Eldridge Witherspoon Smith Jr., also known as “Butter,” was Temple University’s first African-American director of admissions.
Smith died Oct. 25, 2011. He was 72.
Smith was born to the late Eldridge W. Smith Sr. and Josephine A. Smith on Aug. 21, 1939, in Philadelphia.
He was raised and educated in Philadelphia. He attended Philadelphia public schools, graduating from West Philadelphia High School at the age of 16; he then received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Cheyney University in 1964. As a strong believer in continuing his education, he went on to attend Temple University to complete his master’s of education degree in School Counseling in 1974.
Smith was brought up attending and serving in church with his parents. He accepted the Lord as his personal Savior at a young age and actively served within the ministry as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader at St. Matthew AME Church.
In May of 1969, Smith wed Theresa King and from this union two children were born, Whitney Michele Smith and Evan Wade Smith.
Professionally, Smith pursued several careers with the Opportunities Industrialization Center and Phiko Ford before beginning his career with Temple University.
In 1969, he was appointed as associate director of the Temple Opportunity Program, which recruited academically talented students from low-income families. In 1976, he was given the assignment to reorganize and manage Temple’s Student Resource Center, a unit that provided support services to students with the help of federal, state and university funding.
In 1977, Smith was appointed as Temple’s associate director of admissions. After a nationwide search and selection from more than 100 applications, Smith was confirmed as Temple’s first African-American director of admissions in 1984. Local newspapers and Jet magazine acknowledged this honor.
He finished his tenure at Temple as a director, consulting on special assignment in the Office of Community Relations at Temple University Hospital, until retiring in 1995.
After taking time to enjoy his retirement, Smith desired to continue his service in education and later entered the Philadelphia School System where he worked with special needs high school students and adults until his retirement in June of 2010.
Smith was a strong advocate of education, and he helped many young people get into college. Many of these students were first generation college students and found success when they were recommended to meet with him at Temple for an opportunity of admission.
He married Norma Jean Hill on Nov. 28, 1987.
In his spare time, Smith enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, and socializing and watching sporting events as he was an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and Sixers basketball team.
Smith is survived by his wife, Norma Jean Smith; daughter, Whitney Smith Williams (John); son, Evan Wade Smith; brother, Robert Smith; stepsons, Richard and Robert Hill; grandchildren, Jayda, Ryan and Nia Faith; step granddaughter, Chardé Hill; niece, Dianne Robinson; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Friday, Nov. 4 at Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 West Girard Avenue. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Services to follow at 11. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.
Steven L. Bennett Jr., affectionately called “Steve,” loved spending time with his family, especially his children, and traveling. Bennett died Feb. 8. He was 51.
Bennett was born to Steven L. Bennett Sr. and Mary L. Griffin-Bennett on May 30, 1960, in Philadelphia.
He was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System and graduated from Martin Luther King High School.
His family said he had many hobbies and enjoyed using the computer, taking pictures, having cookouts and playing with the latest gadgets.
Bennett always had his uniform pressed and shoes shined. While not in uniform he loved to dress and always had on a new pair of the latest sneakers. He was always smiling and willing to help anyone in need. Bennett was also a no-nonsense man.
He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1979 and served until 1987 where he was honorably discharged. Bennett joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1989.
While with the Police Department he served in various units including, the Highway Patrol, traffic division and the narcotics division. He received several commendations and awards for merit and bravery including the Fraternal Order of Police Academy Award for Platoon Leadership before retiring in 2010. After retiring from the police department he was employed by Bryn Mawr College, with the public safety department.
Bennett leaves to mourn: companion, Valerie V. Curry; daughter, Aneea M. Bennett; sons, Steven L. Bennett III and Darien S. Bennett; father, Steven L. Bennett Sr.; brothers, Kevin L. Bennett and Darrin M. Boswell; sisters, Dawn L. Bennett and Kimberly L. Bennett; grandmother, Hazel Griffin; aunt, Marie E. Camp; cousin, Dr. Dana-Marie Thomas; and his extended family, Anna Farr and Vance McKelvy as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.
Bennett was preceded in death by his mother.
Services were held Feb. 16 at Bethel Deliverance International Church. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Josephine Scott, affectionately known to loved ones as Joe, was a mother, sister, friend and confidante. She held various occupational positions. However, her greatest career was as a home worker. She married George Scott Sr. and raised four daughters and two sons. She died November 16 of a brain aneurysm. She was 72.
Scott had suffered from a brain tumor. The doctors told her that she would only live for a month. She lived six more years.
“Her house was always open to everybody,” said daughter Josephine Washington. “If she had $20 and you needed it, she would give you everything. She would give you the clothes off her back.”
Washington said her mother’s illness did not deter her from helping others.
“She just had a heart to give and to do and that’s what she passed onto our children, that we’re just here to do the will of God,” she said.
“In that six years, even though all the time I knew she didn’t feel good and had to go to doctors’ appointments and tests and everything, she just kept moving and it was always about someone else,” Washington added. “She just kept smiling. She had such a strength, and she passed that strength on to so many others.”
Scott was born to Theodore and Carrie McNeil on January 24, 1939, in Bennettsville, S.C. Having lost her mother at a very young age, Scott moved from the south to Pennsylvania, where she attended Philadelphia public schools.
Scott was described as many things to all of those who knew her: to her only biological sibling, she was a second mother; to others she was a loving mother, sister, confidante and friend. Her heart, as well as her home, was a refuge and a haven to those in need of a listening ear, a place to sleep or her delicious fried chicken. She would literally give her last as no sacrifice was too hard.
Scott’s life exemplified her faith. She had an unwavering belief that all things worked together for good to those who loved God. Even through an unfavorable medical diagnosis, her faith in God delivered her. Her faith extended beyond the doors of the church. She ministered to all in need, in her community, in nursing homes, hospitals and prisons.
Scott leaves to mourn: six children, Rosemaria (Arthur), Josephine (Michael), Jennifer, George Jr., Tyrone and Tosha; sister, Francis Nowell (Irving); godchild, Robert Jr.; grandchildren, Shawn (Della), Imani, Terri, Tyhir and Samiah; two great-grandchildren, Taliyah and Makayla; niece, Angela; and nephews, Marvin (Yolanda) and Arthur III; “honorary” children, Nathaniel, Earl, Deidre, Evie, Lisa and Kema; special friend, Ms. Odessa, who represents her many other friends; Uncle Henry Williams and our extended Williams Family; cousin, Emma Branch; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, special relatives and friends.
Scott’s affinity for “adopting” others also gave her an extended family that included the Williams Family, the Washington Family, the Hickman Family, the Walker Family and the Greater Faith Baptist Church Family.
Services were held Nov. 26 at Greater Faith Baptist Church, 4037 Baring St. Julian V. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Rev. Matthew Miles Williams Sr. was the moderator of the Eastern Keystone Baptist Association and under his leadership, the merger of a number of associations, now known as the Pennsylvania Eastern Keystone Baptist Association of Philadelphia came to fruition. He was an active member of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention and its sub-districts, and was also an active member and supporter of the Foreign Mission Board and the Progressive Baptist Convention. He died Sept. 24. He was 89.
Williams was born to Rev. Charles E. Williams and Ethel Williams on Oct. 27, 1921 in Montgomery County, Pa. He attended Lamont Elementary School in Elkins Park, Shoemaker Junior High and graduated from Overbrook High School.
After graduation, Williams married Genevieve Newton. That union produced three wonderful children, the late Matt Jr., Agnes and Malcolm. He started his career working for the United States Postal Services and after many years of dedicated service, he retired to devote his life to his spiritual studies.
Williams graduated from the Philadelphia College of the Bible and the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Williams was licensed to preach by the Rev. C.W. Gregory at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia and he served as Rev. Calvin Jones’ associate minister for 10 years in the Mt. Hebron Baptist Church.
In August of 1964, Williams was installed as pastor of The People’s Baptist Church. As pastor he was a positive influence on his congregation and the community at large for 45 years.
Williams was also a gifted trombonist and often played his trombone to the glory of God in services and programs.
Upon his retirement, Williams was awarded several citations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for his years of loyal and dedicated service to God and humanity.
Williams is survived by: wife, Genevieve; two children, Agnes Wilson and Malcolm Williams; four grandchildren; two siblings; six great-grandchildren’ one great-great-grandchild; and a host of family and friends.
A viewing will be held Oct. 2 at The People’s Baptist Church, 5039 Baltimore Ave. The viewing will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Services will be held Oct. 3 at The People’s Baptist Church. The viewing will be held 9–11 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Yarborough and Rocke handled the arrangements.
Lauren Alycia Kidd, also known as “Little Lauren,” was a home health aide.
Kidd died June 5, 2012, after a seven-year battle with lupus. She was 26.
She was born June 6, 1986, to Lisa and Joel Kidd.
Kidd was educated in the Philadelphia parochial and public school systems. She attended Preparatory Charter High School and graduated from University City High School in 2000. She attended Star Technical School and Philadelphia Job Corps where she completed the medical office assistant program in 2003.
Her family said Kidd was a joy to be around and she had a generous and kind spirit. She was not one to “hold her tongue” but she was always there to help, her family said. She was always ready to “take the kids” when she could.
Kidd had a special relationship with Christ and attended church with both of her grandmothers and her mother.
She enjoyed her Saturday morning dance classes and participating in the Philadelphia City Year program for Young Heroes while in school. She also loved to cook.
Kidd held various positions of employment. She worked at Save-A-Lot and ShopRite markets. Her most recent employment with Reliance Home Health Care as a home health aide gave her the most enjoyment.
She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Lenora Kidd and her grandfathers, Donald McCray II and Frank Battle.
In addition to her parents, Kidd is survived by her daughter, Ameena; godson, Miles; grandmother, Lillian McCray; best friends, Rita, Talea, Lavette, Lanieka; special friend, Aaron and other relatives and friends.
Services were held June 15 at Pinkett Tabernacle Friendly Church, 1915 North 21st Street.
Amelia Patterson, affectionately known as Mom Patterson, was the founder of Philly’s famous Patterson’s Restaurant. She will be missed by many in Philadelphia and around the world as she influenced many to live and eat healthier.
“I want people to remember her as a very gifted humanitarian who loved people, loved children, loved the community and served her God and loved her Lord — and she loved her husband,” said her son, Bruce Patterson.
“She was married 61 years to the same man. They had a lot of children and grandchildren, and I would love for her to be remembered as Philadelphia royalty.”
Patterson died December 5. She was 79.
Patterson introduced the first soy-burger to Philadelphia in 1972 when she and her husband, John, opened America’s first African American-owned and operated vegetarian health food restaurant, “Pattersons.”
Paterson was born on May 4, 1932 and embraced others into her family.
“Her thing was about family. She took in a lot of young men and women who had no family,” her son said.
Having had the pleasure of tasting Mom Patterson’s unique and exceptional brand of healthy vegetarian soul foods are former Mayor John Street, current Mayor Michael Nutter, countless entertainers and celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, India Irie, The Roots, Meek Mills, as well as civic and community notables. They heralded this great historic Philadelphian’s gift of serving delicious, nutritious meals in Philadelphia for 40 years. She was also the creator of the ever popular Patterson Navy Bean Soup, Soy Burger, Ma Patterson’s Apple Crisp, Peach Cake and various other delectable, meatless and healthy food entrees.
Services will be held December 11, 2011 at The North Philadelphia SDA Church, 1600 W. Oxford Street. It will begin at 10 a.m. Baker Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Wilbert McDonald Chamberlain was known for his gallant ways with the ladies. Although he liked the ladies he never married or had children. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and faithful friend to many. He died November 9. He was 79.
Chamberlain, the son of the late William and Olivia Chamberlain, was born on August 31, 1932 in Philadelphia. He grew up in a loving home with great parents, and sisters and brothers. He was educated in the Philadelphia School District and graduated from Overbrook High School.
He was drafted in the U.S. Army after graduation. Chamberlain was also employed in Philadelphia by a pharmaceutical company for many years before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s.
Chamberlain leaves to mourn: three sisters, Margaret Lane, Selina Gross and Barbara Lewis; two brothers-in-law, Claude Gross Sr. and Elzie Lewis, and a host of nephews, nieces and other relatives as well as a special friend, Katherine Williams.
Chamberlain was preceded in death by seven siblings, Clara Mae, William Jr., Delores Jones, Shirley Freeman, Wilt, Yvonne Taylor and Oliver Sr.
A memorial service is pending.
A memorial service will be held for veteran actor and Philadelphia native Sherman Alexander Hemsley on Aug. 16 at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave. Service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Hemsley, who made the loudmouth, arrogant George Jefferson of “The Jeffersons,” one of television’s most memorable characters and a symbol for urban upward mobility, died on July 24, 2012. He was 74.
The El Paso Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that Hemsley, who was found dead in his El Paso home, suffered from “super vena cava syndrome.”
According to the report, published by TMZ, the syndrome was a result of lung cancer. Hemsley reportedly had a “mass” on his lung.
Superior vena cava syndrome occurs when the superior vena cava — one of the body’s major veins — is obstructed, most commonly because of a cancer or tumor. The superior vena cava is responsible for returning blood to the heart that comes from the upper part of the body, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The report notes that Hemsley had been advised to get chemotherapy and radiation therapy before he succumbed to his illness.
Hemsley was born in South Philadelphia on Feb. 1, 1938. He dropped out of Edward W. Bok Technical High School in the 10th grade to join the Air Force and was stationed in Asia after the Korean War. He returned to Philadelphia after his discharge and, while working at the post office, attended Philadelphia’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in the evening.
In 1967, Hemsley moved to New York to pursue an acting career. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company, studied with the renowned actor and director Lloyd Richards and performed with Vinnette Carroll’s Urban Arts Corps. He also appeared in Off Broadway productions. In one — a double bill of “Old Judge Mose Is Dead” and “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl” in 1969.
Hemsley’s big break came a year later when he was cast in the Broadway musical “Purlie.” When Norman Lear was looking for an actor to play Archie Bunker’s neighbor, he remembered seeing Hemsley in that show. Lear traced Hemsley to San Francisco, where he was appearing onstage in the musical, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” and offered him the role of George Jefferson.
“He was a love of a guy” and “immensely talented,” said Norman Lear, producer of “The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family.” “When the Jeffersons moved in next door to the Bunkers, I wanted to deliver the George Jefferson who could stand up to Archie Bunker.
The minute he opened his mouth he was George Jefferson. Hemsley was smaller than O’Connor’s Archie, but he was every bit as strong as Archie.”
With the gospel-style theme song of “Movin’ on Up,” the hit show depicted the wealthy, former neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker in Queens as they made their way on New York’s Upper East Side. Hemsley and the Jeffersons (Isabel Sanford played his wife) often dealt with contemporary issues of racism, but more frequently reveled in the sitcom archetype of a short-tempered, opinionated patriarch trying, often unsuccessfully, to control his family.
Despite the character’s many faults — money-driven and temperamental — Hemsley managed to make the character endearing, part of the reason it stayed on the air for so long. His performance was Emmy and Golden Globe nominated.
A year after “The Jeffersons” left the air, Hemsley returned to television in “Amen,” a sitcom set in a Black Baptist church in Philadelphia. He starred as Deacon Ernest Frye, a character every bit as caustic and blustery as George Jefferson.
His films include 1979’s “Love at First Bite,” 1987’s “Stewardess School” and 1987’s “Ghost Fever.” He also released an album, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” in 1989.
The popularity of reruns of “The Jeffersons” on Nick at Nite and TV Land in the 1990s spurred a renewed interest in the show’s stars. In the ‘90s and early 2000s Hemsley, Sanford (who died in 2004) and Gibbs were frequent guests on prime-time shows.
Hemsley had recurring roles in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “The Wayans Brothers” and “The Hughleys,” along with Gibbs. He also starred as a con man in the short-lived UPN comedy “Goode Behavior” in the 1996–97 season. His most recent appearance was on the Tyler Perry sitcom “House of Payne” in 2011 — as George Jefferson.
John Carlton Patillo was a respected photographer in the city. He served as the primary photographer for the local Journal Register Company community newspapers including The Leader, Mount Airy Times-Express and The Germantown Courier.
As a freelance photographer he also took photographs for local elected officials including Mayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, Ninth District Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, state Reps. Dwight Evans and Cherelle Parker, and many others. He also photographed the Rev. Jesse Jackson, concert pianist Andre Watts, comedian Bill Cosby, singer Patti LaBelle, Congressman Chaka Fattah, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, poet Sonia Sanchez, best selling author Karen Quinones Miller, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop T. D. Jakes and many others.
Patillo died on February 6 of lung cancer. He was 48.
Patillo was born on November 27, 1963, in Philadelphia to John Patillo Jr. and Carla Mae Patillo. He grew up in Philadelphia and was a member of the West Oak Lane Church of God. He was a graduate of Parkway High School where he majored in photography, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, also as a photography major. He later attended the Philadelphia Area Accelerated Manufacturing Education or PhAME program with a major in machine operation.
As an adolescent, he met the former Gladys Smith who became his high school sweetheart. The couple married on August 1, 1987. They had one daughter, Tiana. John joined the military and the family was stationed in Aberdeen, Maryland, and later in Louisiana, before they relocated back to Philadelphia.
His wife remembers that from the very first time they met he took pictures of her. He then went on to pursue a career as a professional photographer.
Among the many pictures he was particularly proud of taking were those of President Barack Obama. His most recent photograph of the president was at a pre-Election Day rally in Germantown during October 2010. It appeared on the front cover of the October 20, 2010, edition of The Leader.
He also photographed then Sen. Obama on various campaign trails during 2008 at Abington High School, Vernon Park in Germantown and other locations. Additionally, he photographed members of Obama’s administration when they came to Philadelphia for the National Convention of the Association of Black Journalists last summer.
His family said that one of Patillo’s favorite hobbies was listening to WURD 900AM to keep abreast of the local African-American community.
Patillo was aware of the contributions African Americans had made to the country including securing the right to vote.
Consequently he was a champion of voter’s rights and would insist that those around him not only register to vote but make it to the polls on Election Day. He was also an avid supporter of President Barack Obama and despite not feeling well decided it was important to take photographs when Obama for America opened its Philadelphia Center City headquarters on October 13, 2011.
Patillo also had a strong spiritual side. When he took photographs at various houses of worship or for religious organizations one could often find him staying for the entire service or meeting. His family was aware of his keen insight and wisdom far beyond his years. Yet he still had a wonderful sense of humor that kept those in his presence in laughter. Even after being diagnosed with lung cancer, his natural wit, strong faith and far-sighted wisdom never faded.
In addition, Patillo was a lover of sports. One of his primary areas of focus was training his nephews. He also avidly photographed young athletes. He would attend little league sporting events where he would photograph every player and coach. He also followed Philadelphia teams.
Furthermore, he expressed a strong love and commitment to his family. One of the treasures of his life was his granddaughter, Kennedi.
Patillo leaves to mourn: wife, Gladys Patillo; daughter, Tiana Carlisa Patillo; granddaughter, Kennedi Victoria Patillo; mother, Carla Mae Patillo; three brothers, Gregory “Yogi,” Terry “J.D.” and Gary; two sisters, Belinda and LaTonyia; aunts, Loretta, Diane, Cindy, Janet, Lois, Ruby and Marie; uncles, James, Danny and Jasper; and many other relatives, friends, colleagues and associates.
His father John Patillo Jr. and grandparents John and Frances Patillo as well as Carlton and Eddie Mae Staggers all preceded him in death.
Services will be held Feb. 14 at the West Oak Lane Church of God, Washington Lane and Limekiln Pike. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m.
J.E. Williams Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
William “Bill” W. Cash Sr. was a man deserving of his many titles and honors. He had an illustrious career as a catcher for the National Negro Baseball League. He established himself as a superb athlete of the highest professional and personal standards. He had a career filled with his share of victories and success, which he always cherished.
Cash received many awards and acknowledgments. For his numerous and varied accomplishments he and his fellow Negro League players were honored by President Bill Clinton at the White House in 1994, the City of Philadelphia, the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Various major league teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies, feted them. He was inducted into the National Negro Baseball Museum of History in 1981.
Cash died Sept 12, 2011. He was 92.
Cash was born in Round Oak, Ga. on Feb. 21, 1919. He was the youngest of four sons born to the late Lela Lloyd Cash and Arthur “Buster” Cash Sr. He moved as a child with his family to the Eastwick-Elmwood section of Philadelphia. He was educated in the city’s public school system graduating from Overbrook High School.
In early 1940, Cash began a rich and full romance with Ms. Sadie Bell Brooks, the absolute love of his life. They married on Sept. 7, 1940. From this union, three children were born, William W. Cash Jr., Janet Cash and Michael Cash. They were a source of happiness and pride for their parents always. Cash and Sadie loved their family and supported each other for 63 years of adventures and wedded bliss.
Cash also played “Winter Ball” in Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Bill later played for the Farm Teams of the Chicago White Sox Organization and various other cities in the Midwest and Canada. Following his retirement in 1955 from his beloved baseball, he accepted 30 years of employment with Westinghouse Electric in Lester, Pa. as a machinist. He retired in 1985. Despite his various responsibilities, Cash always found time to devote to religious, fraternal and community organizations.
His family said his greatest labor of love was his work for the Lord. First, he was a Deacon at Calvary Baptist Church. He later moved his spiritual home to First African Baptist Church, Sharon Hill, Pa. where he served as a deacon for 30 years. He was a great supporter of his church and his pastor. On Sunday mornings, Cash could be seen sitting in the front pew shaking hands with all.
He was also a 33rd Degree Mason, where he was Past Master of the Light of Elmwood Lodge No. 45, Past Commander-In-Chief of Charles E. Gordon Consistory, member of Paxon-Macey No. 45 and Past Potentate of Minaret Temple No. 174.
Over the many years, Cash has spent endless energy and countless hours serving the youth of Philadelphia. He founded the “Cobbs Creek Baseball Little League Association.” He was vice-president of the Foundation for Juvenile Decency. He also spread his eloquent words and stories far and wide, on college campus, in schools and churches, for social organizations, always sharing his experiences as a player of the National Negro Baseball League and the challenges and roadblocks faced by Black trailblazers.
Cash leaves to mourn: sons, William “Billy” Jr. (Diane) and Michael Sr. (Patricia); grandsons, Jeffrey Sr., Bobby (Brenda), Michael Jr. (Janna), and Darryll; granddaughters; Arnita (David), and Kiersten; great-grandchildren, Ashley, Jeffrey Jr., Bobbi, Brendan, Maya, Logan and Michael III; cousins, Molly, Ruth, Herman, Leroy and Lewis Tucker; special friends, Mary Bailey and daughter, Mitzi and Barbara.
Cash was predeceased in death by his wife, Sadie, and daughter, Janet.
Services will be held September 19 at First African Baptist Church of Darby Township, 901 Clifton Ave., Sharon Hill, Pa. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Yarborough & Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.