Wilma Jean Coker was a seamstress who specialized in elegant formal wear.
Coker died Sept. 24, 2011. She was 83.
Coker was born Aug. 15, 1928 to Elder David Wesley Young and Asliee Wilson Young in Franklin County, Ala.
She was educated in the Alabama public school system. After high school, she attended Hampton Institute in Hampton, Va.
During her undergraduate years, Coker pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served on the court of the Fidi Amici social club. She majored in home economics and received a bachelor’s degree in 1951. After graduating, Coker taught school until shortly after she married.
While in high school, she met the love of her life, Millard Paul Coker Jr. The two hometown sweethearts dated for a couple of years until they were joined in marriage on Dec. 24, 1953, in Florence, Ala. They moved to Philadelphia in 1954. From this union, a son, Millard Paul Coker III, was born.
Coker had an amazing sense of style and was a gifted seamstress. Upon settling in Philadelphia, she pursued this passion.
She started her own dressmaking business, specializing in elegant formal wear and wedding gowns. Coker was known throughout the Philadelphia fashion community for her exceptionally fine work.
For many years she was associated with boutique owner, Berta Sawyer, who, among many, sought Coker for her expertise in fashion and alterations, as well as friendship.
Coker loved family and friends. She was a devoted wife. She shared with Millard the mutual joy of socializing with friends, entertaining and preparing wonderful family meals and holiday dinners.
She actively supported his passion and participation in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. serving as a Quette. She utilized her appreciation for beautiful clothing to help organize luncheon fashion shows to benefit the fraternity’s student scholarship program, as well as her church. She was a longstanding member of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, where she served on the hospitality committee.
As a dedicated and caring mother, Coker served as the den mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop. She nurtured his talent in photography through her genuine interest in pictures, organizing a substantial collection of photographs and albums that she proudly displayed. She welcomed daughter-in-law, Maxine, to whom she was so generous. Making her wedding gown was truly a labor of love. Coker was overjoyed with the addition of her only grandchild, Allison.
In addition to sewing her beautiful outfits, she willingly volunteered at her school — baking pies, binding books, making costumes and even sewing a life-size deer for a class play.
In the months preceding her death, Coker faced the challenges of declining health with dignity and grace.
She is survived by her husband, Millard Paul Coker Jr.; son, Millard Paul Coker III; daughter-in-law, Maxine Kilson Coker; granddaughter, Allison Coker; and other relatives and friends.
A viewing will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. Saturday at Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, 6141 Greene St. Services will follow at 10. Burial is in Chelten Hills Cemetery, 1701 East Washington Lane.
Ida McKiever Burnette Patterson was a deaconess.
She died April 12, 2012. She was 102.
According to her family, Patterson lived a life inspired by the words of her favorite hymn and signature phrase, Just as I Am.
She was affectionately known as “Mom Patterson,” “Cousin Ida,” “Nana” and “Aunt Ida.” She made everyone around her feel like family.
Born June 24, 1909, to Joshua Wayman Burnette and Lucy Hodgkins Williams Burnette in Pocomoke City, Maryland, she moved with her family to Pennsylvania in 1915.
The family settled in Philadelphia’s “Black Bottom” neighborhood a predominately African-American community on the west side of Philadelphia. She grew up with her four brothers, Josh, Leon, William, John and her beloved sister, Minnie. Educated in the Philadelphia Public School System, she received her nursing assistant degree in 1967 from the National School of Nursing. On June 28, 1930, she married Samuel Jesse Patterson. Their union brought forth two sons, Samuel R. Patterson and Joseph D. Patterson.
As a young woman, Patterson joined Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church where she cultivated her spiritual gifts of worship, witnessing, and sharing the love of Christ. She served as a founding member and director of the Celestial choir. She was also a founding member of the Flower Club and served as a member of the Women’s Missionary Society, Never Fail Boosters and South Carolina Club, and was a pastor’s aide. Her commitment to God and the AME church was recognized on May 22, 1982, when she was consecrated as deaconess in the Philadelphia AME conference under the hand of Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand.
Despite her extensive involvement in church activities, her family said she will be remembered most for how the Holy Spirit, Sunday after Sunday, moved through her in fervent shouts of praise and dance.
She is survived by her sons, Samuel R. Patterson and his wife, Barbara; Rev. Joseph D. Patterson Sr., retired presiding elder AMEC and his wife, Joyce; grandchildren, Joseph Patterson Jr., Jewel Patterson, Jocelyn Patterson, Vija Robinson and Kgell Patterson; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held April 21 at Hickman Temple AME Church. Viewing will be held at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10. Burial will be in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
Options are available for Advance Bank customers who conducted business at the former Berean branch in West Philadelphia.
The Baltimore-based banking institution closed the branch, located at 5228 Chestnut Street on October 14.
Customers can still contact Advance Bank regarding their concerns about their checking/savings accounts and loans. Customers can transfer their account to the bank’s home office in Baltimore. They can also have funds wired into their account from another financial institution and their accounts can be accessed through telephone banking, online banking or at an ATM.
Customers who seek to close their account can mail their request to the bank’s headquarters at 4801 Seton Drive, Baltimore, Md., 21215.
Customers who have mortgage loans with the bank must mail their payments to: Payment Processing Center, P.O. Box 986, Newark, N.J. 07184-0986.
For customers who have commercial loans, payments can be mailed to 4801 Seton Drive, Baltimore, Md., 21215. For information about commercial loans call 1-866-550-0400.
For customers who have checking accounts, the bank will continue to honor checks as long as the account is kept open and there are sufficient funds to cover the checks.
Customers who have scheduled automatic payments from their checking accounts do not need to take action if they decide to keep the account. Customers who decide to close their account need to contact any merchant with which they have scheduled automatic payments and provide them with account information at their new bank.
Customers who have direct deposit do not need to take action if they decide to keep their account with Advance. Customers who decide to close their accounts need to contact any agency with which they have scheduled a direct deposit and provide them with their account information at their new bank.
Berean, started in 1888, was among the oldest, continuously operated African-American financial institutions in the country when financial difficulties led it to merge in 2003 with Advance, which has a similar background.
Denise Jones Fraiser, Advance Bank’s senior vice president, said bank officials are not making any further comments about the branch closure.
However in a letter to customers, Jones Fraiser outlined the bank’s reasons for closing the branch.
“Our plan when merging with the former Berean Bank was to expand within the Baltimore and Philadelphia markets. The current economic environment does not support our original expansion plans. Because of a sustained decline in our national and the local economy, and a lack of sufficient business opportunities, we made the very difficult decision to close the Berean branch and to focus on building our Maryland operations where we have a larger network of branches,” Jones Fraiser wrote.
Deposits in the branch have fallen from $44.7 million in 2003, the year of the merger, to $19.3 million in June 2010, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The branch closure comes at a time when Black-owned banks have been losing traction. The number of Black-owned banking institutions has fallen from about 54 in 1994 to less than 30 in 2011.
“There are just fewer and fewer Black-owned banks although the demographics are compelling — a growing population and more highly educated growth rate,” said William Michael Cunningham, CEO of Creative Investment Research, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based firm that specializes in minority banking.
Cunningham said Black-owned banks were hurt when mainstream banking institutions realized that African Americans had a large buying power.
“They discovered that there was a great deal of buying power within the African-American community,” said Cunningham.
“The white banks determined that they wanted to get that money,” he said, noting that these same banking institutions starting targeting African-American consumers with subprime mortgages and predatory loans.
For general Advance Bank inquiries call 1 (866) 550-0400.
Darryl Chaney served in the United States Air Force.
Chaney died Feb. 16, 2012. He was 58.
He was born Jan. 6, 1954, in Philadelphia. He was the son of former Temple basketball coach John Chaney. He was educated in Philadelphia public schools and attended Germantown High School. After graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He served his country admirably and earned an honorable discharge in 1974.
Chaney possessed a generous heart and a giving spirit. Practical and simple, he could be counted on to help in a time of need and would give the shirt of his back if that would help you. That’s just the way he was.
Family was important to Chaney. He looked forward to spending holidays and special occasions with his family or whenever he needed to see them.
His nieces and nephews enjoyed spending time with Uncle Darryl because he always made them laugh. More than that, he was just a great son, brother, cousin, uncle and friend and someone you loved being around.
He is survived by his mother, Jeanne; father, John; sister, Pamela; brother, John Jr.; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Friday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. at Oxford Presbyterian Church, 8501 Stenton Avenue. Burial is in Ivy Hill Cemetery, 1201 Easton Road. Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Michael G. Brinkley, also known as Mike, was a retired police officer.
Brinkley died March 16 at Lankenau Hospital. He was 52.
He was born Aug. 20, 1959.
Brinkley grew up in Southwest Philadelphia where he attended Overbrook High School. He served on the Philadelphia Police Department for many years and was also known as the chaplain of the Guardian Civic League.
Due to his friendly demeanor and love of people, Brinkley frequented many places.
During the summer months, you could always find him in the outside cafes and coffee shops of Center City enjoying espresso, laughing and talking to his friends.
Brinkley had a love for cars. He was rebuilding his Mustang into a show-worthy race car that he eventually planned to submit to car shows. He enjoyed making trips to car shows and speedways in the tri-state area every summer.
His parents, Leon A. Brinkley and Betty J. Brinkley, preceded him in death.
He is survived by three daughters, Torraya, Tia and Veronique; two sons, Torron and Terrell; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held March 24 at Tindley Temple Church, 750–762 South Broad Street. Viewing will be at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10.
Slater Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
When Sheila Green participates in the annual Greater Philadelphia Step Out to End Diabetes Walk, she’ll be thinking about members of her family.
For Green, diabetes hits close to home. Her husband, Clarence, was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago and her parents and mother-in-law also have the disease.
The impact of diabetes on her family motivated her to form a team of Independence Blue Cross employees who are members of the Blue Moonlighters Crochet Hookers Club.
“Since I don’t have it, I’ll be walking for them. I really got involved when it hit home,” Green said in regard to participating in the walk.
Green’s team has surpassed its goal of raising $1,000. The “Hooked on a Cure” team has brought in more than $1,500.
The 5K walk, which is scheduled for October 1, is the American Diabetes Association’s signature event that raises funds for diabetes research, advocacy and education. Last year, more than 3,500 people participated in the walk, raising more than $545,000.
After her husband was diagnosed with diabetes, Green was spurred to change the way she prepares food for her family. She’s cut back on cooking fried chicken. These days, her family eats more baked or grilled foods and salad.
“When it does hit home you tend to act on it. When you get it your whole life just changes all together,” Green says of diabetes.
Last year marked Green’s first time joining a Step Out walk team.
This year’s walk comes at a time when nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans have a more than 15 percent higher incidence of diabetes than other populations.
“It’s time to reverse this trend,” said sports legend and 2011 Step Out Walk co-chair, Billie Jean King.
“Philadelphia is a very special city to me, and I have always found this city committed to good causes like the Greater Philadelphia Step Out Walk. Diabetes is a serious disease and if we work together, we can make a difference by educating people about diabetes and committing to help those living with diabetes.”
IBC serves as the walk’s presenting sponsor.
“Our mission at IBC is to enhance the health and wellness of the people and the communities we serve,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to support the Philadelphia region’s Step Out walk as the presenting sponsor for our fourth consecutive year. Our partnership with ADA and the Step Out Walk not only helps raise the community’s awareness about America’s fastest growing disease, but also demonstrates the importance of nutrition and physical activity as the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.”
The walk begins at 9 a.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This year’s 5K route will take walkers down West River Drive and back to the Art Museum.
The upcoming event is one of more than 140 walks held across the United States. Together, more than 100,000 participants nationwide raised more than $18.4 million in 2010 to support the ADA’s mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States who are affected by this disease.
For information call (610) 828-5003 ext. 4645 or visit www.diabetes.org/stepout.
Emiza Johnson-Bey was a former food service supervisor at Philadelphia General Hospital.
She died June 12, 2012. She was 90.
She was born April 27, 1922, to the late Aaron Travis and Sidney Robert Travis in Sparta, Ga. She was the youngest of 16 children. She also had siblings named Irene and Joe Travis — the daughter and son of Aaron Travis.
She received her primary education in Phoenixville. She later received her general education diploma and a dietitian certification from Penn State College. She retired from Philadelphia General Hospital as a food service supervisor with more than 20 years of experience.
In 1939, she married Noah Johnson-Bey and from this union, seven children were born.
Johnson-Bey accepted the religion of Al-Islam and her nationality of Moorish American in 1945. She was member of Sid-Jul Mosque in Phoenixville and was a Jewel of Islam at Masjid-Allah in Philadelphia.
She was devout Muslim and was more spiritual than religious. She raised all of her children Muslim and sent them to Sunday school every week until they could decide for themselves. To her delight, they all remained Muslims.
“Everyone who met Emiza thought she was a beautiful person in spirit as well as physical beauty,” her family said.
“One of her many virtues was that she never once made negative comments regarding her sisters, brothers, family and friends. She was a loving and caring mother and family meant everything to her.”
Her family said Johnson-Bey was always willing to help someone. Her mental state was sharp until her death. She never became senile.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, Aaron, John, Joseph, Sammie, Sidney, Eubank, Frank and Issac; sisters, Georgie, Emma, Anne Dell, Lela Dixie Bert, Peggy Julia, Elizabeth and Fannie; and three sons, Noah Frank, David Lester and Travis.
Johnson-Bey is survived by her four daughters, Janet Johnson-Bey, Claudia Thorton-Bey, Roberta Sutton-Bey and Maketta Baker-Jones; 15 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren and other relatives and friends
Services were held June 12 at Masjidullah, 7701 Ogontz Avenue. Burial was in Westminster Cemetery.
Khadijah Alderman Funeral Services, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Valerie Erwin has taken a step towards propelling her business in a new direction.
As the owner of Geechee Girl Rice Café, Erwin is one of 44 women entrepreneurs who won the Make Mine a Million $ (M3 1000) business event’s pitch competition.
Held by nonprofit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the initiative is geared towards inspiring 1,000 women entrepreneurs to meet the $1 million revenue mark in 18 to 36 months.
More than 200 participants turned out for a business growth event held at Philadelphia’s Doubletree Hotel. During the program, 79 women delivered a two-minute pitch before an audience of judges where they explained why their company could grow into a $1 million enterprise. Participants hailed from as far away as California and Texas.
Erwin joins 25 business owners from Pennsylvania in winning the pitch competition including Nicole Newman, Newman Networks LLC of Lansdowne and Kimberly Cuthbert, Sweet Jazmines Pastry Shop of Berwyn.
“It was really uplifting, really helpful. I went to some of the practice pitches and everybody who makes comments always starts off whenever they are critiquing anybody with the most positive words they have,” Erwin says in regards to participating in the pitch competition.
The pitch competition was open to women business owners who have been in business for at least a year and have annual revenues of $85,000 to $700,000. The winners received a prize package that includes professional coaching and a $1,000 AmEx gift card.
Erwin turned out for the M3 program because she no longer wants to be tied to her café’s kitchen. Instead she wants to focus building other aspects of her business.
“I work in a really hands on, manual labor-intensive business. I love cooking. I love making the meals. I love talking to the customers, but realistically speaking I can’t do that forever. So I have to think about how the business can go on, while I can do something that isn’t as physically taxing,” says Erwin, who serves as her restaurant’s main chef.
She’s considering expanding her business concept to include food trucks, one of the recent trends in the food business.
The event featured keynote addresses from Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price and top media mogul and business expert Jen Groover, educational business workshops and networking opportunities.
During her address, Price spoke on the challenges of growing Carol’s Daughter to a multimillion bath and beauty product entity.
“What I found through 18 years of doing this is that the biggest hurdle, the biggest obstacle has always been myself, and it’s better for me to work on making myself a more well-rounded person, a more balanced person, a more confident person and that in turn speaks to business,” said Price.
In 2005, Count Me In and founding sponsor American Express OPEN introduced the M3 program in response to Census statistics showing that while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50 percent of privately held companies, only 2.6 percent of their businesses reported more than $1 million.
“We really saw that as a rallying cry to help provide tools and services to help women business owners grow,” said Karen-Michelle Mirko, director of Customer Advocacy Marketing at American Express OPEN.
“Unfortunately we just did a report on the state of women owned businesses and they’re still at the two percent mark — 1.8 percent, so we know more work has to be done to help women-owned businesses grow.”
“This event is the first step for these women business owners,” Mirko says of the M3 program.
“This is where they break out of their shell, they raise their hands and they say ‘I want to commit myself to making a $1 million in revenue.’ A large percentage of women entrepreneurs are sole proprietors so this is great way to get other people talking about their business.”
“We are thrilled by the eagerness of women across the country to grow their businesses, create jobs in their communities and create stability for their families and the national economy,” said Count Me In founder Nell Merlino.
According Merlino, 30 percent of M3 participants have reached the goal of $1 million in annual revenues.
For 2010 M3 Awardee, Princess Jenkins, participating in the program enabled her to develop a strategic plan for her business.
“It basically forced me to sit down and look at my business long-term and identify my business as business that could meet the $1 million mark. It became an obtainable goal,” said Jenkins, who is the owner of The Brownstone, a Harlem-N.Y.-based women’s clothing boutique.
To attain her goal, Jenkins opened a second store in Harlem, redefined the company’s branding message, revamped Brownstone’s website and launched a new catalog. This year, she returned to M3 1000 as a vendor where she was able to display Brownstone’s clothing collection.
As an M3 awardee, Jenkins was able to tap into national public relations that nettled media coverage for her business.
“The public relations was exceptional,” said Jenkins, who had the opportunity to help raise awareness of the power of women in business by joining Merlino and other M3 awardees in ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.
The new pitch winners will move to the next step of becoming M3 awardees. Each pitch winner will undergo extensive financial, business plan and professional reference reviews in order to determine their businesses potential to grow into million dollar enterprises quickly. M3 Awardees will be announced in late October.
A visit to the barbershop can evolve into a moment that changes health outcomes.
Men across the country are receiving health screenings in tandem with their haircuts through the Black Barbershop Health Outreach program.
Founded in 2007 by Dr. Bill J. Releford, a Los Angeles-based podiatric surgeon, the initiative seeks to reduce health care disparities among African-American men through screening and education particularly around the areas of diabetes, high blood pressure and prostate cancer.
After encountering many Black men who needed to have limbs amputated due to uncontrolled diabetes, Releford was spurred to take action by launching the BBHOP.
The program has visited more than 20 cities including Philadelphia, enabling about 50,000 men to receive health screenings in about 750 barbershops. By arming men with pertinent health information, the hope is that they follow up with a medical provider. Program organizers have set a goal of reaching 500,000 men by 2014.
The initiative started off by screening men for high blood pressure and diabetes at participating barbershops. Educating men about prostate cancer has been added to the mix.
“The addition of prostate cancer came not just from my interest, but because Black men in the barbershop often raised a question about it,” says Dr. Stanley K. Frencher, a Los Angeles-based urologist who teamed up with the BBHOP.
Frencher notes that Black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at 1.6 times the rate more than any other ethnic group, and they die disproportionately at two times the rate of other groups from the disease.
When men visit barbershops participating in outreach efforts, they are shown a culturally appropriate educational video about prostate cancer.
“If you look at the American Cancer Society guidelines and look at what the American Urological Association says about prostate cancer screenings — none of those organizations endorse screening per se, but what they do endorse is informing men of their choices,” Frencher noted.
“What we do is we ensure that Black men can have information that they can understand and digest, in a place that they trust,” he says.
“We inform them about the fact that prostate cancer screening is not foolproof but that they should have a discussion with their physician about their choices.”
During prostate cancer screenings, men undergo a baseline PSA (prostate specific-antigen) test, which measures proteins in the blood and a rectal exam.
The American Cancer Society noted that research has not yet proven that the benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. The ACS recommends that starting at age 50, men should talk to their doctors about the pros and cons of testing. For African-American men who have a father or a brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, these discussions should start at age 45.
The BBHOP is analyzing the impact of its prostate cancer outreach on men’s decisions to be screened for the disease.
“Some of our preliminary results show that men who didn’t understand the disease at all, now understand prostate cancer very well and changed their mind in terms of whether or not they wanted screening tests as a result of being educated about the disease,” Frencher pointed out.
Frencher recently partnered with Janssen Biotech, Inc., to raise awareness of the resources available for advanced prostate cancer patients on the website www.MyProstateCancerRoadmap.com
The BBHOP is also participating in a National Institutes of Health funded two-year project that measures the impact of the initiative on men’s health, particularly around the areas of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The initiative partners with local medical schools, civic and fraternal organizations administer the screenings and dissimilate health information at participating barbershops.
“We really believe that the way health care is going to be delivered is it’s not going to be in hospitals and clinics in the future, but rather by reaching out to people in the community where they are and getting them to embrace their health,” Frencher added.
Ruth Lucille Paige Burrell was a long-time resident and homeowner in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.
She died on April 28, 2012, of complications of lung cancer. She was 74.
Burrell was born on July 3, 1937, in Charles City, Va. As the youngest of 10 children, she was called “Baby Ruth.”
She was raised by her parents, the late Major C. and Agnes B. Paige, in a Christian home. She was baptized at an early age and worshipped with her family at the Liberty Baptist Church.
After graduating from Ruthville High School in 1956, she attended Virginia State University from 1956 to 1957. She was led to seek employment in Philadelphia where she initially worked at the John Wanamaker department store. She stayed there until 1959 when she joined the staff of the Internal Revenue Service. She married Robert A. Burrell Jr. on Jan. 14, 1961.
“Mom was a go-getter and a dedicated worker. She gained a reputation for high quality work and dependability as a tax examiner. That made her a good candidate for training staff. In fact, she was so good at it, that she traveled all around the country to train others. She received numerous awards in recognition of her achievements and service,” said her only child, Robert A. Burrell III.
Burrell retired after 33 years of service with the IRS.
Burrell’s son said she was devoted to her family and enjoyed the times that she spent with her sisters. He said she also loved to cook for the family.
“I am grateful that my Mom loved me enough to introduce me to Christ and encourage me to excel. She was small in stature but had a commanding presence in my life. She cherished her membership at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown where I got my grounding,” he said.
Burrell was preceded in death by her three brothers.
She is survived by: her son, Robert III; three grandchildren, Isaiah, Deborah and Robert IV; two brothers, John James and Major Lee Paige, both of Philadelphia; mother-in-law, Marylue Moorer; five sisters-in-law, Cassandra Weeks, Burbette Taylor, Denise Smith, Geraldine Winnegan and Cathy Fleming; one brother-in-law, Jimmy Lowe; special friends, Shereen and Isaiah Atkins; close nieces and nephews, Karen Battle, Agnes Williams, David Williams and Maurice Cottman and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held, May 11 at 11 a.m. at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 W Johnson St. Inurnment will take place at Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Walter E. Sabbath Funeral Service handled the arrangements.