Reginald “Reggie” Curry, 58, of Olney, was a jazz bassist and composer. He was a native of North Philadelphia and was a fixture of the local jazz scene for over 30 years. He died October 18 after a brief illness.
“He had a passion for jazz,” said family member Darryl Curry. “He’s a good family man and a positive role model.”
Curry quickly began to make a name for himself in the early 1970s following studies at the Model Cities Art’s Program, under the tutelage of bassist and jazz icon Jymie Merrit.
During the late seventies he co-led Quintet Wiusie Metribu known for its original compositions and swinging style.
He was a much sought after sideman and collaborator in the 1980s on bandstands and recording studios with vibraphonist Khan Jamal and legendary avant-garde drummer legend Sonny Murray.
A really productive and fertile period of Curry’s career was his association with the group Sound of Freedom with pianist Bernard Samuel, drummer Tony “Stick Man” Wyatt and saxophonist Marion Salaam.
The group received critical acclaim for its originality and live performances. With this group he composed and dedicated the compositions “Suggie’s Soul n Blues” and “Jamill” for his father and son.
Throughout this period he began a long association with jazz legends Little Jimmy Oliver, pianist Sam Dockery and his uncle, drummer Earl Curry, with whom he had a long running gig at noted West Philadelphia jazz club “The Top Shelf.”
Curry is survived by his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held October 26, at True Light Fellowship Church, 6100 Ardleigh St. It will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mitchum Wilson Funeral Home, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Zora Brown was a champion of breast cancer awareness among African Americans.
She died Sunday, March 2, 2013 in Oklahoma City. She was 63.
Brown, a breast and ovarian cancer survivor, was the founder and chairperson of Cancer Awareness Program Services and the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, an organization dedicated to lowering the breast cancer mortality rate among African Americans.
She was a trustee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer.
“There is a hole in our hearts as we mourn the loss of Zora Brown, who despite her many years of dealing with two cancers and multiple relapses, maintained an amazing and courageous spirit that inspired everyone around her,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the Philadelphia-based AACR.
“Her life’s work as a cancer advocate has been extremely important in increasing public awareness about cancer, especially among women. Our lives have been enriched by knowing her. In her memory and honor, we will do our utmost to work even harder to expedite the prevention and cure of this disease that takes so many.”
At the end of her life, Brown was living with stage III ovarian cancer but she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1981, at just 32 and then again in 1997. Her experience with cancer led her to devote her life as an advocate for women and for African-American women in particular, with breast and ovarian cancers.
In 2011, Brown shared her story in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011.
In June 2012, she testified at a U.S. Senate Cancer Coalition forum where she explained that cancer, which will strike one out of two men and one out of three women in their lifetimes, was a journey that began before she was born because of a family history and genetic predisposition.
“The AACR and cancer research community lost an amazing and gracious woman with the passing of Zora Brown. I cannot stress enough the importance of her work as an advocate for cancer research. She, along with other advocates, are the unsung heroes in fight against cancer,” said AACR President Frank McCormick, Ph.D., director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Zora’s strength in battling her cancers and her passion for advocating for women with cancer were an inspiration to us all. She will be dearly missed but certainly never forgotten.”
Brown also served with distinction as a member of the board of trustees for the AACR Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer since 2008 where her voice and resolve as a cancer survivor and advocate were richly appreciated.
“We have just lost a great leader in the fight against cancer. In spite of her own challenges with cancer, she untiringly extended her hands to help others and was a fervent promoter of the prevention and cure of breast cancer,” said Dr. Yuet Wai Kan, AACR Foundation Board Chairman and professor of hematology, University of California, San Francisco.
“She was also a strong advocate for cancer research through congressional testimony. Her eloquence and clarity of purpose will be missed by all trustees of the AACR Foundation.”
After her first breast cancer diagnosis led to a mastectomy, Brown learned that cancer mortality rates for African-American women were continuing to increase while rates were decreasing for Caucasian women. Alarmed by these statistics, she formed the BCRC in 1989, an advocacy organization that vowed to lower the mortality rate among African-Americans by the end of this century.
Brown was born March 20, 1949. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Following this she obtained a job as secretary at the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association and then took a position with the Ford Motor Company, where she served for six years in the lobbying office.
In 1976, Brown took an administrative assistant’s post at the White House in a division concerned with women’s programs during the nationwide efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. During this time she formed a lifelong friendship with First Lady Betty Ford. She continued her government service as director of Minority Enterprise at the Federal Communications Commission.
After founding BCRC, Brown began her role as an activist speaking in African-American churches with events that initially included Marilyn Quayle.
In the late 1980s, she partnered with the Revlon Company Foundation; Lilly Tartikoff, wife of the then-NBC president; Phylicia Rashad; and Jane Pauley to produce “Once a Year…For a Lifetime,” a documentary movie explaining the benefits of regular mammography that made its television debut on Nov. 16, 1990.
In 1991, President George Bush appointed her to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), which is an 18-member advisory body of outside experts whose primary task is to advise the secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and ultimately the president of the United States on a range of issues affecting the nation’s cancer program and, specifically, NCI operations. She served on the board until 1998. Due in part to Brown’s influence, Congress appropriated $500,000 for breast and cervical screening for low-income, uninsured, inner-city women.
As part of the BCRC, Brown organized the CAPS in 1992, to institute comprehensive educational and prevention programs focusing on cancers affecting women. In 1993, she established “Rise-Sister-Rise,” an all-African-American, free gathering on Saturday mornings in local venues that taught women the rules of healthy living and cancer prevention.
Brown has been recognized widely for her work in breast cancer awareness among minorities. In 1990, she was honored by Senator Fred Hollings of South Carolina, who invited her to become a board member of the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.
She has also appeared in a Washington Post feature called “Portraits of the City,” which lauded her for her work.
In 1992, she received the Marilyn Trist Robinson Community Service Award from the Washington Association of Black Journalists. In the same year she received the Susan G. Komen Community Service Award and the Breast Cancer Award from the National Women’s Health Resource Center. In 1993, she received the Gretchen Post Award and was cited by the U.S. Senate in 1995.
“She was so full of wonderful life every time we interacted. These tragically too-early losses inspire us to redouble our endeavors against cancer,” said AACR Past President Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel laureate and the Morris Herzstein professor in biology and physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Brown is survived by one sister, two brothers and other relatives and friends.
Ruby N. Gamble was a devout Jehovah’s Witness who loved the ministry.
She died March 10, 2012. She was 96.
She was born Oct. 17, 1915 in Ozark, Ala. Gamble was educated in the Alabama public school system and earned her high school diploma in 1932.
In 1937, she traveled to Philadelphia in search of employment and to join her sisters. While in Philadelphia, she worked as a domestic worker, a power machine operator and eventually landed a job with the Philadelphia Health Department as laboratory technician - a job that she was very proud of and ultimately retired from in 1977.
Because of her love for the ministry, Gamble became a full time minister (pioneer) in 1984 devoting up to 90 hours per month in preaching work.
She was especially known for her street witnessing. On any given day, she could be seen with her fellow Jehovah's Witnesses walking the distance from Stenton Avenue to City Hall, preaching to all along the way. On other days, she might be seen at the Amtrak 30th Street train station where she passed out Watchtower literature to travelers.
Her son, Kenneth Gamble, became half of the legendary songwriting and production duo of Gamble and Huff. She was the inspiration behind the classic Intruders hit, “I’ll Always Love My Mama.”
“Our mother was extremely special,” Kenneth Gamble said on behalf of the Gamble family.
“She was the kindest person in our lives. More importantly, she was the inspiration for everything I have done in life, including creating the wonderful music that others have enjoyed around the world. We will truly miss her.”
“As the matriarch of the family, she was a spiritual person who devoted her life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Her kindness and peacefulness will never be forgotten."
She was preceded in death by three siblings.
She is survived by her sons, Charles Sr., Kenneth and Carl; two siblings; and 19 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m. at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 6826-40 Ardleigh St.
Gladys Flamer was a local centenarian and community leader. She was known to be the oldest citizen living in the City of Coatesville. When she was 103, she was still driving. Everyone knew her red and white 1979 Cadillac Coupe Deville. At 105, she was mentally sharp, could still stand and walk on her own. She died on Feb. 8. She was 105.
Flamer was active in city government, addressing Coatesville City Council with issues that concerned her. She was the Judge of Elections for Coatesville’s Fifth Ward for decades and recipient the Rebecca Lukens Award in 2010.
She had been treasurer of the Coatesville chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star for over 40 years. The Coatesville Area Branch of the NAACP gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Over the years, Flamer had worked as an LPN at the VA Medical Center and the former Embreeville Hospital. She owned a beauty shop in Coatesville for 20 years. She also worked for Lukens Steel, the Pennsylvania Railroad and even Strawbridge and Clothier at age 90.
She was also an active member of her church and a member of the Coatesville Historical Commission.
Services were held on February 15 at Hutchinson Memorial UAME Church. Wright Funeral & Cremation Services handled the arrangements.
Jamar Keir Ferrell, affectionately known as “Maury,” was born on January 23, 1969, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Willie and Willa Mae (Kittrels) Ferrell. He was the fourth of the Ferrells’ six sons. On January 15, 2012, Jamar entered into eternal rest after a yearlong battle with lymphoma. His family and friends will gather on Saturday, April 14, 2012, in a private ceremony in a “Tribute to our Gem.”
Jamar received his education in the Penn Wood School system and graduated from Penn Wood High School in 1986. During his school years, Jamar was a great little league pitcher and also excelled in track and field. The triple jump was his specialty.
Jamar’s first job was working in the family’s business, Ferrell Franks, which was located in the Gallery in Center City. It was here where he met his true love Sitti Moses. After years of courtship, they joined hands in marriage on June 11, 1994. Anyone in their presence could see and feel their love for one another. Sitti was constantly at his side during the final stages of his illness, as were many other family members.
Jamar joined Horizon House as an employment training specialist in 1993. He was a strong advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities and dedicated his personal and professional career to enhancing their lives.
Jamar’s true passion was music. He was known as “DJ Brother Jamar.” He was in popular demand for birthday parties, clubs, block parties, weddings and anniversaries. He shared his mixing skills on Power 99 FM radio station on Sunday nights with host Tiffany Bacon. Jamar rocked everything from rare to classic R&B, soul, disco, funk and hip hop.
He will be remembered for his willing spirit, his generosity in sharing his knowledge and wisdom and giving invaluable advice to others.
He is survived by his wife, Sitti; parents, Willie and Willa Mae Ferrell; brothers, Terryl (Shawn), Stephen (Cydney), Lamonte (Gwendolyn), Jacin and Dion (Tiffany); three nieces; three nephews; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Muisha and Bob Barnett; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
News and talk radio veteran Bernie McCain spent nearly five decades in an industry that often boasts more casualties than survivors. His was a career that crossed numerous media outlets and many continents. For the last 20 years, McCain held court daily on WOL-AM in Washington, D.C., spinning his own unique style of hosting and discussing the issues of the day. On Saturday, Oct. 13, McCain died of natural causes.
He was 76.
McCain was born in 1936 in Newark, NJ, which also is where his career began at 1430 WNJR (which stood for North Jersey Radio), a "soul" AM station. He lived all over the world using his mellow baritone voice as his calling card. McCain held many titles, including music director, news director, program director, talk show host, general manager, news photographer and cinematographer. He was responsible for assisting in the launch of two stations (WKIE in Richmond and 2DK in Antigua). McCain's media tours of duty took him to Africa, London,
Paris, Germany, Venezuela, Cleveland, St. Louis, Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
McCain — also known by the moniker “Uncle Bernie” — was the first program director of Radio One’s flagship station WOL-AM in 1980, and was listed on staff as an on-air personality at the time of his death.
From the 1970s through the late 1980s, McCain worked in the Delaware Valley at WHAT-AM as program director (where he was responsible for creating the popular "Mornings With Mary" Mason show), and later served as a popular overnight talk show host on WWBD 96.5FM.
During the 2000's, he would often appear as a special guest on the late Reggie Bryant's “In Pursuit of Truth” on WURD 900AM. In response to Bryant's death in 2010, McCain gave a unique behind-the-scenes perspective to the life of a Black talk show host.
“Reggie and I understood something, and it’s one of the oldest axioms in radio: Radio is theater of the mind,” shared the 48-year radio veteran. “But it is all theater. It is comedy, tragedy, and joy. And when you open up the mic, it’s not your mouth, it’s your mind and your soul that you’re sharing with everybody else. You have to think about this: before anybody calls you, they are listening. That means they need to be listening to something. The something comes out of a single person, that lone individual is sharing with whoever will listen what is taking place inside of their brain, their mind, their being, their
soul. They are sharing that.
“What they are looking for is not ananswer to yes or no, up or down, left or right. They’re looking for that person who responds with their thoughts, with their mind, with their soul, with their feeling, and with their beliefs. That’s it. Because then you’ve got another person on the other end who is giving what you believe you have given. It doesn’t matter if that person is angry or agitated and diametrically opposed to what you are saying. If they’re diametrically opposed to what you are saying — if they’re emotionally, psychologically, politically, physiologically opposed to what you are saying, that’s their honesty. You can’t get better than that.”
Syndicated talk show host Bev Smith noted that McCain's passing marked the loss of another one of the Black community's griots, or story tellers.
“Bernie lived being a part of the engine of change on the African American community,” said Smith. “Bernie was totally dedicated to the black community — he loved us — and there are not too many people like Bernie out there right now because people now (in media) love
themselves and they want to be glorified. Not Bernie. The world is a sadder place with his passing.”
McCain's passion for the medium kept him in the mix for a long time. He watched the ebbs and flows of the radio market and pointed out that mass popularity does not necessarily equate to massive wealth — especially for Black talk show hosts.
When asked why do it, he explained: “Who can satisfy when what you really are looking for is your own consciousness. Are you able to go night-by-night and say, ‘Lord, I lay me down. I don’t know whether or not I’ll wake up, but I’ve done the best I’ve done this day. Amen.?’ That’s it. No other man can give me accolades for what I have done because I didn't do it for accolades -- and I didn't do it for another man either."
According to the family, McCain was surrounded by his loved ones at the time of his death, including his wife, Wanda McCain; his two daughters, Leslie and Cairo, and Ted Travis. A private family funeral service was held this weekend, with plans for a public memorial service at a later date. WOL-AM has erected an online memorial at www.woldcnews.com featuring video and audio of Bernie McCain at work.
Services will be held June 22 for attorney, historian and author Edward W. Robinson Jr.,
Robinson died June 13, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. He was 94.
He mentored many African-American leaders in Philadelphia.
As an author, he wrote “Journey of the Songhai People” and “Twas the Night before Kwanzaa.” He also produced CDs and DVDs such as “Black Rhapsody” and “The Songhai Princess.” As a curriculum specialist, he designed an infused African history course for the Philadelphia School District, and the secondary and group leader curricula for the highly successful d’Zert Club. At the time of his death, he was working on the crown jewel of his works, a full-length motion picture called, “Whispers of the Medallion.”
As an attorney and entrepreneur, Robinson was the past-president of the Provident Home Life Insurance Company, a former member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank, deputy secretary of the State of Pennsylvania and assistant managing director of the City of Philadelphia.
At age 80, Robinson produced a “Tri-Racial Comparative Time Line” which was commissioned by the national Keystone Mercy Health Corporation. He has produced numerous documentaries, including a series sponsored by 7-Eleven Stores (Southland Corporation). He has created an art gallery consisting of “The 100 Most Notable Africans and African Americans” together with a 400-word biography of each.
Services will be held June 22 at AME Union Church, 1614 West Jefferson Street. Viewing is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Services begin at 11. Burial is in Merion Memorial Park, W. Rock Hill Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.
Clarice Estelle Douglas was born to Mary Douglas and Benjamin Jones on Sept. 9, 1966. Clarice received her early education in Philadelphia attending Sister Clara Muhammad School later transferring to Philadelphia Public Schools. She graduated from West Philadelphia High attending secretarial school to improve her clerical skills, Clarice had a thirst for knowledge she also completed extensive security training.
Clarice met the love of her life, Wayne Newell, and they welcomed two children, Arnesa Newell and Wayne Newell Jr.
She held many jobs in her life, armed security officer, clerical assistant, and cashier. Years later Clarice left the conventional workforce to devote full attention to her growing family. She enjoyed loving and raising her children was often seen playing basketball and riding bicycles with them in the neighborhood. In the mist of caring for her family, Clarice’s mother’s health started to decline and she became her caretaker, competently and compassionately providing continuous care.
In spite of all her responsibilities, she maintained close relationships with her sister Kim, cousins Jessie, Thoma, Arlene and a special loving aunt Rebecca. Clarice’s love for her neighborhood and friends was immeasurable she regularly shared food, resources, and goodwill with her neighbors.
Clarice is deeply missed by her beloved parents, mother Mary Douglas, and father Benjamin Jones; three daughters Anesa, Keyonna, and Bryonna; two sons: Wayne Jr. and Savion; a sister Kim Willis; a grand daughter: Jamazsha Newell; five uncles: John, Joe, Donald, Clarence, and David; two aunts, Rebecca Ramsome and Sheryl Jones; “special mother figure” Ann Newell, mother’s niece: Christine Cain Smith and nephew Charles William Cain Jr.; a nephew Asyan Bility, a niece Maryam Bility; a step mother Sacaree Rhodes Jones, a special companion and friend: Stan; and a host of wonderful cousins.
Clarice was preceded in death by maternal grandmother Maggie Douglas, paternal grandmother Clarice Douglas, paternal grandfather Arthur Jones Sr., aunt Harriet Douglas, uncle Arthur Jones Jr.
She is fondly remembered and loved by a host of friends and neighbors whose lives she touched and made smile.
Funeral Services will be held April 28 at 10 a.m. at Miracle Temple of Christ, 2600 Tasker Ave.
There will be a first viewing at Powell Mortuary Services 2432 N. 27th St. April 27 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
The second viewing will be held at Miracle Temple of Christ on April 28 from 9 .m. to 10 a.m. Pastor Warren Martin is the senior pastor. Interment Chelten Hills Cemetery.
Dwayne Stuart Dunston had a love for basketball.
He died Nov. 1, 2011. He was 54.
Dunston was born April 28, 1957 in Washington, D.C. to Beatrice and Roland Dunston.
He accepted Christ at an early age and joined Christian Stronghold Baptist Church on June 17, 1990.
He was raised in Philadelphia by his surrogate father, Oscar Adams, and his mother, Beatrice.
He graduated from Overbrook High School in 1975 and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, specializing in mental health/mental retardation from Lincoln University in 1980. He was also one of the founding members of Together Pi Brothers, a fraternity at Lincoln University.
For 15 years he worked with mentally challenged clients at Elwyn Inc., after which he worked for the city of Philadelphia as an interstate hearing officer and at the Kirkbride Center.
Although he enjoyed his work very much, Dunston’s heart was always with the sport of basketball.
For more than 30 years, Dunston taught the game to anyone who was willing to learn.
Boys and girls, adults and children, everyone was welcome. His love of the sport led him to tournaments as far south as Florida, as far west as Ohio, as far north as Rhode Island, and all over the Tri-State Area. He won numerous championships as a coach, and some of his former players went on to play at the collegiate, semi-professional and professional levels.
But Dunston was not always a coach. As a player, he had the ability to see things develop before the opposition or his own teammates, and he was also known for his precision shooting skills, and these two feats on the court led him to be called Hawkeye or simply “Hawk” by many.
The name transcended playgrounds and recreation centers, and while his players added “coach” to the beginning of the name in a sign of respect, friends, family and loved ones referred to him as Hawk on the regular.
Dunston always enjoyed trading stories, and he had a talent for making people laugh. It was hard to interact with him without immediately feeling at ease in his company, and in parting ways, it seemed that he would always give a small piece of wisdom to take away from the interaction. He was always looking to make those around him better and this selflessness was what brought so many people to him.
Dunston received numerous awards over his lifetime including: the Mighty Man of Valor Award from Christian Stronghold Baptist Church in 1997; “Men Making A Difference” award given to him by Congressman Chaka Fattah in 1998; Achievement awards for the NBA Read to Achieve Program given to him by State Senator Vincent Hughes in 2002; and Volunteer of the Year, which was awarded by Shephard Recreation Center in 2004.
Dunston is survived by his wife of 28 years, Brenda Dunston; two sons, Dwight and Dwayne; two daughters, DeBreea and Tawanna Jones; two granddaughters, Troi Williams and Sa’Rah Shani West-Dunston; two brothers, Daryel and Reginald; two sisters-in-law, Sandra and Pamela Dunston; extended family, Leonard and Mary Brent, and Paulette Adams; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Nov. 9 at Christian Stronghold Baptist Church, 4701 Lancaster Ave. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services to follow at 11.
Carl Gamble served as head security for the legendary Philadelphia International Records.
He died Aug. 26, 2012, after a long illness. He was 65.
He was born to Ruby Gamble and Carlton Lewis on May 9, 1947, in Philadelphia.
He and his brothers, Charles and Kenneth, were raised in South Philadelphia where he attended E.M. Stanton Elementary School. In 1956, the family moved to West Philadelphia where he continued his elementary education at the Samuel B. Huey Elementary School. He later attended Sayre Jr. High School where he was on the school track team. He attended West Philadelphia High School where he continued his sports aspirations in track and field. Well known around the city as a fast track runner, Gamble participated in the Penn Relays.
After high school, Gamble joined the United States Army where he served as a paratrooper in the Vietnam War. After being honorably discharged, Gamble returned to civilian life where he became known around the neighborhood as a big brother to those who needed him.
He later worked at his brother, Kenny Gamble’s record shop on Broad and South where he managed store operations.
When Kenny founded Philadelphia International Records, Gamble became head security for the company and traveled around the country by his brother’s side.
He had a great love for music and singing. One of his proudest moments was when he was given the opportunity to work as a songwriter and producer where he penned songs such as
“We All Have a Mission” sung by Billy Paul and “You’re The One Someone Special” sung by The Futures.
Gamble was known both within and outside the family as a brilliant and extremely funny joke teller.
“He was known to have everyone in earshot of his voice laughing and in ‘stitches’ from his jokes,” his family said.
According to his family, Gamble wanted everyone around him to be at ease and have fun in life
“Even during his time of sickness, including while he was receiving chemo therapy treatment in the hospital, Carl always made everyone he came in contact with including doctors, technicians and other patients feel good, smiling and laughing with slogans to them like ‘Every day above ground is good day,” his family said.
Gamble was also a very good and convincing story teller and could speak on any number of topics fluently.
He is survived by his brothers, Charles (Eunice), Kenneth (Faatimah); children, Tony, Lisa (William), Karl, Desmond (Tamika), Tanya, Crystal (Obe) and Mattie; 30 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and other relatives and friends.
Services are private.