Wendell W. Young III was the former president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which represents thousands of represented thousands of retail, food processing, healthcare and administrative workers and employees of Pennsylvania’s Wine and Spirit Shoppes.
He died Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, after battling cancer. He was 74.
Young dedicated his life to the pursuit of social justice and the interests of working men and women.
He was born July 7, 1938.
At age 16, while a sophomore at Northeast Catholic High School, he began working as a part-time clerk at an Acme Markets store in Northeast Philadelphia. After being encouraged by his father to get involved in the union, Young’s coworkers elected him as shop steward.
At the age of 23 in 1962, Young ran for union executive office and became the youngest labor leader in Pennsylvania. During his 43 years as president, he expanded the union to include more than 24,000 members.
He was nationally recognized as a job creator and as an innovative negotiator. He supported the creation of Super Fresh Markets and the employee stock ownership bid that saved Acme Markets and thousands of jobs throughout the region.
Under Young’s leadership, Local 1776, won national acclaim for negotiating employee benefits, including comprehensive healthcare coverage, pension plans, childcare benefits and higher education assistance.
“Wendell Young III was a truly good man. He was always sincere and straightforward, a man who understood the political system and large organizations and who, for two generations, used that uncommon understanding as leader of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 to benefit working men and women in the Philadelphia region,” Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement.
“I extend my condolences to his son, Wendell Young IV who has followed his father as the leader of UFCW Local 1776, to Wendell Young III’s large family and to the labor community, which has lost one of its great leaders.”
Throughout his career, Young built community alliances to provide a voice for the underprivileged. He was active in both the peace and civil rights movements. From 1995 to 2005, he hosted a popular weekly radio talk show program, “Talking Unions,” on WHAT 1340-AM.
Beginning with John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960, Young was active in Democratic Party politics throughout Pennsylvania, serving as leader of Philadelphia’s 35th Ward and as a delegate to eight Democratic National Conventions. In 1972, he headed U.S. Sen. George McGovern’s presidential campaign in Philadelphia. He was a trusted advisor to both Governor and U.S. Sen. Robert Casey.
An early backer of Jimmy Carter, Young served on the President’s Citizens’ Panel on the Panama Canal. He pioneered a labor alliance with the environmental movement as a leader of the Citizens’ Labor Energy Coalition that advocated for green energy and consumer rights.
Young was committed to establishing and expanding relationships between the American labor movement and workers’ advocates throughout the world. In carrying out his mission, he went to Brazil, Great Britain, Cuba, Bulgaria, Ireland, Russia, Eastern Europe and Togo. In 1979, he was among the first U.S. labor leaders to visit China. In the late 1990s, Young played an instrumental role in establishing the Pennsylvania Welcoming Center, an organization supporting immigrant rights.
Young was active in fundraising activities for his alma maters, Northeast Catholic High School and St. Joseph’s University and for St. Patrick’s Seminary, Maynooth, Co., Kildare, Ireland.
He served on the board of directors of Northeast Catholic’s High School’s Alumni Association and was involved in numerous charitable and civic activities, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Peggy Browning Fund, the Variety Club and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. He was a longtime member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians John Kehoe Div. #1, Girardville.
Young is survived by his wife, Katherine; sons, Wendell IV, Brian, Scott, Eric, Brendan and Matthew; 13 grandchildren and other relatives and friends.
The first viewing will be held January 6 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Boyd-Horrox Funeral Home, 200 West Germantown Pike, Norristown. A second viewing will be held January 7 at St. Philip Neri Church, 437 Ridge Pike, Lafayette Hill. Funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is private.
Contributions in Young’s memory may be made to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 1633 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pa. 19020 and the Medical Mission Sisters, 8400 Pine Road, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111.
Clifton B. Horton was a member of the Grand Lodge.
Horton died Feb. 27, 2012. He was 71.
He was born on May 6, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pa., and was the second of four children born to the late Clinton and Florence E. Horton. He was the brother of Gerald and Carol who preceded him in death.
Clinton was raised in Philadelphia; his formal education began in the Philadelphia Public School System and continued at St. Emma Military Academy, Bethune Cookman College and Cheyney State University.
In January 1983, Horton was initiated into Corinthian Lodge #114. He was appointed president of the class and raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason in June 1983. He received his 32nd degree, one of the highest degrees in Masonry. He was also selected as Mason of the Year. He was a member of King William’s Red House. In 1989, Horton became Worshipful Master. He chaired many committees.
Clinton was employed at Brink’s Armed Car Company for 25 years and SEPTA for 23 years. He enjoyed watching football and the game shows, and cleaning off his car.
He is survived by his brother, Michael Horton; children, Brian and Damon Horton; granddaughter, Monia Horton; grandson, Damon Horton; nephews, Wayne Hall and Rodney Horton; his lover, ex-wife and friend, Sandra Horton; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held March 6 at Grace Baptist Church, 25 West Johnson Street. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Reneé C. Harper was a longtime Girl Scout leader.
Harper died Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. She was 62.
She was born in Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 1950 and was the only child of Dorothy Benjamin. She was educated in the Philadelphia School District.
She married Nathaniel Harper on Jan. 25, 1969. They had two children.
Harper was employed by Citizens Bank for 30 years as a loan accountant. While at Citizens, she was president of PHIL/AERS and perfected her trip and event planning skills which she taught her daughters. After retiring from Citizens, she pursued her dream of completing her bachelor’s degree in social work at La Salle University.
She loved traveling with her family, friends and Girl Scouts to the Poconos, Savannah and Caribbean.
Harper was a lifelong Girl Scout. She was a Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout leader more than 25 years. In the 1970s, she began in Girl Scouts by becoming a leader for her daughters’ Girl Scout troop. After her daughters graduated from college, she returned to Girl Scouts after she inspired them to become Girl Scout leaders for the troop that they had been members of as children. Along with her daughters, Harper served as a leader and mentor for several hundred girls in Troops 91378, 9500, 9454, 91326 and 9696 in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia over the years.
Harper was an avid fan of the theater and classical music. She especially enjoyed fostering her grandchildren’s love of West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera and various musical genres.
In addition to her husband, Harper is survived by her mother, Dorothy Benjamin; daughters, Carol Harper and Dawn Harper-Pinkett; son-in-law, Scot Pinkett; grandsons, Scott, Troy and Devon Pinkett; granddaughter, Tianna Pinkett; an aunt who was like a sister to her, Carol Wright; two brothers-in-law, Walter Harper III and Ivory Mickens; a sister-in-law, Renee Howerton and her special family (daughter, Donyell Fields; son-in-law, Barry Fields and grandchildren, Monae Nelson, Monique Nelson, and Brandon Fields) and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Dec. 8 at the George Washington Memorial Park and Mausoleum, 80 Stenton Ave., Plymouth Meeting. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in George Washington Memorial Park.
Josephine E. Pinder Price served as secretary and advisor to the Germantown Youth Project where she impacted active gang members.
Price died Aug. 24, 2012. She was 90.
She was known for her sense of humor, quick smile, family dinners and traditions, high fashion, wealth and knowledge relative to national and foreign affairs, and for lending a helping hand to those in need.
She was born in Cambridge, Md., to the late Thomas and Ida Molock Pinder. She was the fifth of seven children.
She joined Janes Methodist Episcopal Church in 1938 and lived to see her grandchildren become fifth-generation members.
Price held leadership positions within the United Methodist structure, Church Women United, National Council of Churches and Pennsylvania Council of Churches. She traveled throughout several countries in Africa, Europe and elsewhere including, Puerto Rico, Cuba and throughout the United States advocating for Christ and social justice.
Through her work with Germantown Youth Project, Price touched the lives of alienated youth and had a lifelong impact on then-active gang members, even encouraging a few to go into the ministry.
Price’s social activism efforts also included serving as board chairperson of Simpson House Retirement Living facility during a time of massive expansion and as the denominational representative and vice chair of Prison Visitation and Support, the only volunteer program to gain access to federal and military prisoners throughout the United States.
She was a charter member and founder of the Metropolitan Career Center, a community-based educational organization dedicated to helping young adults prepare for future careers and responsible roles in urban society.
Her former civic duties included being an elected member of the Election Board, 59th Ward and 7th Division as majority inspector. From the time she was able to vote, she never missed an election.
She married Linwood J. Price on Oct. 22, 1943, in Atlantic City, N.J., and from this union seven children were born.
Price was the recipient of many awards including the Outstanding Service Award by the deputy commissioner of welfare for her work with alienated youths in Germantown during the height of the gang era. In addition, she received several pins of distinction from United Methodist Women and a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representative for her contribution to the Metropolitan Career Center.
Her hobbies included collecting ornaments from around the world for her Christmas tree, a collection that started when she was 16 years of age and continued until her death, as well as fashion design and sewing.
Price was preceded in death by her stepson, Allison Price and son, Linwood J. Price Jr.
She is survived by her daughters, Linda Silva of Mt. Laurel, N.J., Debbi Price-Whitlock, and Vivian and Gail Price of Philadelphia; sons, Roderick and Glenn Price; sister, Vivian Jackson of Salisburg, Md.; sons-in-law, Robert Silva and Theodore Hawkins; daughters-in-law, Geraldine Price, Vanessa Price and Annette Martin; 17 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held August 30 at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 E. Haines St. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery of Willow Grove.
Catherine B. Laws Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Catherine Russell Minnis was a church organist and community activist.
She died Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. She was 94.
She was born Feb. 2, 1918 in Philadelphia to the late Charles Russell and Elizabeth Tribbett-Russell.
As a young child, Minnis displayed a talent for music and learned to play the piano. She was educated in the Philadelphia public school system and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. She continued her education at Temple University, where she majored in music.
The gift of music led to her husband of 51 years, the late Milton A. Minnis, whom she met while playing for a spiritual singing group. She was the pianist and he was the tenor. The couple had eight children, Charles Sr., Salahudeen, Francis, Eric, Vera, Catherine, Dorothy and Elizabeth.
Coming of age during World War II, she was employed by the U.S. government at the Philadelphia Naval Base. In the 1960’s, she became a crossing guard after two of her children were struck by a car while going to school.
During the 1970’s, Minnis became a school bus matron with the Philadelphia School District. She was last employed as a non-teaching assistant at University City High School, where she was known as “Grandma Dynamite.”
She served as the organist or pianist for many church choirs throughout the Philadelphia area including Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church in Lansdowne, Mount Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church, Concord Baptist Church, Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, where she formed the first African-American gospel choir in a Catholic church. She was also the organist for the Fellowship Christian Church, where she was ordained as an elder of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). There she served faithfully as the minister of music, retiring at the age of 90.
Minnis was a social and religious activist. In the Christian Church and in the United Christ of Church denominations, her participation in the Christian Equality Movement helped to open the doors of their ministry to women of color.
As a young adult, Minnis protested for jobs and education on Lancaster Avenue. During her middle years, she marched against segregation.
Her community work included co-founding Habitat for Humanity, West Philadelphia to rehabilitate the houses on her block, founding the Cathedral Park Association to fight for her neighborhood, taking kids to camp and starting afterschool programs. In her later years, she encouraged the development of Park West Town in West Philadelphia.
In the area of politics, Minnis served as the Democratic committee person for the 44th Ward, where she helped to elect mayors, councilpersons, state representatives, congressman, governors and presidents.
She found solace and sisterhood in a social club named the Lucky Ten Social Club, also known as the Love and Trust Choir. The group was recognized by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the oldest African-American social clubs in America.
In addition to her children, Minnis is survived by her daughters-in-law, Deanna, Safia and Aliyah; son-in-law, Billy; special son, Michael Grey; grandchildren, Leslie, Shaye, Naima, Charles Jr., Adnan, Leilah, Jessica and Fadjr; great-grandchildren, Jose , Bianca, Samira, Nico, Elyse-Marie, Reynaldo, Nasira, Nisaa, Zahra and Shuaib and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Thursday at Christian Fellowship Church, 6101 W. Oxford St. Viewing will be held at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Eden Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Stephan Lamont Jenkins had planned to become an entrepreneur and build a family of his own.
Jenkins died July 16, 2012, from renal carcinoma. He was 21.
He was born Nov. 10, 1990, to Donald Buxton and Katrina King.
Jenkins was baptized at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Frederick L. Bowers. He was rooted and grounded in his faith and had a strong personal relationship with the Lord.
He was educated in the Philadelphia school system and attended Hartranft Elementary School, Wakisha Charter Middle School, Freire Charter High School and William Penn High School, where he graduated and received his high school diploma in 2009. He was enrolled in Community College of Philadelphia where he majored in business administration.
His family said he was an ambitious student who loved to read and write.
“As a young man Stephan was very resourceful and determined not to allow anything to stand in the way of goals set for him,” his family said.
He enjoyed his position at Acme Market because it allowed him opportunity to advance and maximize his diverse work skills. His time there allowed him to learn and set a plan to do greater things in his future.
“He took pride in becoming a diligent saver, obtaining a car independently, and most of all being a giver to his loved ones,” his family said.
“Stephan was a very special individual — loving, caring, thoughtful, sweet and very wise. If anyone entered into Stephan’s presence feeling sad he would do anything possible to make them smile,” his family said.
“His laugh was unique — his beautiful smile and eyes were too, making it difficult to ever fathom staying at odds with him. All he wanted in this life was love, respect and happiness. His presence has always brought a warm feeling to our hearts, and Stephan’s amazing spirit will live on forever.”
Jenkins was preceded in death by his great-grandmother, Arnetta Russell; great-grandmother Dorothy Garrett; great-aunt Elaine Thompson; uncle, Omar Jenkins; and first cousin Maurice Robinson.
In addition to his mother, Jenkins is survived by his sisters, Shaneen and Sharnea Jenkins; brother, Richard King III; grandmother, Dorothy Jenkins; uncle, Demetrius Jenkins; two special uncles, Donald Thompson and Steven Robison; fiancée, Anita Seabrooks; best friend, Raushan Washington; godparents, Cynthia Seymour, Marion James and Lenard Green; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held July 28 at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church, 3200 North Broad St. Francis Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Priscilla Browne Holton was a noted educator.
Holton died Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. She was 90.
She was born Dec. 31, 1921, to Lucille Ford and Edward Ashton Brown in Hartford, Conn.
Holton attended Bennett College for Women, North Carolina, graduated from University of Saint Joseph, interned at Vassar College in New York, and earned a master’s in education from Antioch Graduate School in Ohio.
She was the first African-American principal of Green Tree School. She held various positions throughout her career as an educator which included founding director of the North Hills Day Care Center, founding board member of the Children’s Village Child Care Center, education department director and program administrator for the master’s of education program at Antioch and head start coordinator for Philadelphia.
Citations awarded by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia City Council acknowledged her as a “life-long champion of early childhood education, the family, special children and the celebration of each person’s unique contributions to the rich, diverse mosaic of our community.”
In 1980, she was presented with the Distinguished Alumnae Medal from St. Joseph’s College. She was honored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for 40 years of service.
Holton volunteered at various organizations including the Franklin Institute Science Museum, Girl Scouts, Foster Grandparents, Council of Labor and Industry, Singing City and the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
In addition to her parents, Holton was preceded in death by her husband, John Lyle Holton and brother, William Harrison.
She is survived by her children, Mary Frances, John Kingsley and Leslie Lucille; grandchildren, Edmund, James, Tamara, Maggie, Angel, Ethan, Robin, John, Julian, Alianna and Xochitl; great-grandchildren, Tymier, Jamir, Deborah, Hannah, Desmond and Eiden; son-in-law, Fred Mumenthaler; daughter-in-law, Mirna Holton and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson St.
Leonard C. Hall Jr. was a Tuskegee Airman.
Hall died Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 after a long illness. He was 87.
He was born Jan. 14, 1926 in Philadelphia to Leonard Collins Hall Sr. and Beatrice Lester Hall.
Hall’s family became members of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, which was then located at 52nd and Parrish Streets and he attended regularly.
He was educated in the Philadelphia public school system, attending Overbrook High School, where he graduated in January of 1943. While furthering his secondary education, Hall developed an interest in flying. Leaving college, he joined the United States Army Air Corps and in February 1945, became an aviation cadet at the Tuskegee Institute, Division of Aeronautics. By November 1945, he attained the ranking of second lieutenant as he became a pilot.
After World War II ended, Hall pursued a career as a commercial pilot and received a commercial airmen license in March 1949. However, due to racism, he was not able to fulfill his dream, as Blacks were not accepted as commercial pilots at that time.
“Leonard was not to be stymied by this setback and he attained employment in several occupations,” his family said.
Hall worked for the Yellow Cab Company, Campbell Soup Company and the Philadelphia Transit Company, where he was one of the early Blacks employed by mass transit in Philadelphia.
In 1958, he was employed by the city of Philadelphia as a correctional officer and retired in 1990 as a correctional counselor after 31 years of service.
Hall had varying interests such as flying, jazz, tennis, automobiles and photography. He attended airshows throughout the eastern seaboard where he was often acknowledged as one of the esteemed Tuskegee Airmen. He spent hours cataloguing artists and making tapes for this family and friends. He enjoyed taking pictures of his friends and family and had begun to catalog hundreds of photos taken over the last 50 or more years.
He had passion for visiting Atlantic City beach. Even after he relocated to Atlanta, Hall would make visits to Atlantic City an essential part of the trip home.
“He was a distinguished, dignified and powerful influence on the lives of many, many people. He didn’t bow to his illness and he was always saying ‘I got a chance,’” He was a man who gave us a roadmap to persevere against all obstacles…to move forward and not feel sorry for ourselves,” his family said.
In addition to his parents, Hall was preceded in death by his sister, Loretta.
He is survived by his children, Leonard C. Hall III; Lynn C. Hall; Angela Moore-Brown (Felipe); Michelle Hall; Lisa Hall Marshall(Andrew); nine grandchildren; two great-grandsons; niece, Muriel Silva; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Feb. 8 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas at 6131 Lancaster Ave. Viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Washington Crossings National Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
A memorial service was held for Esther Thomas on January 8 at the Philadelphia Clef Club. She died November 16, but family and friends wanted to celebrate her life after the holidays. She was 88.
“She was very, very comical. She had a great sense of humor. She could adapt to any situation,” said niece Carolyn Thomas. “She always uplifted your spirit.”
Thomas was born to George and Eva Thomas on April 23, 1923. She was educated in the Philadelphia School District. She was the first Black woman to work at Girard Bank during a time when America was segregated.
Her family said she had a gift to make people laugh and always told them the truth about themselves. She also had the talent of music and song. She loved jazz and was a member of the Philadelphia Clef Club.
In 1956, she married Robert Johnson. They had a daughter, Barbara Johnson. She worked for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus where she handed out programs. During her time there, she helped the circus to exceed their sales goals. Upon her departure, she was honored with first class tickets to their performances, which she donated to underprivileged children and those with special needs.
Thomas also loved the Mummers, and one of the highlights of her life was making the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer at the Mummers Parade.
Thomas leaves to mourn: daughter, Barbara Johnson; granddaughter, Lindsey Allen; brother, Wallace Thomas; niece, Carolyn Thomas; and a host of family and friends.
Mary Frances Dicks was a devoted wife and mother known affectionately as “Byrd” and “Mom Dicks” by all of the neighborhood children. She had a special place in her heart for children and would eagerly work to help nurture their spirit and talent. She made sure her home was always open for children in need by offering them a warm, safe place of refuge.
Family and friends knew her as a warm, gentle and cheerful person. Dicks died on December 27. She was 83.
Dicks was born on October 18, 1928, in St. Augustine, Florida, and was adopted by Florrie Mays and James May who later relocated to Williston, South Carolina. She received her early education in the Williston Public School System and graduated from Scofield High School.
Dicks was baptized in 1936, at Frost Branch Baptist, Elko Creek, S.C. where she served faithfully until she married James Monroe Dicks on August 6, 1946, in Williston. They were married for 66 years. After moving to Philadelphia, they had three children: Marilyn J. Dicks-Riley, Carolyn Marie Dicks-Kee and Melinda Dicks.
Dicks was employed at Cuneo Eastern Press for over 15 years. After Cuneo permanently closed its doors, she decided to pursue her undergraduate degree in early childhood education and child psychology at Temple University in 1976.
Unfortunately, illness immediately overtook her in 1976 and prevented her from working full-time as an educator. She did, however, enjoy many years of part-time employment, initially with the Philadelphia Board of Education as a teaching assistant, and then with the U.S. Mint.
Dicks and her family joined the Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia where she was a devoted member until 1966.
In 1966, she joined the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church and served faithfully until 2006 when her failing health forced her to become homebound. During her active years of service at Greater Ebenezer, she was a member of several auxiliaries, including the Floral Club, the Missionary Board and the Deaconess Board.
In spite of her long illness, she remained a faithful servant of God. She often remarked “when I look around, my good days outweighed my bad days.”
Dicks leaves to mourn: husband, James; three daughters, Marilyn, Carolyn and Melinda; stepson, Nathaniel Dicks; daughter-in-law, Annie Dicks; two sons-in-law, Herbert Roy Riley and Robert Leon Kee Sr.; adopted brother, Bonnie Perry; eight grandchildren, Tanya Marissa Ward, Marcus Douglass Russell, Marcus Nathaniel Dicks, Demetrius Dicks, Stacey Hunter, Melissa Neurell, Dawn Johnson and Robert L. Kee Jr.; five brothers-in-law, Horace Dicks, Laurie Preston Dicks, Roger Dicks, Gerald Leggins and Ernest Augustus Sr; five sisters-in-law, Vermelle Thomas, Margie Ruth Leggins, Dorothy Dicks, Audrey Dicks and Sadie Dicks; cousins, Gretchen Martinez, Warren Holmes Jr. and Mamie Newton; as well as a host of great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Services will be held January 7 at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church, 3200 North Broad St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10. Choice Funeral Home handled the arrangements.