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.
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.
Marie Blocker was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and her career spanned four decades before she retired from Pennsylvania State Hospital in 1986. She was described as loved and respected by everyone who knew her. She died October 10. She was 96.
Blocker was born on April 2, 1915, in Tennelle, Ga. to the late Hickory T. Johnson and Mary B. Hunt. One of 14 children, she grew to love the sounds of a full house surrounded by family.
Blocker was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system where she developed a love of reading.
She married Gus Blocker on September 22, 1932. From this union, seven children were born. Loved ones said there wasn’t a selfish bone in her body. She always greeted everyone with joy and a smile. She never complained and was never judgmental or intrusive — but if you asked for her opinion, she would gladly share her wisdom and was seldom wrong.
Blocker is survived by: two daughters; Rosalie and Jacqueline; son, Tyree; daughters-in-law, Janice and Clarice; and son-in-law, Bernie.
Services will be held October 18 at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, 1901 West Tioga St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
WASHINGTON — William Raspberry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and one of the most widely read Black journalists of his generation, died Tuesday July 17. He was 76.
Raspberry had prostate cancer and died at his home in Washington, his wife, Sondra Raspberry, told The Post. A Post spokeswoman confirmed his death.
Raspberry, who grew up in segregated Mississippi, wrote an opinion column for the Post for nearly 40 years. More than 200 newspapers carried his column in syndication before he retired in 2005.
He won the Pulitzer for commentary in 1994, becoming the second Black columnist to achieve the honor. His columns covered topics including urban violence, the legacies of civil rights leaders and female genital mutilation in Africa.
Raspberry started at The Post in 1962 as a teletype operator and began working as a reporter within months. In 1965, he covered the riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles, and he began writing a column on local matters a year later.
At the time, the only nationally syndicated Black columnist in the mainstream media was Carl Rowan. Raspberry's column moved to The Post's op-ed page in 1970.
"Bill Raspberry inspired a rising generation of African-American columnists and commentators who followed in his path, including me," said Clarence Page, a Pulitzer-winning columnist with the Chicago Tribune.
Although he considered himself a liberal, Raspberry's moderate, nuanced positions on issues including civil rights and gun control garnered criticism from both the right and the left. He was especially concerned with the problems of ordinary people. He told Editor & Publisher magazine in 1994 that reporters could "care about the people they report on and still retain the capacity to tell the story straight."
He taught journalism for more than 10 years at Duke University. A collection of his columns, "Looking Back at Us," was published in 1991.
The son of two teachers, Raspberry was born in 1935 in the northeastern Mississippi town of Okolona. He attended Indiana Central College, now the University of Indianapolis, and joined The Post after a stint as a public information officer with the Army. -- (AP)
Charles Norton Smith II served 32 years in the military.
Smith died Oct. 9, 2011, after an illness. He was 87.
Smith was born in Philadelphia on Dec. 12, 1923, to the late Charles N. Smith and Marie Smith. He was the oldest of five children, Kenneth, Doris, Gloria and Lloyd.
He attended Philadelphia public schools and was drafted into the Army during World War II. While in the service, he was promoted to serve in the Air Force.
After serving in the military, he later volunteered at the polls in his division.
In 1943, he married Mamie “Marie” Evans.
Smith worked at the Postal Service, Budd and Signal Corp. He retired from the Social Security Administration at the age of 55. Smith was also a licensed barber. His father owned a barbershop in the Somerville section of Philadelphia. He often jokingly boasted of cutting Bill Cosby’s hair —for free — before Cosby began famous.
A devout Christian, Charles accepted the Jesus as his personal savior and was baptized at Providence Baptist Church where he served the Lord as a faithful member, trustee and soloist for the Singing Men Choir.
He studied the Bible daily either on his own, with his daughters, at Providence’s Tuesday evening Bible studies, or at the Center in the Park’s Tuesday afternoon classes. He loved learning about Paul’s teachings and travels. His favorite scripture was II Chronicles 7:14.
Smith was a devoted husband and family man. He and his wife, Marie, had three daughters and were happily married for 63 years. They traveled the world together and often attended social gatherings and fundraisers.
They celebrated their 60th anniversary by renewing their wedding vows at Providence. Smith lovingly sang “You Are So Beautiful to Me” to his bride in their 60th anniversary wedding video.
Smith cherished family gatherings and brought love, joy and laughter to his family. He was known to the family as the “world’s best packer.”
He could fit virtually any amount of suitcases, boxes, etc. into the smallest trunk, a skill that came in handy for trips to Virginia for family reunions. He was also known for having a terrific memory, delivering witty one-liners, and supporting Philly’s sports teams. In recent years he enjoyed watching his great-grandchildren play.
Smith is survived by his daughters, Dianne, Dionne, and Deborah; grandchildren, Keith, Loree, Shawn (wife, Sylvia), Blaine (wife, Latusha) and Mario; and great-grandchildren, Corey, Maya and Courtney; nephew, Larry; and other family members and friends.
Wayne P. Weddington Jr. was an otolaryngologist who practiced at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
He was an avid fisherman and hunter.
Weddington died May 6, 2012, of cancer. He was 75.
He was born Dec. 24, 1936, in Pine Bluffs, Ark. He obtained his medical degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1963. Following medical school, he served five years in the U.S. Air Force.
Weddington completed his residency at Temple University Hospital. After serving in the Air Force, he established a board-certified ear, nose and throat practice in Philadelphia, which he maintained until 2005. In 2005, he joined a medical group at Einstein Medical Center.
Weddington was a lifelong member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and past commodore of the Northstar Yacht Club.
Services are pending. Arrangements will be handled by Savin Funeral Home.
Services will be held Oct. 19 for Reynold Thomas Corbin.
Corbin died Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 from a heart attack. He was 46.
He was born May 18, 1966. Corbin was educated at Brooks Elementary for grades first through sixth and then Austin Meehan for grades seven through eighth. His family moved to Chicago and Corbin finished has high school years at Grover High School where he graduated ninth in his class.
Corbin earned his Associate’s degree in business and finance from Southern University. He met many friends at college who helped him earn a position at Hertz. He enrolled in Tulane University and earned a degree in business.
Services will be held at Tyree A.M.E. Church, 38th and Hamilton streets. Viewing is at 9 a.m. A jazz tribune will be held at 10:30 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Chelten Hills Cemetery.
Michael George McCleary Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Charles S. Gibson owned a real estate business.
Gibson died July 10, 2012, of advanced heart disease. He was 85.
“He was a husband, father, family man, worker and landlord who took all these roles seriously and faced life with fortitude and conviction,” his family said.
He was born to Mable Camille Fitzpatrick and Joseph Saint Clair Augustus Gibson on March 15, 1927, and was the eldest and last remaining of five boys, Lionel, Ken, Lloyd and Raymond.
Gibson was baptized at the Episcopal Church at Saint Thomas. He was educated at Kato Middle School, which is now the Paul Robeson High School, at 43rd near Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia. He also attended Dobbins Technical School, where he excelled in sheet metal work. With the encouragement of his cousin, Enid, he later attended Lincoln Prep.
Due to heart problems as a child, Gibson did not join his brothers in running track and field. Instead he spent hours constructing model airplanes which developed into a passion for all things having to do with flight, aeronautics and engineering.
After being inducted into the Army during the Korean War, Gibson’s interest in aviation lead him to work at Vertol, Aircraft, Isekki Aircraft — he peaked with a 13-year career at General Electric Corporation – Re-entry Division in West Philadelphia as a part of the country’s space initiative. He was sent to Cape Canaveral as a part of a support crew. After retiring from General Electric with commendations and awards, Gibson worked at the Federal Reserve Bank, where again, he was an exemplary employee and made many life-long friends. Later in life he became an avid reader.
He married Jessie Mae Gibson in the spring of 1951 and remained married for 55 years. Their union produced two children, Claudia Helene and Tracy Charles. The children were raised at their home on 49th Street in West Philadelphia, which became a showpiece of Gibson’s own workmanship and construction skills. He took the family to Canada, the World’s Fair in New York and on several camping trips.
Gibson was a devoted and dedicated family man and father who strongly instilled the work ethic in his children and in others who knew him. Once asked what his life’s credo was he answered: “work, work, work.” Known to his cousins as “Nipper,” he was a stabilizing agent in his immediate and extended family. He encouraged the education of his children and grandchildren. Gibson and his wife successfully urged both children to complete college educations. The graduations of his grandchildren were extremely anticipated and joyful events.
Gibson and his wife operated a real estate business. Gibson loved his St. Clair apartments located in University City.
His family said most of his tenants considered him “one of the best landlords that ever existed,” because he was quick to respond to problems with his buildings and ensured the building’s “curb appeal” was more than adequate.
His life became a relentless struggle and balancing act to refurbish and improve the buildings he owned, extend his real estate holdings through purchases, maintain a “day” job and provide for his wife and family.
Gibson loved his community and became a role model for many young men, teaching them skills in carpentry, electronics, bricklaying, house painting and plumbing. In his younger years, French Creek and Fairmount Park were a few areas he would visit to enjoy nature with community youth and other adult leaders in the neighborhood. For many young people, Gibson became a surrogate father.
Gibson was preceded in death by his wife.
In addition to his children, Gibson is survived by his son-in-law; Dr. Keith Hunter; four grandchildren; Kamau, Anoa, Thandiwe and Muata; his senior cousin, Ruby, his faithful friends Sheridan and Joe; his companion, mentee and caregiver Beverly McCullough, and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held July 20 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Avenue. Viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery.
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.
Louis Davis Sr., affectionately called Lou, was awarded an American Theater Ribbon and a World War II Victory medal. He actively participated in American Legion Post 110. He matriculated as an electrician, a musician and attended school for culinary arts. Davis died November 20. He was 84.
He was employed at the Fans Theater, the Philadelphia Sanitation Department, the Docks, the Navy Yard and the Pyramid Bar. He was a proprietor of several newspaper stands and the corner store on the 600 block of Preston Street.
Davis was born on February 16, 1927 to Marion and James Davis in Philadelphia. He and his siblings were baptized at Penn Memorial Baptist Church. Later in life, he joined Community Baptist Church. He was educated in the Philadelphia School System. He served in the Army Air Corp from 1945 to 1947.
Davis married Marie Barber on September 12, 1948. From this union, three children were born, Louis Davis Jr., Richard Davis and Rev. Marian Mitchell.
Davis leaves to mourn: children, Louis A. Davis Jr., Richard A. Davis, Allan Lloyd and Rev. Marian C Mitchell; son-in-law, Pastor Ernest Mitchell III; daughters-in-law, Lucy Martin and Joanne Sills; grandchildren, Malcolm Louis Davis, Ernest Mitchell IV, Bree Martin, Ernisha C.M. Mitchell and Marissa Christa Mitchell; great-grandchildren, Brier Torrence and Dasia Marie Mitchell; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Sara Young, Rose Smith, Barbara Barber, Marian Barber, Eugene and Peggy Brown, and Richard and Brenda Brown; a host of loving nieces and nephews; grandnieces and nephews; cousins, Gertrude Doggins and Reuben Drew; godchildren, Noelle Pimento, Marc Miles and Daniel Butts; “adopted children,” Darryl and Leroy Johnson, Barry Floyd, Kyra Price and all of the 600 Block of Preston Street; special friends “Bootsie” Roberts, Harold and Mr. Lawrence Cathey.
Davis was preceded in death by his parents; seven siblings, James, Curtis, John Paul, Elmira, Marion, Helen and Blanche; and his wife, Marie Davis.
Services will be held Nov. 29 at Wood Funeral Home, 5537–39 W. Girard Ave. The viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11.