Betty Rosa Spivey was a gospel pianist, vocalist, directress and arranger. In addition to her involvement in the local church community, her many talents were exposed to gospel music lovers everywhere as she accompanied various groups and singers to all parts of the world, such as Kitty Parham and the Stars of Faith European Tour, the Victory Choral Ensemble, Gloria Neal and the Ladies of Song, guest artist with the David Winslow Singers and many others. She died Aug. 25. She was 60.
Spivey was born on Sept. 26, 1950, in Philadelphia to the late Ward D. Spivey, Jr. and Helen E. Thomas Spivey. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public School District and a graduate of John Bartram High School. An avid reader of religious and socio-political issues, she attended Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Library Media Sciences. She was employed by the School District of Philadelphia and retired in April 2011 after 30 years of service. During those years, she often coordinated the music for graduation ceremonies and school plays for Alcorn and Vaux Public Schools.
Reared in a Christian home, she received her religious training from her parents and the Sunday School of Emmanuel AME Church. From an early age, she knew her Bible, taught by her late great uncle, Eugene Spivey, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Reverends John C. Spivey and Rosa Belle Spivey. She received her formal piano instruction and training from Ms. Rydonia Leecan, Mr. Howard Spivey and the late Lois W. Norris. Upon her death, she was a faithful and devoted member of Trinity AME Church in Philadelphia.
Her outstanding gift and anointing of music emerged at the age of 10 when, upon hearing her “toy with the keys,” the late Presiding Elder Arnold D. Nearn, assigned her to play at the South District Sunday School Convention. Nervous and uncertain of her talent, she majestically played her first song, “Where He May Lead Me,” which set the course for her service as a pianist and organist in God’s Church. Many were often amazed at “the little piano playing girl from Elmwood who could find anyone’s key”! Throughout her music career, others described her as “humble in spirit and generous of her gift.”
The Savior indeed led Betty to faithfully serve as musician to many beloved Church congregations, educational institutions and the entertainment field. She did not share but gave her all in celebration and love of the music ministry. Being deeply steeped in the traditions of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she loved it dearly and served God well throughout her season. The following reflects 50 years of her gift to churches and choirs for Kingdom building: Emmanuel AMEC, St. Matthew AMEC, Waters Memorial AMEC, Jones Tabernacle AMEC, Morris Brown AMEC, New Bethel AMEC of Germantown, Zion AMEC, the AME Mass Choir, Campbell AMEC, St. Phillips Methodist Church, Christian Hope Baptist Church, First District Choir of Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C., Simpson Fletcher United Methodist Church and others too numerous to name. Additionally, she rendered service to the Women’s Days of Mt. Zion AMEC, Darby, Zion AMEC, Philadelphia, Trinity AMEC, St. James AMEC, Newark, NJ and the Queen’s Contest of Women’s Missionary Society during the tenure of the late Bertha Guyton She continued to serve as AME Mass Choir Director and member of the music staff to the Philadelphia Conference and First Episcopal District AME Church until she was called to the Heavenly Chorus.
Part of her ministry to her beloved African Methodist Episcopal Church involved assisting overseas districts in social, religious and political issues. She developed a sweet fellowship with the clergy and laity of the Cape Town, South Africa (15th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church); often holding prayer and song ministry while providing rich dialogue and guidance.
Among, one of Spivey’s greatest achievements was her organization and development of Triumph, a talented group of Philadelphia gospel singers who performed across the United States. An acclaimed tour was their accompaniment of Patti LaBelle in her Look to the Rainbow Tour. She played at such places as the famous Gershwin Theater on Broadway, the Westbury Music Fair in New York, Valley Forge Music Fair and the Shubert Theater in Philadelphia.
She wrote the plays “Glass Houses,” “Where You Gonna Run?,” “Rejoicing in Hope” (with Minister Walter Stewart), and “At the Cross” one of which she planned to present after retirement. She choreographed and provided keyboard accompaniment for Don B. Welch Productions in the national plays Hallelujah Mahalia and Heavenbound. Serving as pianist and organist, she appeared in the gospel musical productions of “The Gospelers” and “Master, I Want to Live.” Traveling and performing throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the United States, she composed, recorded and arranged songs for gospel groups and vocalists everywhere.
Spivey is survived by: mother, Helen E. Spivey; sister, Marian Spivey Sudler; brother, Ward D. Spivey III; sister-in-law, Elaine Spivey; nephew, Robert L. Sudler Jr.; two adopted nephews, Maurice Showell and Reginald Graves; aunt, Geraldine McMillan; and a large host of relatives, friends, god-nieces and nephews from her years of fellowship.
A memorial service musical celebration will be held on September 10, at St. Matthew AME Church, 215 North 57th Street. It will start at noon. Congleton Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Services will be held Thursday August 2 for radio legend Joe “Butterball” Tamburro.
Tamburro died July 27, 2012. He was 70.
A cause of death was not given, however he had been battling complications stemming from diabetes and heart disease.
Tamburro was a WDAS disc jockey whose career spanned almost 50 years. His career at WDAS dates back to 1964 when he joined the station as an advertising salesman.
He is survived his wife Cynthia, five children and five grandchildren.
The funeral and holy Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 1723 Race St.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made in his name to the American Diabetes Association, 150 Monument Rd. Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 19004.
Cheryl Vernae Grant Shepherd, also known as “Cookie,” was a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In her early days in Philadelphia, Cheryl taught at Warren G. Harding Middle School and later at William M. Meredith Elementary School. She started a disciplined dance program for the students at Meredith. She was a mentor to both mothers and students.
Shepherd died on January 17. She was 61.
Shepherd was born on February 7, 1950, to Helen Grant and Daniel Martin Sr. in Harlem, N.Y. She moved to St. Helena Island, S.C., in the early 1950’s and was primarily raised by her maternal grandparents, the late William Boles Chaplin and the late Louise Capers Chaplin.
She was raised in the Christian faith. She was baptized at Ebenezer Baptist Church on St. Helena Island at an early age and became a congregation member. She lived across the road from a small prayer house where she could hear the charismatic praises going forth in songs like ‘Come On InThis House (It’s gonna rain)’ from the swing on her porch.
Shepherd graduated from St. Helena High School where she was also a drum major in the high school band. Her family said she was “fierce struttin’” as she led the band down the St. Helena roads.
She spent summers in New York City with her mother, step-father, the late Joseph Porter, and two sisters Donna and Kimberly. In her teen years, she worked at the great Macy’s on 34th Street in Manhattan as a summer job.
Shepherd later attended Spelman College, Allen University and Montclair State University where she earned her degrees and credentials in health/physical education and dance.
While at Allen University, she met Ronald Shepherd with whom she traveled and sang in the University choir.
She later moved to Newark, N.J., where she taught physical education and coached the girl’s track team at Malcolm X Shabazz High School. While there, she and Ronald married in 1974. Soon after, she moved to Philadelphia. In 1977, she and her husband welcomed their only child, Chaz Lamar Shepherd. Chaz became the joy of her life.
Shepherd also taught for a time at Freedom Theater. She started Philadelphia’s first young people’s dance company, “Lessons In Dance Studio.” There she trained Chaz but kicked him out due to “his funky attitude.” She used her son as an example to the other students, showing that no one was exempt from the expectation of excellent behavior. She was also on the board of the Annenberg Theater.
In her last days, she found joy in seeing some of the vision God gave her of her son manifest. Chaz’s life was her joy and inspiration though she had her own individual ministry beyond him. Her later joy was her “Snug-a-bug,” Harlem Sorah Shepherd, her only grandchild.
Harlem called her “Grammy” as Shepherd wished and she enjoyed her granddaughter sleeping with her and running around the house. Through her health challenges, Chaz and Harlem gave her hopeful days.
Shepherd leaves to mourn: son, Chaz Shepherd; granddaughter, Harlem Sorah; mother, Helen Porter-Spahn (William); father, Daniel Martin Sr. (Ruby); two sisters, Donna Cunningham (Stan) and Kimberly Porter’s three brothers, Daniel Martin Jr.(Reba), Max Martin (Kim) and George Robert Chaplin; one niece, three nephews and a host of loving relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 26, at Mt. Enon Baptist Church, 500 Snyder Ave. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Waller Robinson Gray Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
George E. “Butch” Ballard, was a drummer with big bands.
As a kid growing up in Frankford, Ballard followed the American Legion parades through his neighborhood, and would march along with the drummers. His father gave him a set of drums he bought from a pawnbroker when Ballard was only 10.
Ballard took drumming lessons for 75 cents a session, and by the time he was 16, was allowed to sit in on the Herb Thornton Band, which he heard playing at the Philadelphia Boys Club. From there, he went on to perform with some of the biggest jazz artists of his era, and was still swinging at 90.
Ballard died on Oct. 1 at the age of 92.
Ballard was born in Camden and grew up in Frankford. He attended Northeast High. He married his wife, Jessie, in 1940.
After performing with a band in Philadelphia, Ballard, at the age of 19, began playing with Louis Armstrong’s band, the Dukes.
Three years later, he moved to Harlem — taking the A Train, of course — and joined the band of Cootie Williams, Duke Ellington’s former trumpeter. Singers with the band included Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Pearl Bailey.
During World War II, Ballard joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific with the 29th Special Construction Battalion (Seabees). He also played in a military band.
After the war, he got gigs in New York with Armstrong, Illinois Jacquet and Ellington’s son Mercer.
In the late ‘40s, Ballard joined Count Basie’s Orchestra when Basie’s drummer, Shadow Wilson, left to play with Woody Herman.
In 1950, he turned down Duke Ellington. Ellington had contacted him to back up drummer Sonny Greer, who was not always reliable.
Ballard became Greer’s backup, but when Ellington asked him to permanently replace Greer, he refused. He said he didn’t want to change his drumming style to suit Ellington, who favored double bass drums.
Although Ellington hired Louie Bellson as his permanent drummer, Ballard continued to play occasional sets with the Duke in 1952 and 1953. He was the drummer on the classic “Satin Doll.”
Ballard also found time to be involved with politics in Frankford, where he was Democratic leader of the 23rd Ward. He also was a sought-after percussion teacher.
Over the years, he played with jazz legends John Coltrane, Fats Waller, Bootsie Barnes, Cat Anderson, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Eddie Vinson, Arnett Cobb and Clark Terry.
Ballard is survived by: son, Brenton Randolph; a brother and sister; and three grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife.
Services were held October 10 at Second Street Baptist Church of Frankford.
–The Philadelphia Daily News contributed to this report.
Bishop Dewitt A. Burton was the founder and senior pastor of the Tower of Pentecost Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia.
Burton died Thursday, March 14, 2013. He was 97.
He was born July 4, 1915 to Georgia Burton and the Rev. John H. Burton on the Choctaw Nation in McCurtain County, Ok.
Burton was the oldest of two children. In 1929, the family moved to Wilmington, Del. Burton was educated in the Wilmington public school system. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown. He also attended Lincoln University where he received training in sacred scripture, theology and religious practice. In 1985, Burton received an honorary doctorate from the Interdenominational Theological Center, C.H. Mason Seminary in Atlanta, Ga.
Burton founded his first church, Church of God in Christ of Winston Salem, N.C. in 1934. In 1939, Burton was appointed pastor of Emanuel Church of God in Steelton. He pastored the Emanuel Church for more than 40 years. During that period, he concurrently pastored the Reid Temple, Church of God in Christ in East Orange and the Garden of Prayer, Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia.
His family said the Emanuel and Reid Temple pastorates were great moments in his life. With them, he took a small band of willing workers in small quarters and built two of the most beautiful edifices of Christian worship in the Church of God in Christ.
In 1965, Burton was consecrated bishop and he accepted the responsibility of establishing the Eastern Jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Conference of the Church of God in Christ. In the same year, he was appointed assistant general secretary of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. Eight years later, Burton was unanimously elected to the position of general secretary of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.
Burton made a significant number of accomplishments in the Church of God including serving as national secretary of disbursements, national secretary of Elders’ Council, national secretary of Bishop’s Council, national secretary of the General Assembly and a member of the original Constitutional Committee.
He was the founder of the Hospital Fund of the National Church of God in Christ, co-founder of the C.H. Mason Seminary, Atlanta, Ga. and chairman of the Judiciary Board for Bishops’ Council.
The local jurisdictional service will be held March 21 at Tower of Pentecost, 7485 Briar Road. The viewing is 5 p.m. Services will follow at 7 p.m.
The national service will be held March 22 at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, Stenton and Ogontz avenues. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Robert Samuel King was born in Philadelphia on Oct.16, 1921. He was the second of four children born to the late Samuel James and Hermine Mary King (nee Zimen). He died on April 19, 2012 after a brief illness.
Educated in the Philadelphia public school system, he attended Overbrook High School. There he excelled in math and science (with a keen interest in physics) and graduated in 1939. This is also where he met his high school sweetheart and devoted lifelong companion, Rosalie Olivier.
Following graduation, King was drafted into the military in 1943 and served his country during WW II as a member of the Army Combat Engineering Corps. He was involved in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, the Rhineland campaign, campaigns in Central Europe and was serving in the Pacific Theater in the Philippines at the end of the war. While in the Army, he was selected for an elite training group, called the Army Specialized Training Program, a new training program created to prepare Black enlisted men for promotion to officer status. It was the first such program of its kind at the time. As officers were required to have a college degree, the Army sent King and the others to West Virginia State College, where he studied engineering. After participating in this groundbreaking opportunity, he once reflected that his colleagues in this program were, “the finest group of Black men he could ever imagine.”
It was an experience that changed the course of his life. He held various positions of rank including Staff Sergeant/Communications Chief, and achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant before he was honorably discharged in February of 1946.
Honoring an old promise, King married the love of his life, Rosalie Ernestine Olivier, on Aug. 21, 1949. The happy couple was blessed with two daughters, Rev. Gwendolyn S. King and Nancy G. King-Strand (deceased).
He took full advantage of the GI Bill and matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics in 1956. He also pursued graduate studies at Temple University.
As a civilian, King was employed as an insurance underwriter at the Veterans Administration and an inspector for the Philadelphia Ordnance District, before joining the Naval Air Engineering Laboratory and Engineering Center in 1956. In joining NAEC, Bob fulfilled his dream to become a nuclear physicist, which had been a personal goal of his since high school. During his 18-year tenure, he worked for the center as a supervisor and supervisory mechanical engineer. He ultimately became Ship/Aviation Systems Section Supervisor in the Weapons/Ship Branch of the Naval Air Engineering Center Engineering Department. In 1974 he became Affirmative Action Officer for the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and served there both as Director of Development and Director of Student Affairs until 1981.
A natural leader, whose intelligence, wit, and clarity of vision were recognized by many, King responded graciously and without hesitation to the call of service in his community. In 1969, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the University City Science Center. During that time he also served as a director of the West Philadelphia Corporation and as a member of its executive committee; and carried memberships in American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS).
His other community involvements were extensive and included; president, West Philadelphia Bicentennial Committee; Executive Board, Garden Court Community Association; Board of Directors, Keystone Automobile Club; Regional Advisory Board of Directors, AAA; Board of Trustees, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital; President of the Board, Stephen Smith Towers; Board of Directors, Citizens Crime Commission of Philadelphia; Board of Directors, Presbyterian Medical Center; and Chairman of the Board and President, Berean Savings Association (the oldest black bank in the country). King also joined the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council for Higher Education in 1974 as a consultant and executive secretary.
King’s commitment to education was one of his greatest hallmarks and raisons d'être. In 1968, he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Philadelphia. When he became Chairman of the Board in 1972, he worked tirelessly when the college obtained the former U.S. Mint building to develop a permanent campus for its students. He devoted himself nearly full time to the college as the new campus began to take shape. In an interview shortly before the move to the new campus, he said,”CCP is the nearest thing to a city college that this city will ever have. I feel fortunate to be part of making it happen.” Through his tireless dedication, he made a difference in the lives of many, providing an opportunity for them to access affordable education. In September 1984, CCP honored King for his selfless and untiring service by creating the Robert S. King Scholarship, a two-year award given annually to 20 outstanding high school graduates from the Philadelphia region, many of whom might have had trouble affording this opportunity without it.
King often wore the mantle of leadership in many of his social affiliations as well. They include: President, Bullhorn Toastmasters’ Club (NAEC), Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Zeta Omicron Lamda Chapter; Vice President then President, Ole Philadelphia Club; Financial Secretary then President, Frontiers International, Philadelphia Club; Member, Philadelphia Seminar; President, Viri Viginti Club; Member, Philadelphia Seminar; Member, NAACP.
Not only life partners, Robert and Rosalie King were a team whose commitment to improving education often carried them into service together. Together they served as president and vice president of the H.C. Lea Home and School Association, as well as co-chairs of the Parents Committee at Gettysburg College.
For King, family came first. Whether it was a school play, concert, special event, ceremony, or Grandparents’ Day, if it involved his girls or another family member, you could count on him and Rosalie to be there. He never missed an opportunity for family to gather, especially around a shared meal, or to just to have fun. He had a great sense of humor, with a wry, impish smile and poker face that served to help him lovingly carry out many a jest on an unsuspecting subject. He was also a wonderful storyteller.
King was a devoted husband, a loving and generous father and grandfather, a caring uncle and cousin, and a loyal friend and colleague. A committed family man, he treasured as well time spent with his siblings Elwood, Eleanor Carter King and Frances King Vaughan (all of whom preceded him in death).
He loved the outdoors and spent many summers as a youth in Princess Anne, Md., playing and working with his cousins, aunts and uncles. He loved to travel, especially vacations with his family. He also liked camping and traveled across country with his family so his girls could see the beauty and wonder of the U.S. and Canada. Later in life, he and his wife toured the world extensively. Whether revisiting areas where he served during the war, to his mother’s homeland in Eastern Europe, or to see the Pyramids in Egypt, where he and his wife rode camels, King was passionate about travel and learning about local customs. Gardening and photography were his avocations. Also a voracious reader, he would keep up with the latest happenings and issues in politics, finance, science, higher education and medicine, to name a few subjects.
He was a humble man of integrity and faith, who had a quiet, reserved demeanor that belied his wit, his piercing intelligence, and his ability to get things done. As a leader, he made a difference in the lives of all with whom he came in contact. He was a capable and willing mentor to many, encouraging them along their life’s journey to realize their potential and vocations.
Robert leaves to celebrate his life: his devoted wife of 62 years, Rosalie E. King; his daughter, Rev. Gwendolyn S. King; his granddaughter, Ashlie A. King-Bratton; his grandson, Derek Robert E. King-Bratton; his great-grandson, Jaylen Ashur Holland; his first cousin, Beulah E. Johnson, his sisters-in-law, Sydney E. King and Leola M. Williams, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Homegoing services will be held April 27, 2012 at St. Phillips Evangelical Lutheran Church, 53rd Street and Wyalusing Avenue, Philadelphia at 11 am. There will be a viewing will be prior to the funeral service from 9:00 am until 11:00am. Interment will be at Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the Robert S. King Scholarship Fund – Community College of Philadelphia.
Dolores Marie Williams was always the “go-to” person. She experienced every inch of life in the time she was here and had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica and Brazil during the later part of her life. Williams died on December 2. She was 54.
Williams was born in on June 28, 1957, in Portland, Ore., to Charles and Loretta Williams. She was described as always a happy, outgoing child. She loved to perform as she always had big dreams.
Williams was raised in North Philadelphia with her older sister Claudia and her little brother Anthony. She spent her childhood on Napa Street, creating bonds with dear friends who remained in her life forever. She was a faithful member of the Jackson 5 Fan Club.
Williams had an ability to understand how to navigate through various areas of life. She began Women Organized to Motivate, Empower and Nurture (W.O.M.E.N.) Inc. in 2004 and inspired a collective effort with her sister Claudia and sister-friends to develop and empower themselves and others.
Her family said she was a fascinating person. She had an extraordinary ability to connect instantly with people she met. She was open and honest. Family was very important to her. She believed in festive environments and celebration. She loved exquisite things and believed life should be lived to the fullest. She loved to sing, loved to laugh and was a devoted line-dancer.
She was also a part of the Phyllis Wheatley Lodge’s Top Cats Drill Team. In addition to modeling, she performed in a local production of “Hello Dolly.” Dolores played Irene Malloy and the whole cast was invited to New York by Pearl Bailey.
Williams went on to graduate from J.W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in 1974. When Williams was young, she wanted to be a lawyer and attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). However, she began working and married in 1977, giving birth to Jacquelyn Marie Tisdale in 1979 and Stephanie Joy Tisdale in 1983.
Williams was a devoted mother. She experienced the joys of motherhood early on and spent her entire life dedicating her energy to the ones she called “My Girls.”
Her family said she would sew them pretty dresses, make them fresh foods, and devote her time and energy to nurturing their spirits.
Their education was most important to her and she always supported their academic and extracurricular activities as well as their spiritual and emotional development. She had a natural ability to guide and support her children and the life they now lead is a reflection of her extraordinary character.
In the early 80s, she joined Christian Stronghold Baptist Church and began to use her gifts through evangelism and prison ministry.
Williams always wanted to live outside of the box and was determined to achieve her professional and life goals.
She went from working at Temple Hospital to working in housing and property management, helping to sustain housing opportunities for low-income families. She worked throughout the city with Tenant Action Group, Haddington Townhomes and later Montgomery and Abbotsford Homes.
While her girls were still young she began taking classes at Temple University and was determined to pursue her dreams of a college education.
She was admitted to Southern New Hampshire University’s Masters of Science Program and graduated with an M.S. in Community Economic Development in 2002. She also made Triumph Baptist Church her new spiritual home during this time and continued to study and deepen her relationship with God.
Williams organized the first holiday gift fundraiser at the Overington House, a transitional living facility for homeless women and children, and commissioned the creation of a mural of empowerment within the facility.
During this time, she also began nurturing another dream: New Beginnings Financial Services. Growing from the idea of self-transformation, New Beginnings included a framework for life-coaching, parenting-development, financial wellness, and community empowerment workshops.
New Beginnings was established in 2009, as a Credit Education and Sustainability Coaching Consultant Group, specializing in providing educational services and supporting the personal financial literacy needs of the people who are facing bankruptcy; countless clients would later testify to her intelligence and solution strategies.
Williams also began to explore her interest in real estate. She decided to move to Charlotte, N.C. and attended real estate school while living away from home for the first time.
In Charlotte, she was fearless in her new surroundings and continued to expand her network of friends and associates.
She also began to experience deeper moments of reflection and transformation. She began to study the “science of the mind” and started to learn more about herself, her past and what she wanted her future to be.
She returned to Philadelphia and began to continue on her journey of spiritual awakening and understanding. Upon her return from Charlotte, she joined Enon Baptist Church and received the Right Hand of Fellowship on her birthday in 2011.
Williams leaves to mourn: children, Stephanie Joy Tisdale and Jacquelyn “Zahrah Aya” Tisdale; parents, Charles and Loretta Williams; siblings, Claudia Gordon and Anthony Williams; sister-in-law, Pamela Williams and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and cousins.
Services were held on December 10 at Triumph Baptist Church. Lenwood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Dr. Wayne P. Weddington Jr. was an otolaryngologist with the Albert Einstein Medical Center.
He died May 6, 2012, following a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
He was the second of four children, born to the Rev. Wayne P. Weddington Sr. and Amanda Lee Weddington on Dec. 24, 1936, in McGehee, Ark.
In 1954, following graduation from Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Ark., Weddington was awarded a full, eight-year, medical scholarship from the Reliable Life Insurance Company of St. Louis, Mo.
He married Dolores Jean Johnson in December 1957.
Weddington enrolled at what was then Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff (now University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff) and graduated in May 1958. He enrolled in the Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and graduated with his medical degree in 1963.
He enlisted and completed his medical internship as a member of the United States Air Force. After completing tours of duty in Vietnam and Thailand, he was honorably discharged with the rank of captain in 1968.
Weddington and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1968 as he completed his residency at Temple University Hospital.
He established a board-certified ear, nose and throat practice in Philadelphia, which he maintained for decades until 2005. He became chair of the department of otolaryngology at Germantown Hospital. In 2005, he joined a medical group at Einstein Medical Center.
Weddington was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and past commodore of the Northstar Yacht Club. He was an avid fisherman and hunter.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Emaluise Weddington Cann and Gwendolyn K. Bailey.
He is survived by his wife; three children, Pamela, Wayne III and Brian Weddington; grandson, Perrin Weddington B. Tomlin; sister, June Weddington Fucles; and nephew, Clement Cann.
Services will be held May 15 at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson St. Viewing will be at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. The service will be followed by a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ceremony. Burial will be in Washington Crossing National Cemetery, Newtown.
In memory of Weddington, donations can be made to the Howard University Alumni Association, 2225 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20059 or the American Cancer Society.
Louise E. and William W. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Hazel Elizabeth Wadlington was born in Merchantville, N.J., to Mathilda Woodards and John W. Woodards Sr. on June 16, 1920. She died on April 24, 2012, at age 92.
Wadlington attended the Merchantville public school system and attended Temple University, majoring in early childhood development. She was wed to Eugene Elmore Wadlington and raised six children: Rashida Raheem, Linda Wadlington (deceased), Kenneth Wadlington, Curtis Wadlington, Cheryl Ann Wadlington and Jean Francis.
Wadlington worked at Veterans Administration and Philadelphia School District; the Philadelphia Naval Yard in the 1940s and as a teacher’s aide at Hickman Temple Daycare and Learning School. Wadlington was a member of Philadelphia Chapter of NAACP and took part in the original March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Wadlington was a longtime volunteer and donor to veterans’ causes and a member of Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church in West Philadelphia. She received the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award in the 1960s for selfless service to others. She was instrumental in integrating John Bartram High School in the 1960s, which made national news. Wadlington was a member of the Parent and Teacher’s Association (PTA) at Bryant Elementary School and held meetings at her home. Along with help of the late state Sen. Hardy Williams, who was a lawyer at the time, they took action, which forced the Philadelphia School District to build Add B. Anderson Elementary School so that children who lived below Cedar Avenue would not have to walk far to attend school. Wadlington and other women actually put their baby coaches and lawn chairs in the streets and blocked traffic in protest to force the change they wanted and eventually made happen.
Wadlington served as a coordinator for the March of Dimes and opened up her home to serve as a drop-off headquarters for donations. She opened up the first soup kitchen at Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church in the 1990s against resistance of people who did not want to have a soup kitchen at the church — they fought her and said that no poor people lived in the area. Yet, on the first day the soup kitchen opened they ran out of food, due to the large numbers of people that turned out who were in need of food assistance.
“I am comforted that she lived 92 years on this earth,” said her daughter and fashion journalist Cheryl Ann Wadlington. “And she lived a good life. She was the God-fearing matriarch of substance and style who made me the humanitarian and fearless diva fashionista I am today. I was so blessed to have her as my mom. I celebrate her victorious life.”
In addtion to her children, Wadlington is survivied by her brother, John Woodards Jr., a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
The home-going service for Hazel Elizabeth Wadlington will be held May 5 at 11 a.m. at Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church, 600 South 61st St. A viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Interment will be at Merion Cemetery, 59 Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwd.
Don Wilson was a noted jazz musician and retired Philadelphia police officer.
Wilson died May 17, 2012, at Chestnut Hill Hospital. He was 76.
He was born April 4, 1936, in Philadelphia.
His family said he was a musical genius and was often referred to as “maestro” because of his great musical abilities and keen sense of tone. He was able to play any song upon request and his playing would make the worst singer sound good.
Wilson was always interested in arranging and rearranging music from gospel in church to classics, to jazz and popular music. He began playing piano at an early age.
In addition to playing the piano, Wilson began studying trumpet with the renowned Ed Wynne and Sigmund Herring. Later he studied with Tony Marcione and Danny Forlono.
Wilson’s interest in writing, arranging and composition continued to flourish. He studied with Denny Sandoli and Jack Ebbert. He began writing for small recording groups as well as playing with the Tommy Monroe Big Band and others. The members of this band included great names including John Splawn, Johnny Coles, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Bobby Timons, Albert (Tootie) Health, Reggie Workman, Archie Shepp and many others. He also backed many musicians who played in the Philadelphia area and needed a rhythm section, including Sonny Stitt, Paul Quientetche, Art Farmer, Dizzy Reese and Harold Vick.
Wilson started his own big-band which played concerts and performed at dances and special recitals with his original compositions and arrangements from 1975 and well into the 1980s.
The big-band played social and private affairs from New York to Washington, D.C., and performed in many of the Atlantic City casinos including Harrah’s, Bally’s, Showboat Resorts and the Golden Nugget.
Wilson was the musical director of the Philadelphia Clef Club. He also led the Clef Club Band in Philadelphia’s Department of Recreation concerts. He arranged and conducted the band through a series of concerts and performances.
During the 1990s, while serving as the Clef Club’s music director and conductor of the big-band, Wilson arranged and conducted a series of concerts featuring Jimmy Heath, Benny Godson, Toshiko Akiyoshi and James Moody — all giant composers and performers in the jazz world.
Wilson was employed for more than 23 years as a Philadelphia police officer. For 18 years, he played trumpet in the police and firemen’s concert and marching band. He also played piano for the “Police Pastimers,” a group created to represent the police department and the city of Philadelphia at many important functions.
He also taught jazz, piano techniques and improvisation at Temple University, two days a week. One of his greatest loves was teaching advanced piano and music theory, and arranging at the Mount Airy Cultural Center, Inc. (MACC), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and appreciation of jazz music to youth and young adults on Saturday mornings.
Wilson received many awards for his musical accomplishments and was a member of the Optimist Club International. He could be found at LaRose Jazz Club on Monday nights playing with the Tony Williams Trio and on Thursday evenings playing at the Prime Rib Restaurant located in the Radisson Warwick Hotel in Center City, Philadelphia.
His family said Wilson was a delight to all who knew him. He had the ability to make everyone feel special and always took the time to work with musicians of all ages, providing all an opportunity to play and showcase their talents, his family said.
Wilson is survived by his wife, Jackie (Billman) and two sisters, Alice Womack and Ursula Hendricks.
Services will be held May 24 at the Kirk & Nice Funeral Home, 80 Stenton Avenue, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Viewing will be 8 a.m. Services will follow at 10. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Mount Airy Cultural Center of Philadelphia.