Crystal Lenear had a loving spirit she put on display for the people in her life. She was devoted to her mother, Lurene, making sure she talked to her on almost a daily basis. She showed unconditional love to those she touched as demonstrated by how she lovingly cared for her brother Gregory who predeceased her.
This same caring spirit was exhibited by the care she gave her fiancé’s father, Robert Rivers. She was as protective of her pets, two cats, Gus & Max and a dog, Caesar, as some parents are of their children. Lenear died Sept. 19 as a result of a car accident. She was 43.
“She loved family and friends and her biggest desire was to be around family and friends,” Annie Mackey said, her aunt. “She was just a loving person.”
Lenear was born on Sept. 6, 1968 to Robert and Lurene Lenear in Philadelphia.
She was the youngest of three children.
She received her early spiritual training at New Bethlehem Baptist Church where she was baptized under the pastorate of the late Rev. James F. Scott. She was a member of Sunday school and Baptist Training Union. She was one of several cousins and other family members who worshipped together at New Bethlehem.
Lenear received her education in the Philadelphia School District, graduating from the Overbrook High School. She went on to attend Pierce College and Gordon Phillips Beauty School. Her journey through life included four girl friends, which lasted until her death.
Her early employment by the City of Philadelphia was in the Emergency Operating Center. She later became employed at Amtrak where she worked for over 22 years, holding positions in the Reservations Sales Department and in the Philadelphia Club Acela Lounge. She transferred to Amtrak’s Washington headquarters in June 2010 where she was recently promoted to a position as a quality assurance analyst. Her competence on the job was recognized when she was selected to provide training to the Amtrak staff in Sanford, Florida; Lorton, Virginia; and Philadelphia. She thoroughly enjoyed working for Amtrak, and she excelled in her positions.
She and her fiancé, Wayne, were the perfect host and hostess at many fellowships with family and friends reminiscent of family get-togethers that were only excelled by her Grandmom Smith. Those who attended experienced a genuine fun-filled atmosphere with lots of good food.
Lenear’s family said her favorite pastime of shopping yielded numerous pairs of shoes and outfits. She even loved to shop for food almost as much as she did for clothes. She was as meticulous about the type of food she bought as she was about wearing apparel.
Lenear leaves to mourn: mother, Lurene; father, Robert; brother, Michael (Sharon); fiancé, Wayne Rivers; the Rivers Family; aunts; great aunt, Jessie Timmons; uncles; great uncle; nieces; great nieces; and a host of cousins, loved ones and friends.
Services will be held Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m.
Christopher G. Kent Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church is calling on Christians to “Occupy Church” and become empowered to fight for social justice from a spiritual perspective. To that end, they’ve invited three high profile voices in the struggle to share their thoughts.
Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. Dr. Obery Hendricks and Rev. Reginald T. Jackson are scheduled to speak at the church during the 11 a.m. service Sunday.
“The social witness Sunday is something that’s been on my mind for quite some time and I guess you could say that it’s our reaction to what we perceive to be an overemphasis on things such as prosperity and the church being a place just for God to bless you,” said the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel.
“There seems to be a decrease in the emphasis on things that used to be important in the life of the church which is to really be a voice in the community.”
Tyler said that it was a matter of Biblical principle for the church to be a voice that speaks on issues that are important to those that have the least.
“The New Testament reminds us that the church really ought to be about doing for the least of these, and in the city that we live in, very often the least of these have no one to speak for them. So, when school children throughout public schools in Philadelphia find themselves in overcrowded classrooms because of budget cuts in Harrisburg, they have no lobbyists to speak on their behalf,” Tyler said.
“The church can be that voice to advocate for things that are important and for those that are considered to be the least of these.”
Tyler described the scheduled speakers as having a heart for the people. The participants were more than ready to have their say.
“I think those that say the church should stay out of it aren’t Biblically sound and really do not understand what Christ was all about. Christ would be very much involved and engaged in issues such as it relates to the poor,” Jackson said, pastor and pioneer in the fight against racial profiling by police in New Jersey.
“He would very much be involved with issues as it relates to social justice. That’s clear from reading his word.”
Jackson cited reasons why the church has strayed away from its great commission.
“I think one, we have become so caught up with taking care of our priestly responsibilities that we have forgotten that the Lord has also called us to prophetic responsibilities,” he said.
“There was a time when the Black church was a voice to nobody that to speak for them and to fight for those who had nobody to fight for them. We have to reclaim that.”
Hendricks, a Biblical scholar, former seminary president, and author of the new book “The Universe Bends Toward Justice,” previewed what he would he be discussing; much of it will center around his book.
“It’s a book of very wide ranging passionate essays taking on conservative politics and the religious right and the distortions that they’ve conveyed about the church and about the religion of Jesus Christ,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks accused conservatives of not having enough of an interest for the poor.
“They’re not concerned about the have nots. For some reason, their policies are all skewed towards the haves, and that is a direct contradiction and violation of Jesus,” he said.
“Conservatives have always been about conserving wealth and power where it already is, and so what we’re seeing in these recent years is that they’ve just become more bold about it and less concerned about hiding their intentions and one thing that’s helped them do that is that they hide behind religion now.”
Tyler said that gatherings such as these helped to plant a seed within people, which would lead to a harvest of activity.
“In every generation, there is something that is at work that needs good people of faith to stand up and say that this is not what God would want. It’s about identifying within our own time those issues where the voice of the least of these can be heard,” he said.
“I just think that it’s absolutely wrong that we can find money in Pennsylvania to build two or three new prisons and yet we cannot find money to keep funding at a level it needs to be for public school education — and somebody needs to speak about that. Somebody not only needs to speak about it, but do something about it.”
For more information on Social Justice Sunday at Mother Bethel AME Church on Sunday, Nov. 13, starting at 11 a.m. go to http://www.MotherBethel.org or contact the church office at (215) 925-0616.
The St. Paul Chapel Baptist Church rang in the New Year with a festive celebration that set the tone to all the blessings that 2012 will bring for the congregation.
The Rev. Jermaine T. Heath Sr. has been the charismatic senior pastor of St. Paul for the past seven years and his enthusiasm for leading his church is still in full bloom. He brimmed with excitement over where God will lead the church in the coming months.
“Our theme for the year is basically great expectations, the journey begins,” he said. “We’re not only expecting something great from God but God is expecting great things from our lives. “
That declaration is also extended to their community as St. Paul is a church that ministers through the word, worship and the liberating and healing power of the gospel.
“We try to help the members understand that number one, the church is you. You are the individual. We are a group of people that make up St. Paul Baptist Church and not the building,” Heath said.
“So when people understand that, that the church is an organism, that it’s a live group of people that go out to spread the message of the gospel, it helps to change the mindset of the people not just looking at a building so much but understanding that’s who they are. We are the church.”
Heath cited his preaching style as a way that he has been able to convey that understanding.
“I believe in my preaching style that not only should your soul be stirred up but your mind should be transformed,” he said.
“I’m trying to educate and give people an understanding of why they should get excited abut what they hear, why they should be excited about Christ,” Heath added. “So, it is illustrative but very centered in the word.”
Others lauded his leadership.
“The sermons that he gives are sermons that speak on not only the word of God and how we should live but also he speaks and tries to reach the heart of people with the Bible and with the message of bringing it into reality.” said the Rev. John A. Crost Sr. “And also, standing on the word. So, others not only accept Christ but they become disciples.”
Crost is the associate pastor at St. Paul and Heath’s uncle. He marveled at his nephew’s growth as a pastor.
“He started it with me at the Church of Redeemer as a deacon and the Lord called him to the industry and he began to grow in the ministry as an associate minister,” he said. “I’ve seen him grow spiritually and biblically in the word. His messages are very uplifting and edifying.”
Crost invited the community to partake in the worship experience.
“The church is a church that welcomes people with open arms,” he said. “You will be enriched and the Bible will be made alive in your heart when you hear the sermons there.”
Estelle Smith, a deaconess, has been a member of St. Paul since 1981. She explained what kept her coming back year after year. She said it was a warm church and everyone knew the other.
“I live in Delaware now, but I come 45 minutes to church for the fact that the church itself meets all my needs, spiritually, socially,” she said. “We don’t have too many in my age group that are still around but I enjoy the youth and they enjoy me and I just like to be a part of stuff, the ongoing things that I take part of.”
Smith also had words of praise for Heath. She was incredibly touched when he visited her in the hospital following her heart attack.
“He’s young, but he also meets the needs of the youth as well as the elderly and I find him to be a dynamic speaker,” Smith said. “He can speak on many subjects and you won’t fall asleep. He’s a preacher that will not let you fall asleep. Some ministers are just there to speak to you.”
Heath said his personal growth has enabled him to gain the trust, admiration and confidence of his fellowship.
“During the seven years, we have gone through a transformation with our church,” he said. “The church, when I first got there, was a much older congregation with about maybe 25 people. Now, we are a well diverse group of people with young adults, children, youth and seniors and we approximately around 170 members. So, it’s been a great change at St. Paul.
“For me as a pastor, I have not only grown not only in the word but also just understanding people and reaching out to people and understanding people,” Heath said.
St. Paul Chapel Baptist Church
1217 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19146
Service: 11 a.m.
Church: (215) 467-4158
Rev. Jermaine T. Heath Sr.
Duane Anthony Sewell was a head and neck surgeon whose career was marked by an impressive number of honors, research grants, faculty teaching awards and professional awards, including the John Harvard Scholarship (Dean’s List) and summa cum laude for his senior thesis, Harvard University, Outstanding Medical Student from the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Helen O. Dickens Award from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, the Percy Memorial Research Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology and many others. In his clinical practice, he demonstrated love for people regardless of social status. He was dearly loved by his family, professional colleagues and friends.
Sewell died Nov. 26 of stomach cancer. He was 44.
“He was a humble, intelligent and talented person,” Dr. Trevor Sewell said, his father. “He was friendly and kind.”
Sewell was born on Nov. 3, 1967 in Milwaukee, Wis. At age 5, his family moved to Philadelphia where his father accepted a faculty position at Temple University. He and his sister Andrea grew up in Elkins Park where he attended public schools. He was always excited about learning and school satisfied his curiosity and allowed him to engage in outdoor activities with friends. His early reading skills could be attributed to a driving desire to be able to read sports statistics and the TV Guide for game schedules.
He graduated from Abington High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University, cum laude and went on to earn a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was married to Catherine, whom he met while they were both students in medical school. They got engaged the night of their graduation from medical school and jointly celebrated their medical degrees, acceptance into residency programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital and their engagement.
“He was an exceptional husband and father, and I was blessed to have him in my life for 17 years. He was my soul mate, and we were kindred spirits,” his wife said.
According to his parents, he was a “wonderful son, and the combination of intelligence, kindness, humility and the ability to relate to others with ease and grace made him a greatly loved human being.” His sister Andrea who formerly owned Serenity Inspirational Gifts & Coffee Shop in Glenside was thrilled with the attendance and reaction of community residents when her brother led a discussion at her shop on medical issues.
After completing his residency in the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sewell later returned to the University of Pennsylvania as a research fellow in the Department of Immunology and as a fellow in Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology.
Following his academic and clinical studies, he was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. He also worked as a staff surgeon at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Philadelphia.
In 2007, he accepted a position at the University of Maryland Medical Center where he continued his medical research with a sharp focus on cancer immunotherapy. His clinical expertise was head and neck oncologic surgery.
The head of his academic department also a research colleague and friend, saw Sewell as one who worked tirelessly to better the human condition through research because he lived his life with integrity, dignity and quiet strength. He was a man of deep faith and was a mentor in the truest sense of the word — he made a difference.
After committing his life to Christ as a teenager, he remained a member of Cedar Park Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until he moved away to college.
Sewell leaves to mourn: wife, Catherine; sons, Sean Trevor and Joshua Edward; parents, Dr. and Mrs. Trevor Sewell; sister, Andrea; in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Pilgrim, Adrian Pilgrim; and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in honor of Dr. Sewell to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, 22 South Green Street, Baltimore, Md. 21201-1595 and specify the “Sewell Head and Neck Cancer Research Fund.”
A memorial service in his honor was held Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Cedar Park Presbyterian Church, Limekiln Pike and Upsal Street. Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
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.
Farel Frederick Johnson, affectionately known as Freddie, who died Nov. 30 at age 96, was quite the entrepreneur.
In his native Jamaica, he owned Freddie’s Bar and Restaurant and served as a personal tour guide for the famous actor Errol Flynn, during his visits there. In the United States, he owned and operated a barbershop in West Philadelphia for over 40 years.
“He was a devoted father and devoted friend,” said his daughter Elaine Johnson-Adams.
Johnson was born on Aug. 8, 1915, in Cold Springs, Hanover, Jamaica, West Indies, to Zachariah Cuban and Alice Johnson.
He spent his early years in Jamaica, where he developed a love for cricket, croquet, bird shooting and fishing. He completed his formal education at 18 and went on to hone his culinary skills. While in Jamaica he had five children, Clifford, Ronald, Citrine, Locksley and Audrey.
Johnson came to the U.S. in 1943 during World War II to find a better life for his family. He worked as a chef, cooking for soldiers, and a factory worker for Campbell Soup Co. He received his barber’s license in 1952 and became a surgical barber at Philadelphia General Hospital.
In the early 1940s, he met his first wife, Dorothy Williams, who had two children, Vares (Colleen), and Grace. In 1944, he married Dorothy and from their union came five children, Farel, Alice, Faith, Elaine and Crystal.
He was the Sir Knight and assistant secretary for 20 years of The William Penn Lodge #1 of Philadelphia under the Grand Jurisdiction of the Alpha District Grand Lodge #1 of The Independent United Order of Mechanics, Friendly Society, of The Western Hemisphere, Inc.
Johnson is survived by: 10 children, Clifford “Jakes” Johnson , Ronald Johnson (Valerie), Citrine Johnson, Audrey “Blossom” Johnson, Locksley Johnson (Patricia), Farel Frederick Johnson Jr. (Joyce), Alice Johnson (Ralph), Faith Johnson-Bonecutter (Bruce), Elaine Johnson-Adams (Barry) and Crystal Torrence (Darryl), and adopted daughter Stephanie Gilchrist (Charles); more than 40 grandchildren and a multitude of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his second wife, Ola Johnson, and his partner and companion, Maxine Seney.
Services will be held Dec. 8 at Yeadon Presbyterian Church, 541 Holly Road in Yeadon. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
John Wesley Myles was an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He served as a member of the King of Prussia Rotary Club and was a former Lt. Gov. of the Kiwanis Club. Mr. Myles was a Republican Committeeman and was a supporter of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. He died Sept. 15. He was 71.
Myles was a member of the Peace Corps who served in Somalia, Africa. He was a former teacher of mathematics at Gillespie Middle School in Philadelphia and was the first African-American State Farm insurance agent in Pennsylvania.
Myles is survived by: wife, Dr. Geraldine Hinnant Myles; daughter, Julia Anne Myles; siblings, Ruth Pettis, Gilda Myles and Paul Myles; mother, Birdette Myles; godchildren, Jeremy May and Diakeim Lyles; aunts, Lucille Woodford, Dean Morrison and Brooksie Davis.
He was preceded in death by his father, Jesse Myles, and brother, Jesse Myles Jr.
Services will be Sept. 22 at the Grace Baptist Church of Germanton 25 W. Johnson St. The viewing will be at 9:30 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1626 Locust St. Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Kirk & Nice Funeral Home, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Elijah Larry Lang was always witnessing to others about the love, grace and forgiveness of God. He studied the Word day and night. It became his passion. He also became the Book Steward for the Philadelphia Annual Conference, appointed by Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings. He sold Church School materials, Disciplines and Hymn Books. He died September 19. He was 88.
Lang was born on February 20, 1923, to his parents Eliza and Zack, in Palmetto, Fla. They were proud of their beautiful son. He was the youngest child in the family. He had four brothers and five sisters. He also had a loving aunt and uncle whom he loved dearly — Uncle John and Aunt Isabella.
He was introduced to Christ through the Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he professed Christ as his Savior at an early age. He had to clean the church weekly with his older brother Richard. He would rather clean the church than work on the farm. He grew to become a good Bible student and loved to recite poems and study the scriptures.
One summer, he was asked to attend the Sunday School Convention. He recited a poem and Bishop Henry Young Tookes was so impressed that he offered him a scholarship to Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla. From there he transferred to Florida A&M University. Life was very difficult having to work dining halls and being a short-order cook, but he was determined to make it. He also attended Alabama State Teachers College, Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania.
When Lang graduated from Florida A&M University, he was working and had to be reminded that he was on the graduation list.
Lang later became head of the Business Department at Central High School in Mobile, Ala. It was there that divine providence allowed him to meet his soulmate, Martha LaDuna. Several years later they were married in Philadelphia by Rev. T.E. Harper, pastor of St. Matthew A.M.E. Church. To this union, two children were born — Ron and Yetta. A niece, Queene Mays, also came to live with the Lang family.
Lang worked two full-time jobs to support his household. Ultimately, he retired from the Youth Study Center for Delinquent Boys and the Board of Education as a business teacher. He loved children and was a father to many at school and church.
Additionally, upon arriving in Philadelphia, Lang joined St. Matthew A.M.E. Church where he was appointed the Sunday School Superintendent, a steward and a class leader. At St. Matthew, he also had a vision to start a training class to teach church school workers how to teach the Bible.
Many of the pastors and Christian Education workers in the Philadelphia Annual Conference had their beginning at Standard Bible Evening School, which later changed to City Wide Interdenominational Christian Training Institute (CWICTI). Lang loved the organization dearly. It has been in existence for 44 years.
Additionally, Lang left St. Matthew to join Mt. Tabor A.M.E. Church, where his wife had become pastor. At Mt. Tabor, he bought the church school van to pick up persons who could not come to church on their own. He also encouraged the downtrodden to join the church and to look to Jesus — the author and finisher of their faith for whatever they needed.
Lang leaves to mourn: wife, Martha; daughters, Carolyn (William) and Yetta (John); sons, Nathaniel (Cheryl), Larrion (Janice) and Lehron; 15 grandchildren, Jacquelyn, Derek, Trelliss, Kamya, Britt, Portia, Lucinda, Scarlet, Ishmeal, Stephanie, Chave, Timothy, Rakiah, Keyana and Raina; 14 great-grandchildren; sister, Lucille Hay; mother-in-law, Elizabeth LaDuna DuBose; special niece, Queene Mays; sisters-in-law, Alice Bradley (Larry) and Shante Reese (Earl); brothers-in-law, Joseph LaDuna (Mattie), Victor LaDuna (Gloria), Percy LaDuna (Shirley) and Michael LaDuna; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; Godchildren, Solomon, Tyrrea, Jarreau, Ja Ja, Hasan, Kia, Stephanie, Joey, Andre and William; Sharon Campbell and Marie Bell (Les); and good friends, Sammy McNeil, Isaac Anderson, Sr. and Camilla Hollins.
Services will be held Sept. 30, at Mt. Tabor AME Church, 961 North 7th St. The viewing will be at 8 a.m. The service will start at 10.
Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
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.
Arlethia Sandra Gaymon Smith, 57, was a native Philadelphian who resided in the Logan section of the city. The teacher’s assistant died suddenly on Dec. 23 from complications of heart disease.
“We were all shocked that Mommy took ill and just did not recover. She had asthma really badly and would sometimes go into distress. This time was very different,” reflected her youngest daughter, Sarah.
Smith was born on Oct. 10, 1954, the second child of James and Fannie (née Aikens) Gaymon.
“Our Mom was devoted to her parents, especially her mother, who lived long after their father died. She showed us how family should stick together and take care of each other,” said another daughter, Felicia Summerville.
Smith received her education in the Philadelphia public schools and graduated from William Penn High School in 1972. She met Alfred A. Smith, and they married on Aug. 26, 1972.
“After our dad’s death, Mommy worked so hard to make sure that we would be all right. She pulled the load of four children on her own, setting a good example for us,” remembered daughter Frannie.
Her daughter Shandell shared her memories.
“One thing our mom and grandmother instilled in us was faith in God. They made sure we were active in Sunday School and church from birth to adult years,” she said. “Mom insisted that we participate in all that was offered at the church where we grew up, Foster Memorial Baptist Church. We watched her work with different ministries and serve in the kitchen for special occasions.”
Smith was still employed with the School District of Philadelphia at the time of her death. She had served as a teacher’s assistant for approximately 24 years.
“Mommy was dedicated to the children at the schools where she worked,” Sarah said.
“Her specialty was working with children with special needs. She had patience and was excited when they made even small strides in their development. She would encourage them to try new things so they could gain more confidence,” remembered Sarah.
Felicia continued with her memories.
“Everybody who knew our mom knew that she could make you laugh at the simplest things. She took delight in seeing people have fun. Her favorite pastimes included shopping, cooking and spending time with her grandchildren and goddaughter,” Felicia said.
“Her most memorable moments were having her granddaughters over every weekend and her grandson, Dooddie, calling her every day just to say, ‘I love you, Grandmom.’ The last call for her every night was from her first grandchild, Tashinique. That is how her night ended on December 22 a few hours before her passing.”
Smith is survived by: four daughters, Shandell Smith, Felicia “Ruby” Summerville, Franny Smith and Sarah Robinson; son-in-law, Loavel Summerville III; four granddaughters, Tashanique Butler, Caliah Williford, Christina Dawkins and Ta’shyia Butler; four grandsons, Christopher Dawkins, Semaj Thorney, Alan “Dooddie” Barrett and Sajae Thorney; one sister, Audrey Gaymon; two sisters-in-law, Ruby Beale and Tina Cosom; two brothers-in-law, William Smith and Clarence Smith; godsister Theresa Lanzey; goddaughter, Jasmine Lanzey; a host of nieces, nephews and cousins; and her Bache Martin Family.
Services will be held Dec. 30, at Foster Memorial Baptist Church, 2401 N. 18th Street. The viewing will start at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Sabbath Funeral Home handled the arrangements.