Ella Louise Wheeler was described by her family as a warm and outgoing person who truly live, and loved life. She loved to shop and dressed with style. Wheeler was also an avid traveler. She loved vacationing with her friends in Atlantic City, Miami, the Caribbean and anywhere the weather was warm and she could have some fun in the sun. Those who knew Wheeler appreciated her kindness, friendship and genuine ways. The former corrections officer died Sept. 12. She was 61.
Wheeler was born on May 14, 1950, in Dillon, S.C. to late Frank Covington and Ella Tart. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior and was a proud member of Triumph Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. James Hall Jr.
Wheeler, affectionately called Louise by family and many friends, was educated in the Latimer Public School System, in Latta, S.C. and received her high school diploma from Latimer High School in 1969.
Wheeler moved to Philadelphia shortly after completing high school. She was very assertive and took pride in the work she performed. She was employed by the City of Philadelphia Department of Recreation, and then the School District of Philadelphia. In 1988, Wheeler began her career as a correctional officer with the Philadelphia Prison System and retired in November 2010. She formed life-long friendships with many colleagues and was affectionately known by many nicknames.
Wheeler leaves to mourn: brother, Levern Covington; sister, Josephine Williams; brother-in-law, Greg Williams; two sisters-in-law, Ernestine Covington and Shirley Covington; a very dear and loyal friend, Iris Bush; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and special friends.
Services will be held September 20 at Triumph Baptist Church, 1648 W. Hunting Park. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Slater Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Flora Dorsey Young, Ph.D., a retired Rowan University sociology professor and longtime resident of Lawnside, N.J., died of cancer on Feb. 9. She was 83.
Young was born on July 3, 1928, and grew up to be a prominent member of the Black middle class in Lawnside, the first independent self-governing African-American community north of the Mason-Dixon line. Her late husband, Dr. William P. Young Sr., was a well-known family physician in the borough.
She was an advocate for social justice and worked tirelessly to advance civil rights. She mentored countless students in the close-knit Lawnside borough of nearly 3,000 residents and sought to instill cultural pride and heritage in the youth.
Young was among the first Black faculty members hired in 1968 at then- Glassboro State College. She helped establish the Sociology Department and during her career spanning 27 years she influenced and taught more than 4,500 students. She retired in 1996.
She received numerous awards and secured funding for research grants to aid in getting projects completed and her works published.
She pushed to increase the number of Black undergraduates pursuing doctorates and successfully lobbied for “Hollybush,” a unique program at Rowan that prepared students for the rigorous coursework required to seek advanced degrees.
“She was a trailblazer,” said Julie Mallory Church, assistant director for Counseling and Psychological Services at Rowan in a recent tribute. “Her light shone very brightly, touching generations of students.”
A champion for education at every level, Young challenged her students with her no-nonsense “no excuse will do, tough love” teaching approach. Former students who became lawyers, social workers, teachers and other professionals credit her for setting the stage for their success.
Only days before her death, she assisted her young grandson, William III, with a school project on the Freedom Riders of the 1960s.
“She was an educator to the end,” said her daughter Dr. Marie Young-Robinson, an anesthesiologist in Philadelphia. “She was a strong family woman and an asset to all who knew her.”
Born in Philadelphia, Young was educated in the public school district and graduated from The Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1946. She inherited her spirited nature and quest for learning from her parents, the late Mary Gaskins Dorsey and Dr. Charles W. Dorsey, a well-known dentist, charter member of the National Dental Association and president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP.
She often quoted the words of her father, which inspired her to excel: “Do the best you can, always — no one can do more, but never stop trying. There is no sin so great as despair, and perhaps no virtue so vital as courage.”
While earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she met her future husband, a young student at Howard Medical School. The couple married in 1950 and settled in Lawnside a few years later.
Young later obtained a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Howard and a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
She studied with and under some of the most significant scholars in Black academia including E. Franklin Frazier, considered one of the most prominent African-American sociologists of the 20th century.
Young and her husband brought the renowned historian, the late John Hope Franklin, who chronicled the struggles of Black Americans and others to Lawnside to speak to a youth group that the couple formed to expose children in the community to their culture and heritage.
In a 2006 interview with the Lawnside Historical Society, Young noted: “We felt that our young people did not have a clue as to how proud they could be of the various ones that had gone before them. Of course, I still feel that way. I am quite annoyed with the lack of our young people really getting excited about knowing about their forefathers.”
Young and her husband were instrumental in encouraging and assisting youngsters to attend college, particularly historically Black colleges and universities. The couple tutored students, financed transportation and in some cases paid their tuition.
Young was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links Inc., the Auxiliary to the South Jersey Medical Society and the National Congress of Black Faculty. She attended the Chapel of the Annunciation in Lawnside.
Young is survived by: daughter, Dr. Marie Young-Robinson; son, Dr. William P. Young Jr.; grandchildren, William III and Marc Robinson; daughter-in-law, Kim Young and son-in-law, Martin Robinson.
A memorial service and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Omega Omega service were held on February 15 at Rowan University in the Student Center Owl’s Nest. Carl Miller Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Donations in her name may be sent to: Howard University College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Alumni Relations, 2225 Georgia Ave., NW, Room 901, Washington, D.C. 20059. Attention: N. Bernard.
John Bell was an HIV activist, prison advocate and mentor.
Bell died Sept. 12, 2012. He was 64.
He was a native of Baltimore and served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970. He moved back to Baltimore and worked as a foreman at the Amtrak station in Washington, D.C.
After a struggle with drugs, he was diagnosed with HIV in 1989. He moved to Philadelphia in 1995.
He was a longtime activist with the local chapter of ACT UP and longtime employee of Philadelphia FIGHT.
Executive Director Philadelphia FIGHT Jane Shull said that Bell was critical to the development of the organization’s work with the Philadelphia prison system and ex-offenders. He was the co-creator of Philadelphia FIGHT’s TEACH Outside initiative, a resource for HIV-positive people reintegrating into society from the prison system.
“What he brought to that was his own history as a person who had been in jail, who had come out , had gone into recovery and had taken that experience and turned it around and used it to help others,” said Shull.
“I think without him in the class, we couldn’t have done it because you can’t say to people ‘oh you can succeed,’ if there is not a model in front of you.”
Bell was known for making himself available to help others any time he was needed.
“I think that other thing that was tremendously important for us was the degree [to] which John was available to help people. He would go to see somebody in the prison system and he would give them his cell phone number. He never turned his cell phone off. If they got out and they wanted to connect, they would call and he would answer. So people knew that they had a friend,” Shull added.
Bell also created TITO: TEACH In/TEACH Out which carried the empowerment principles of Project TEACH to the prison population at risk of acquiring HIV.
Leon King, attorney and former commissioner of the Philadelphia Prison System, says Bell had a key role in transforming the system’s policies around HIV.
“Based on his advocacy we changed a lot of the policies and procedures at the prisons. We instituted condoms on the commissary list. We completely revamped the HIV policy. We started doing rapid HIV tests. These transformative things occurred in the prison because of Mr. Bell and his intense passion for this issue,” said King.
Activist Waheedah Shabazz-El credits Bell with transforming her life when he visited her in prison back in 2003. She had just been diagnosed with HIV and was at a low point in her life.
“He brought me from a dark place. The darkest point in my life was when I met him. That visit that I had with him changed my entire life. He gave me a bridge to connect with people like me,” said Shabazz-El.
“He was so many things to so many different people. He took advocacy to a whole other level. He’s really inspired countless people along his way. Everybody he touched, he touched in his own personal, special way.”
He is survived by his longtime partner, Gloria Prusakowski.
A memorial service will be held October 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street.
Donations can be made in Bell’s name to ACT UP Philadelphia at www.actupphilly.org or by sending a check payable to ACT UP Philadelphia to P.O. Box 22439, Philadelphia, Pa. 19110.
Deborah A. Taylor Womack was loved, adored, admired and respected very much. She was employed at Pennsylvania Hospital where she served as an administrative assistant for over 30 years. She died Oct. 3. She was 61.
Womack was born on July 27, 1950 to Roy and Anna Taylor in Wilkes Barre, Pa. In the late 1950s the family later relocated to West Philadelphia.
Womack received her formal education in the Philadelphia Public school system and graduated from Bok Technical High School with honors. She received a scholarship to St. Elizabeth College where she studied stenography.
In the 1990s, she retired and dedicated her life to caring for and nurturing her four beautiful grandchildren. She was also gifted with many talents and loved to cook. At family gatherings she was depended on to make the families’ favorite dishes, rice and orzo and string beans sautéed with garlic and tomatoes.
Womack received Christ and was baptized at an early age at New Bethlehem Baptist Church. Before her death, she would frequently attend church services with her sisters, Brenda and Charese, until her health began to fail. Despite the pain she was going through in her body she believed in the power of prayer and would often request Bishop Michelle G. Cherry to visit her home for prayer.
Womack leaves to mourn: parents, Roy and Anna Taylor; two sons, Shawn and Brandon; two grand-daughters, Shayna and Marcia (Muff); three grandsons, Shawn Jr., Jordon and Makai; three sisters, Brenda, Charese and Kim; four brothers, Roy Jr., Kirk, Gary and Glenn; two special aunts, Nancy Adams and Marsha Barnes; two very special friends, Brenda Washington and Lil Lewis along with a host of nieces, nephews and close family friends.
Womack was preceded in death by her sister, Terra Taylor.
Services will be held Oct. 10 at New Bethlehem Baptist Church, Preston and Aspen Streets. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. The service will start at 11. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Mary Green, 71, was a long-time resident and homeowner of the northwest section of the city. She died suddenly of respiratory complications at Albert Einstein Medical Center on Sept. 3.
“Mommy was in good health and great spirits all the time, so seeing her in a hospital was rare, indeed. She was talking on the phone, joking and ordering everybody around as she usually did. When things took a sudden turn, we were all in shock. We could not believe that she was gone so quickly,” stated Keith Green, the eldest son.
Green was the second eldest of nine children of the late George and Elizabeth Whaley. Born in Columbia, S.C., she relocated with her family to Philadelphia in 1944. She was educated in the Philadelphia public schools, graduating from William Penn High School for Girls.
“As a young child, Mommy was exposed to teachings about Jesus Christ very regularly because of where the family lived, near Second and American streets. There were mission efforts all around the community. Raised by a devoutly Christian mother, Mommy took to the word of God and was nurtured throughout her growing up years,” daughter Adrian Holmes said.
“At Sunday Breakfast Mission she heard about God’s love and forgiving power. Under the ministry of Joseph Kramer, she came to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. As the eldest sister, while in her teens she showed herself to be a ready helper at home and in the neighborhood. She taught Sunday school at Sunday Breakfast Mission and volunteered three nights a week at the Helping Hands Rescue Mission. She was being groomed for the real purpose for her life.”
Her second daughter, Paula, also reflected.
“In 1957, while at a retreat at Camp Streamside, Mommy met our father and her best friend, the late John Green Jr. Under the leadership of Pastor Ben Johnson, the couple was married on June 17, 1961 and began serving together. Their marriage of forty-eight years produced five children, Keith L., Adrian R., Paula Y., Myron R. and Byron R. After the birth of the first of eleven grandchildren, Mary dubbed herself,” Paula said.
“Granny Green, The Granny Queen.” Her creative spirit was manifested in her cooking, her way with words, her manner of dress and talents with arts and crafts.”
Following the death of Pastor Ben Johnson, Mary’s husband was called to the pastorate of Christ Baptist Church.
“That was when Mommy really knew that the call on her life was to stand by John and work with him in the ministry. Together, they faithfully served Christ Baptist Church for 32 years. She served as director of the Nursery Ministry for more than twenty years, Girl Scout leader, VBS teacher, assistant director of Kings Kidz Camp, a member of the Silver Keys, MARK Ministries, Missions Board and more. She was always prepared to serve the Lord with a spirit of excellence, reverence and exuberant praise!” said one of the twins, Myron.
“Our mother was short in stature but made her presence known with ease. She made us know what she expected without hollering and screaming. A few choice words from Mary set us straight. Then, she was also backed up by our dad,” Byron said.
“However, she could take us on single-handed when necessary. Being children of the pastor meant we were always on display. Our parents let us be ourselves, but Mommy set a standard for our behavior that stood her in good stead. Even when Mommy worked for a while as a teacher assistant in public, charter, private and Christian schools, we knew what was expected and did not stray far from the mark.”
Green leaves to cherish her memory: children, Keith Green, Adrian Holmes, Paula Green-Howard, Byron Green and Myron Green; a son-in-law, Michael Howard; two daughters-in-law. Vanessa Green and Claire Green; grandchildren, Keith Jr., Andrew, Chaniece, Misha, Shar, Rasheem, Lisa, Malcolm, Nasya, Jasmine and Arial; her siblings, Julius C. Whaley, Joseph F. Whaley, Diana Whaley-Campbell, Sharon L. Whaley, Annette Whaley-Fowler and Grace Gaines; one brother-in-law, Joel S. Fowler; sisters-in-law, Viola Switzer, Patricia Whaley and Gloria Williams; friends of the family, James Owens and Brenda Pemberton; two aunts, Rose Brown and Lucille Whaley; fourteen nieces and nephews; a host of cousins; and two godchildren, Cindy Smith and Natasha Simpkins; her church family, friends, Elizabeth Anderson, Elise Adams, Laurel Jones, Honey, her prayer warrior, Odeliea, and Maxine Hobbs.
Her husband, Rev. John Green Jr.; brother, George; and sisters, Ellen and Daisie, preceded Green in death.
A memorial service will be held on September 11 at Christ Baptist Church, 1540 Church Lane. It will start at 4 p.m. A service will be held September 12 at Christ Baptist Church. The viewing will be at 8:30 a.m. The service will start at 10:30 a.m.
Sabbath Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Former NFL and Arizona State running back Art Malone has died. He was 64.
Arizona State announced on Tuesday July 31 that Malone died on Friday July 27.
Malone played seven seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the second round by Atlanta. He played five seasons with the Falcons and two with the Philadelphia, rushing for 2,457 yards and 19 touchdowns, with 1,465 yards and six touchdowns on 161 receptions.
Malone played for the Sun Devils from 1967 to 1969 and rushed for 2,649 yards, seventh-most in school history. Malone rushed for 1,431 yards in 1968 and had 239 yards against New Mexico that season, both third-most in school history.
His brother, Ben Malone, played seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday August 4.
Art Malone and his wife Carolyn lived in Tempe, Ariz. When he was 10 years old, his parents, Ben Sr. and Izora Malone, moved to Eloy, Ariz., from Tyler, Tex., in 1958.
The former SCVUHS, Arizona State University and National Football League great was inducted into the first class of the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Hall of Fame, in September of 2010.
Malone entered high school in 1962 and began an extraordinary athletic high school, collegiate, and professional career.In high school football, Malone was the star running back of the Dust Devil’s very first state championship football team. He was selected to the first team all conference, the captain of the first team All State squad and the Athlete of the Month for November. Malone was also selected as Arizona’s best high school football player of 1965 and played in the All-Star football game in Flagstaff, Ariz.
As a member of the Santa Cruz track team, Malone was the first Arizona track athlete to run the 180-yard low hurdles in 18.7 seconds. During his high school track career, Malone was state champion in the high and low hurdles, selected as a member to the Arizona All-State team, and was selected to the All-American high school team.
In 1966, Malone accepted a football scholarship at Arizona State University. Starting with his sophomore year as a varsity running back and continuing through his senior year, Malone established himself as one of the great ASU running backs in school history. He finished third in ASU’S All-Time 100-yard rushing games with 239 yards on 29 carries against New Mexico in 1968. He finished fourth in ASU’S All-Time rushes for a career with 14, and finally, he finished third in ASU’S All-Time 1000-yard single-season rushes with 1,431 yards in 1968, which also placed him fifth among all colleges in the nation that year. To top off his college career, Malone earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.
In 1970, Malone was the number two pick of the Atlanta Falcons where he was in the starting backfield for five years. He finished his professional career as a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He continued working after his football career for the next 22 years with Arizona State University’s athletic department until his retirement. — (AP)
Hobson Neil Gamble held a number of various jobs during his lifetime. He worked for Center City Cadillac, was a bartender and driver, and had worked for Henckels & McCoy and Eastern Warehouse Distributors. He was a member of Local 322.
However, his most recent work, as a trustee at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, was the closest to his heart. He died Sept. 11. He was 65.
Gamble was born on October 16, 1945, to the late Willie Gamble and Mattie Gamble, in Philadelphia. He was educated in the Philadelphia School District and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. Neil had a passion for fishing and was an avid fan of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies.
During the various stages of Neil’s life he was affectionately known as “School Boy,” “Schoolie” and “Butch.”
He became a member of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church where he was baptized as a young boy. He returned to Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in 1991, becoming a faithful servant. He loved singing with the layman and working as a trustee. He took great pride in being one of the cooks for the church picnic.
Gamble met, fell in love and married Regina (Cookie) Holts-Carter in 1984. He fondly referred to her as “Cook.”
He remained a loving husband, son, brother, father and uncle, and will be greatly missed.
Gamble leaves to mourn: wife, Regina; children, Sheldon, Carla (Curtis) and Brian; mother, Mattie Gamble; siblings, Dollie Evon, Willie Earl (Deborah), LaVaughn (Charles) and Darrell (Jewel); grandchildren, Duran, Cecily and Colin; father-in law, William (Bill) Holts; and sister- in- law, Caprice Holts-Griggs (Alvin). He had a special relationship with his niece Earlisha, who he cherished and treated like she was his own. Two devoted best friends, Samuel Rudy Marshall and Lewis Medley, adopted children Steven and Crystal Gardner, and a host of nieces and nephews will also mourn him.
Services will be held September 17 at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, 1328 N. 19th St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m. Turay Memorial Funeral Chapel handled the arrangements.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya's former president called her a mad woman. Seen as a threat to the rich and powerful, Wangari Maathai was beaten, arrested and vilified for the simple act of planting a tree, a natural wonder Maathai believed could reduce poverty and conflict.
Former elementary school students who planted saplings alongside her, world leaders charmed by her message and African visionaries on Monday remembered a woman some called the Tree Mother of Africa. Maathai, Africa's first female winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, died late Sunday in a Nairobi hospital following a battle with cancer. She was 71.
Maathai believed that a healthy environment helped improve lives by providing clean water and firewood for cooking, thereby decreasing conflict. The Kenyan organization she founded planted 30 million trees in hopes of improving the chances for peace, a triumph for nature that inspired the U.N. to launch a worldwide campaign that resulted in 11 billion trees planted.
Maathai, a university professor with a warm smile and college degrees from the United States, staged popular protests that bedeviled former President Daniel arap Moi, a repressive and autocratic ruler who called her "a mad woman" who was a threat to the security of Kenya.
In the summer of 1998, the Kenyan government was giving land to political allies in a protected forest on Nairobi's outskirts. Maathai began a campaign to reclaim the land, culminating in a confrontation with 200 hired thugs armed with machetes and bows and arrows. When Maathai tried to plant a tree, she and her cohorts were attacked with whips, clubs and stones. Maathai received a bloody gash on her head.
"Many said, 'She is just planting trees.' But that was important, not only from an environmental perspective, to stop the desert from spreading, but also as a way to activate women and fight the Daniel arap Moi regime," said Geir Lundestad, director of the Nobel Institute, which awarded Maathai the peace prize in 2004.
"Wangari Maathai combined the protection of the environment, with the struggle for women's rights and fight for democracy," he said.
Maathai said during her 2004 Peace Prize acceptance speech that the inspiration for her life's work came from her childhood experiences in rural Kenya. There she witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed biodiversity and the capacity of forests to conserve water.
After arap Moi left government, Maathai served as an assistant minister for the environment and natural resources ministry.
Although the tree-planting campaign launched by her group, the Green Belt Movement, did not initially address the issues of peace and democracy, Maathai said it became clear over time that responsible governance of the environment was not possible without democracy.
"Therefore, the tree became a symbol for the democratic struggle in Kenya. Citizens were mobilized to challenge widespread abuses of power, corruption and environmental mismanagement," Maathai said.
Maathai's work was quickly recognized by groups and governments the world over, winning awards, accolades and partnerships with powerful organizations. Meanwhile, her dedication to nature remained, as could be seen in her role in a movie called "Dirt! The Movie," where Maathai narrated the story of a hummingbird carrying one drop of water at a time to fight a forest fire, even as animals like the elephant asked why the hummingbird was wasting his energy.
"It turns to them and tells them, 'I'm doing the best I can.' And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always feel like a hummingbird," she said. "I certainly don't want to be like the animals watching as the planet goes down the drain. I will be a hummingbird. I will do the best I can."
Recognizing that never-say-die attitude, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Maathai's death "strikes at the core of our nation's heart." Odinga said Maathai died just as the causes she fought for were getting the attention they deserve.
The United Nations Environment Program called Maathai one of Africa's foremost environmental campaigners and recalled that Maathai was the inspiration behind UNEP's 2006 Billion Tree Campaign. More than 11 billion trees have been planted so far.
"Wangari Maathai was a force of nature. While others deployed their power and life force to damage, degrade and extract short term profit from the environment, she used hers to stand in their way, mobilize communities and to argue for conservation and sustainable development over destruction," said Achim Steiner, the executive director of UNEP.
Tributes poured out for Maathai online, including from Kenyans who remember planting trees alongside her as schoolchildren. One popular Twitter posting noted that Maathai's knees always seemed to be dirty from showing VIPs how to plant trees. Another poster, noting Nairobi's cloudy skies Monday, said: "No wonder the sun is not shining today."
Her quest to see fewer trees felled and more planted saw her face off against Kenya's powerful elite. At least three times during her activist years she was physically attacked, including being clubbed unconscious by police during a hunger strike in 1992.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Monday called Maathai a "true African heroine." The Nelson Mandela Foundation also expressed sadness. The foundation hosted Maathai in 2005, when she headlined the foundation's annual lecture.
"We need people who love Africa so much that they want to protect her from destructive processes," she said in her address. "There are simple actions we can take. Start by planting 10 trees we each need to absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale."
The spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Maathai was a "pioneer in articulating the links between human rights, poverty, environmental protection and security."
In a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was inspired by Maathai's story and "proud to call her my friend."
"Her death has left a gaping hole among the ranks of women leaders, but she leaves behind a solid foundation for others to build upon," she said in the statement.
A long time friend and fellow professor at the University of Nairobi, Vertistine Mbaya said that Maathai showed the world how important it is to have and demonstrate courage.
"The values she had for justice and civil liberties and what she believed were the obligations of civil society and government," Mbaya said. "She also demonstrated the importance of recognizing the contributions that women can make and allowing them the open space to do so."
Njeri Gatonyo, a member of the Green Belt Movement board, said Maathai's organization will continue with the work that Maathai began in 1977. Mbaya said work would continue to establish a Wangari Maathai Institute for Environmental Studies and Peace at the University of Nairobi.
Maathai was the first woman to earn a doctorate in East Africa — in 1971 from the University of Nairobi, where she later was an associate professor in the department of veterinary anatomy. She previously earned degrees from Mount St. Scholastica College — now Benedictine College — in Atchison, Kansas, and the University of Pittsburgh.
The Green Belt Movement said on its website that Maathai's death was a great loss to those who "admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier and better place." Edward Wageni, the group's deputy executive director, said Maathai died in a Nairobi hospital late Sunday. Maathai had been in and out of the hospital since the beginning of the year, he said.
Maathai is survived by three children. Funeral arrangements were to be announced soon, the Green Belt Movement said. -- (AP)
Funeral services for the Rev. Thomas R. Niblack Sr. were held on April 28 at Gospel Temple Baptist Church.
Born Jan. 26, 1950, to Loretta and Henry Eugene Niblack, he died on April 23, 2012.
Educated in the School District of Philadelphia, Rev. Niblack graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1967 and then attended Cheyney University on a part-time basis. He held several jobs, including being a stevedore at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, a cab driver, an iron chef of pizza for Dominos and a non-teaching assistant at Vare Middle School.
Family members said as a youngster at Friendship Baptist Church, under the guidance of his godfather, the late F.D. Edwards, Rev. Niblack was often found playing in the pulpit. He attended Manna Bible Institute, graduating in the late 1970s. In 1981, he was the youngest elder to be ordained in the Mount Sinai Holy Church of America where he served under Elder Thomas Martin before moving to Bethel Fellowship in Bensalem.
In 1995, he was employed at Philadelphia Traffic Court and was a proud member of District Council 33 Local 696. He was the chief steward at traffic court and appointed chaplain and trustee of District Council 33 Local 696.
In 1994, he moved his membership to Gospel Temple Baptist Church where under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Daniel T. Black, he was encouraged to continue his Christian education. He became a student at Jameson School of Theology where he graduates with a masters of arts in Biblical theology conferred upon by the International Christian University in May 2000.
In January 2003, he was installed as pastor of New Gethsemane Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.
In 2008, he was inspired to develop Segula Ministries.
Survivors include his wife, Irene; sons Thomas Jr. and Tai; daughter, Traeima; son-in-law, Michael; daughters-in-law, Mariah and Edithe (Ghia); six grandchildren, Abigail, Evan, Josias, Ian and Saiah. Hannah, Baby Niblack and Tomir preceeded him in death.
Also surviving is a stepfather, William “Pop” Sydnor; and brothers, Charles Jr. and Eric Johnson. Another brother, Henry (Gene) preceded him in death. He leaves two sisters, Lillian (Stell) Wyatt and Belinda Mack and several in-laws including Roy Wyatt, Loretta Niblack, Roslyn Johnson, Matthew Barton (Carol), Mary Ferrell (Milton), John Barton, Sherry Murray (Rick) and Troy Barton (Lashana).
Godchildren are: Walter Jacobs Jr., Latanya Gay, Maurice Drake, Darryl Roberts, Naheemah Salaam, Aquella Hassan, Ashley Childs-Beckett; Takyra West and Nasire Massey. Special children include Damarah Brown, Yvonne Brown-Keith Burgundy Murphy and special grandchildren, Michael and Araceli Aviles.
Two adopted sisters, Diana Fields and Shirley Gilchrist; Niblack’s other dad, Elder Goldwire McClendon; and dear friend Patricia McClendon, are also listed as survivors.
Mamie Lucille Watson was known to be a “smart woman” who was strong and independent. Watson was highly intelligent, well respected and a mentor to many.
“She was a wonderful, caring and giving person who was always there when you needed her,” said her son William Watson. “If you needed a friend, she was there for you.”
Watson said he was moved by all the support he has received since his mother’s death.
“She was a very big-hearted lady,” he said. “She touched so many lives. There were so many people who called her mother and thought so highly of her.”
Watson died October 9. She was 87.
Watson was born on September 12, 1924 in Philadelphia, the eldest child to Spann and Alice Sanders. She was big sister to Spann “Jack” Sanders Jr. and Everett Thurman Sanders. The western section of the city was where she experienced life. She easily matriculated through the Philadelphia school system and received her diploma from Overbrook High School in 1941.
She married Moses William Watson in 1942. From that union came her three children, William, Edward and Brenda.
Watson supported her children with the help of her family and by working diligently. She did day’s work and was a packer at Crown Can Company until finally landing a terrific job. Her family said that The United States Signal Corp located then at Broad and Cherry streets employed this young Black woman who showed eagerness, promise and potential. After working several years in Philadelphia, her department moved to Fort Monmouth, N.J. Watson sacrificed and would leave from 69th Street every morning at 6 a.m. to make the 180-mile round trip. While there, she preformed various positions as she moved up the ranks, which was difficult for most.
She advanced her career by taking classes offered by the government in the evening at Benjamin Franklin High School. Watson retired from the federal government as a supply cataloger after 30 or more years of extraordinary service.
With a thirst for learning, she continued her personal growth entering Philadelphia Community College at the mature age of sixty. She proved successful and received her Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing shortly thereafter.
Watson met the Lord early in life at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. Later in life she enjoyed the word at Sharon Baptist Church and was moved to join.
Her love for Jesus Christ was displayed in a number of ways. She found inspiration singing for the Mt. Carmel Choir under the direction of the late Napper H. Hester III. She carried the soprano section with her beautiful, melodious voice.
She also joined the Mt. Carmel Chorus and later the Mother’s Guild of the church where she flourished. Watson was also a member of the Noon Day Bible Study class and loved it.
She realized the Lord had gifted her with talents beyond her or anyone’s imagination. Writing, casting, directing and perfecting plays was something she enjoyed. She ensured excellence by incorporating her family to act and assist with the presentations. The performances were usually standing room only. Her works were in demand and pereformed at other churches as well.
Going to shows, plays and dining out were among her favorite things to do in her younger years.
She also enjoyed listening to jazz. Nina Simone, Lena Horne and Dinah Washington were her favorites. You could find Ms. Mamie reading, writing or doing research on various subjects. Watson was a person who appreciated the nice things in life. All who knew her agreed that she was kind, considerate, caring, loving, giving and had a heart of gold.
Watson leaves to mourn: two sons; William (Jeanette) and Edward; grandchildren, Kevin, Edward, Keisha Marie, Christopher, Staci, Brian and Ashley; great-grandchildren; brother, Spann “Jack” Sanders; loving nieces and nephews; great nieces and great nephews; and a host of people who called her “Mother.”
She was preceded in death by her parents and daughter, Brenda.
Services will be held October 14 at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave. The viewing will be form 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The service will start at 10. Julian Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.