of about 15 adults to graduate from the school's day program for adults in June of 1985, where she received a standing ovation from graduating class, faculty and administration.
During her golden years, Butler loved to travel and she traveled with her friend Leona Robinson and her sister, Mary Magdalene to places such as Alaska, London and Hawaii.
Butler loved to cook and was well known for her delicious sweet potato pies, cornbread stuffing, cream corn, biscuits and homemade ice cream. She will be remembered by her family for hosting her New Year's Day dinner.
She had a true green thumb and kept plants in every room of her house. In the spring and summertime, gigantic plants and flowers grew in her front and back yards.
She was preceded in death by her 11 siblings, Albert Shelton, Americus Vespucius, Mary Magdalene, William Alvin, Christopher Neal, Ulysses, James Arthur, McNeal J.R., Johnnie Ruth, Issac Cornelius and Harold Thomas; and great-great grandson, Justin.
She is survived by her daughter, Kathryn; three grandchildren, Monique, Claude Sr. (Theresa), Walter (Cheryl); eight great-grandchildren, Adrian, Corinne, Laurel, Matthew, Christina, Claude Jr. (CJ,) Jordan and Gabriella Irene; three great-great grandchildren, Michael, Jasmine Lily Irene and Brooklyn; two sisters, Sophie M. Burris of Jacksonville, Fla. and Mazzie L. Meadows of Detroit, Mich; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held March 30 at the Church of the Redeemer, 1440 S. 24th St. Viewing will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Services will follow at 11. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.
Pelzer Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Sarah Elizabeth Lowman, affectionately known as Aunt Beth, was a mother to many even though she never had any biological children. She shared a close relationship with the nieces and nephews who relocated to Philadelphia for a better job and educational opportunities. She also appreciated that nieces, nephews and others went the extra mile to make sure her needs were met. She died Dec. 1. She was 85.
Lowman was born on Dec. 18, 1925 to Walter and Catherine Smith of Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Lowman received her education in the Westmoreland County public school district. In 1943, upon graduation from high school, she joined her older siblings in Philadelphia. She was employed by D’Alonzo & Company as a power machine operator for more than 40 years.
Lowman accepted Christ as her personal Savior at an early age and was baptized, and attended the Salem Baptist Church in Mt. Holly, Virginia. In later years, she joined the Thankful Baptist Church under the pastorate of the late Reverend Harrison J. Trapp.
She was committed to serving the Lord and became active in several ministries: Sunday school, deaconess, pastor’s aid, trustee aids, Mission, ushers, drama and the Feeding Program. She also worked tirelessly in the kitchen by purchasing, preparing and serving food for funerals and special events.
She enjoyed attending church and showed genuine kindness and concern for the well-being of everyone. Her lifestyle was a true reflection of the “fruits of the spirit.” Through her guidance and prayers, several family members joined the Thankful Baptist Church, and she was so very proud.
Lowman leaves to mourn: many nieces and nephews: five godchildren, Dianne, Linda, Rene’, Eric and Tony as well as a host of cousins and close friends.
Services will be held Dec. 9 at Thankful Baptist Church, 1608 West Allegheny Ave. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. The service will start at 11. Ray Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Addie Belle Ford Spencer, also known as “A.B.” or “Miss Addie” was a licensed practice nurse.
Spencer died March 11, 2012. She was 108.
She was born Oct. 24, 1903, in Fairfax County, Ridgeway, S.C. She was the seventh of nine children.
Spencer was taught from an early age the value and importance of gaining an education, which she embraced fully.
After graduating as a licensed practical nurse from the Franklin Schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she worked in hospitals and as a private duty nurse for more than 30 years.
She was married to Samuel Spencer until his death in l965. Four children were born to this union, three girls and one boy.
Spencer led a very active civic life. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP, a lifetime member of the Bathsheba Chapter, No. 25 of the order of Eastern Star Prince Hall, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Deborah Grand Chapter, where she held the distinction of Past Worthy Matron.
She was a member of the Pennsylvania State Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, Inc., (the local organization referred to as the Music and Arts Club), and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
She was very active at the Hope Baptist Church in Braddock, Pa., where she served for more than 80 years. She received commendations from the church for her leadership and participation in the various other church organizations. She served as a Sunday school teacher and a deaconess. She was also a member of the Senior Missionary, the Gospel Chorus and the senior Usher Board.
She founded the “Willing Workers Organization” of the church to engage both the new members and those who were inactive. She had strong leadership and organizational skills and was gifted as a fundraiser.
While living with her youngest daughter, Rosa Lee Smith, for six years in Philadelphia, she became an affiliate member of the Berean Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. on January 9, 2000.
For the last 12 years, Spencer resided in Los Angeles with her daughter, Essie Mae Wright, where they worshipped together at the Crenshaw Christian Center.
She worked until the age of 93. Her children and grandchildren encouraged her to retire long before she was willing to do so.
For more than 20 years, she was employed as a foster grandmother working four hours, nurturing young babies. She served in this capacity at the Carlow College in Pittsburgh for students interested in Early Childhood Development. This was Spencer’s last formal employment and the position from which she retired.
Spencer’s husband Samuel; daughter, Pauline; and son, James, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters, Essie Mae Wright of Inglewood, Calif. and Rosa Lee Smith of Philadelphia; five grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
Mary Eliza Carson Baskerville was a dedicated member of Vine Memorial Baptist Church for almost 60 years, having received the church’s Certificate of Recognition in 2007, in honor of 50-plus years of service at Vine Memorial Church.
She was also fiercely devoted to her family and loved ones.
“She cared most about family and home was very important to her,” Herman Baskerville said, her son.
“She was a woman who worked [to make] home the place everybody wanted to be.”
Baskerville died Nov. 24 at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pa. She was 96.
Baskerville was born on April 23, 1915 to Lula and Ben Carson, born in Lincolnton, N.C., where she received her early education. She was third of eight children. She attended and completed certification in the School of Cosmetology in Atlantic City, N.J. Mary was a long-time employee in Philadelphia at Sears-Roebuck and John Wanamaker’s department stores.
In 1937, she wed Herman Royal Baskerville, a veteran of World War II. To this union were born two children.
Baskerville leaves to mourn: children, Sylvia Barbara and Herman Stephen; two sisters, Frankie and Carrie Lee; grandchildren, Peter Eugene Turner, Paul Eugene Turner (Mary Beth), Lennie Elizabeth Turner, Aaron Stephen Baskerville (Meghan), and Sheena Alexis Baskerville; three great-grandchildren, Claire Marie Turner, Sadie Ann Turner and Andrew Stephen Baskerville.
She was predeceased in death by siblings, George, Charlie, Ben Jr., Alene and Cletta.
Services will be held Dec. 2 at Vine Memorial BC, 5600 West Girard Avenue. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.