Samuel J. Watts Jr. proudly served in the United States Army during World War II and was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for over 60 years. He spent many hours in support of his wife, Edna, and being involved in activities with Jack and Jill of America, Inc. He was a member of P.O.N’s and the Old Philadelphia Club.
He had an illustrious career with the Philadelphia Public School District He served as a teacher and subsequently served 33 years as a principal. He also served one year as Headmaster of Miquon School in Montgomery County, Pa. He served the State of Pennsylvania as the Governor’s delegate at the White House conference on Children and Youth in Washington, D.C.
Watts died Nov. 7 in Pensacola, Florida. A memorial service was held for him December 10, at Salem Baptist Church. He was 92.
“I want him to be remembered for his education, experience and his care for the children in the school system,” said Gregory Watts, his son.
Watts was born on Feb. 20, 1919, to Samuel and Marion (Ross) Watts. He was the eldest of four children. He was married to the late Geraldine Emerson and had one child, Gregory E. Watts. He later married Edna Dennis West. In addition to the blending of her daughter, Stephne, and his son Gregory, they had two daughters from their union, Trina and Tracey. His immediate family was complete. He and Edna were married for 50 years.
Watts was educated in the Philadelphia Public School District, graduating from Central High School. He was a graduate of Cheyney University and received his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania, with post-graduate work at the University of Massachusetts.
One of his greatest endeavors which brought him great happiness was working at Camp Mohawk, a 268-acre property in the Catskill Mountains of New York where he was co-owner and director from 1960 to 1968. The camp provided many life changing experiences for its campers from around the United States as well as for its multi-cultural staff.
Watts enjoyed fishing, cooking and painting. He loved the beach. He always talked about family times in Atlantic City and Cape May. He spent many hours just talking and thinking. He always wanted to know what you thought. He was a philosopher, a diplomat, someone who could always see the other side of the coin and would investigate all avenues to get there.
Watts raised his family at Christ Church of St Michael. He later in life joined, and was baptized at, Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, under the late Robert Johnson-Smith Sr.
Watts is survived by: four children, Dr. Stephne West, Gregory Watts, Trina Reddish and Tracey Penullar; daughter-in-law, Eleanor Watts; two sons-in-law, Barry Reddish and Roberto Penullar; four grandsons, Brandon Watts, Stanley Lawson, Richard Lawson and Roberto Penullar Jr.; sister-in-law, Johnnie Ruth Watts, a host of nieces, nephews; and an extended family, all of whom loved and admired him.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Geraldine Emerson, second wife, Edna, and siblings George, Jennie and John.
Florence G. Garrett was always an entrepreneur and hard worker. Her home continued to be a hub of loving support for community children, students, foster children and family who fondly called her “Lady.” Garrett died November 9 of cancer. She was 79.
Garrett wore a number of hats. She opened the Gingham Room Donut Shop, was a City of Philadelphia Crossing Guard, a nurse’s aide at Byberry and a security guard at Germantown Friends School. As physical limitations increased, she was still politically active.
Garrett was born on September 9, 1932 to Emma L. Ervin and Frank Wilson in Belmont, N.C. in 1932. She was loved by her family. At an early age they moved to Harrisburg. She experienced the sting of segregation and difficult times, but always pointed her goals toward a positive end. She met and later married Daniel R. Garrett Sr.
In 1950, the family moved to West Philadelphia. In 1960, she selected Mt. Airy as her home where she has stayed for the duration of her fruitful life.
Her family said that as a devoted mother she always kept a cheerful, neat home where God’s love in Christ set the mark. She was the director of the choir and a member of the Prayer and Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, and later joined Advocate St. United Methodist Church.
Garrett was block captain on her street and worked diligently on community beautification, racial harmony, supporting the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and eliminating gang violence.
Garrett, along with Joyce and Willie Rush, The Altemares, Leon Walker, Ms. Bair and the Hasaras created The Neighbors of the Hill.
As president, Garrett recruited countless others who together worked with the late Honorable David P. Richardson and late Mayor Frank Rizzo. At that time, District Attorney Ed Rendell became involved to assist in keeping West Mt. Airy a safe place to live.
She worked with Tom Arthurs to secure The Allen Lane Housing Project for low-income and disabled neighbors. Garrett was also instrumental in creating the Child Welfare Advisory Board and volunteered on various citywide boards for Human Services.
She rewarded active community volunteers with an annual trip to Hershey Park for the last 35 years. She received two Chapel of Four Chaplains Awards, a Poe Richards Club Award, the Sampson L. Freedman Humanities Award and various community Awards along with Presidential letters of recognition. She even had the only integrated Street Hockey Team, The Mt. Airy Flames, which went on to state competition.
Garrett is survived by: children, Deborah Garrett, Avis Shaw (Tony), Danese Saunders, Rosalind McKelvey (Howard), Stephanie Garrett, Florence Crystal Grazella (Gary), Daniel R. Garrett Jr., Craig Garrett, Brian Garrett (Arissa) and William Murphy Garrett II (Karen); 26 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a host of foster grandchildren, friends and relatives who will greatly miss her.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel R. Garrett, and one grandchild.
Services will be held November 18 at Holsey Temple CME Church, 5305 Germantown Ave. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11. Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Marie Blocker was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and her career spanned four decades before she retired from Pennsylvania State Hospital in 1986. She was described as loved and respected by everyone who knew her. She died October 10. She was 96.
Blocker was born on April 2, 1915, in Tennelle, Ga. to the late Hickory T. Johnson and Mary B. Hunt. One of 14 children, she grew to love the sounds of a full house surrounded by family.
Blocker was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system where she developed a love of reading.
She married Gus Blocker on September 22, 1932. From this union, seven children were born. Loved ones said there wasn’t a selfish bone in her body. She always greeted everyone with joy and a smile. She never complained and was never judgmental or intrusive — but if you asked for her opinion, she would gladly share her wisdom and was seldom wrong.
Blocker is survived by: two daughters; Rosalie and Jacqueline; son, Tyree; daughters-in-law, Janice and Clarice; and son-in-law, Bernie.
Services will be held October 18 at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, 1901 West Tioga St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
William T. Valentine Jr., known as “Bill,” will be remembered by his family as a humanitarian.
Valentine’s family said he had a passion for helping others. He was a dedicated life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for 30 years. He was also an active member of Concerned Black Men, The Frontiers, the Big Brother and Big Sister Organization and the Free of Life Ministry.
His family said he had a carefree spirit and attitude. Valentine died on January 30. He was 58.
Valentine was born on October 27, 1953, to William T. Sr. and Florine M. Valentine. He was baptized and confirmed at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. He was a dedicated member for 50 years. He served diligently as an acolyte, youth instructor, music committee, basketball coach, Sunday school teacher and also as a lay Eucharistic minister and a lay reader.
He received his education in the Philadelphia Public School District. He obtained a bachelor of science degree from Drexel University and a master’s degree in education from Cheyney University.
A highlight of his work experience is his 16-year career at the Defense Support System and five years as a teacher in the Philadelphia Public School District. He was also employed at the Philadelphia Department of Human Services as a social worker for nine years at the time of his death.
He was also an official referee for football, softball and basketball in the following organizations: UBBO, Tri State, ABC and PIAA Associations. He also taught and played tennis. He would take time out of his activities to get to the gym to workout and play racquetball.
He loved watching sports with his Aunt Catherine, who is known as Miss Kitty, especially the SuperBowl.
Valentine leaves to mourn: aunt, Catherine; companion, Norma; godchildren, Isaac George, Zuleka and Samaria Mesquita, Lynette Dickerson; godfather, Emory Thomas; many cousins and extended family.
Services were held on February 9 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Abraham William James Jr., also known as Billy, was employed by various companies due to his computer skills, but his final employment was at Drexel University, where he was a facilities administrator and a part-time professor. He died on November 23 due to complications from a short bout with pneumonia. He was 72.
James was born on November 25, 1938 to Abraham William James Sr., and Carrie Isabella Thoroughgood James in Philadelphia. The family lived in the West Philadelphia section of the city for the majority of the children’s upbringing; they were a happy and normal working class family and a great addition to their community.
In 1962, James joined the Army as a cryptologist and served in various countries until 1967 when he was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve.
James earned a bachelor’s of arts degree and attended The Curtis Institute, Temple University and the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. Although his vocation was computers, his true love and passion was for music, specifically jazz. Prior to working in computers he was a very popular Philadelphia jazz musician and worked with some of the greats, including, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner and many more.
In the early ’70s, he met and married Barbara Richardson. On August 5, 1973 she gave birth to their only son, Christopher James. Throughout the years, James and his son Christopher were very active in helping his father Abe Sr. care for his many rental properties and was able to instill a pride in ownership that he inherited from his father.
James leaves to mourn: son, Christopher James; three grandchildren, Brianna, Cierra and Christopher Jr. (CJ); daughter-in-law, Shawnee James; two aunts, Sarah Reid and Mary Dixon; sister, Constance; and a host of relatives and friends.
Services were held December 3 at Wood Funeral Home.
Louis Davis Sr., affectionately called Lou, was awarded an American Theater Ribbon and a World War II Victory medal. He actively participated in American Legion Post 110. He matriculated as an electrician, a musician and attended school for culinary arts. Davis died November 20. He was 84.
He was employed at the Fans Theater, the Philadelphia Sanitation Department, the Docks, the Navy Yard and the Pyramid Bar. He was a proprietor of several newspaper stands and the corner store on the 600 block of Preston Street.
Davis was born on February 16, 1927 to Marion and James Davis in Philadelphia. He and his siblings were baptized at Penn Memorial Baptist Church. Later in life, he joined Community Baptist Church. He was educated in the Philadelphia School System. He served in the Army Air Corp from 1945 to 1947.
Davis married Marie Barber on September 12, 1948. From this union, three children were born, Louis Davis Jr., Richard Davis and Rev. Marian Mitchell.
Davis leaves to mourn: children, Louis A. Davis Jr., Richard A. Davis, Allan Lloyd and Rev. Marian C Mitchell; son-in-law, Pastor Ernest Mitchell III; daughters-in-law, Lucy Martin and Joanne Sills; grandchildren, Malcolm Louis Davis, Ernest Mitchell IV, Bree Martin, Ernisha C.M. Mitchell and Marissa Christa Mitchell; great-grandchildren, Brier Torrence and Dasia Marie Mitchell; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Sara Young, Rose Smith, Barbara Barber, Marian Barber, Eugene and Peggy Brown, and Richard and Brenda Brown; a host of loving nieces and nephews; grandnieces and nephews; cousins, Gertrude Doggins and Reuben Drew; godchildren, Noelle Pimento, Marc Miles and Daniel Butts; “adopted children,” Darryl and Leroy Johnson, Barry Floyd, Kyra Price and all of the 600 Block of Preston Street; special friends “Bootsie” Roberts, Harold and Mr. Lawrence Cathey.
Davis was preceded in death by his parents; seven siblings, James, Curtis, John Paul, Elmira, Marion, Helen and Blanche; and his wife, Marie Davis.
Services will be held Nov. 29 at Wood Funeral Home, 5537–39 W. Girard Ave. The viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11.
Katherine M. Hardeman was well known as a fabulous cook and hostess. As a long time resident of 1300 block of Christian Street in South Philadelphia, she hosted an “Open House” on New Years Day for many years. Hardeman died on Oct. 14. She was 89.
Hardeman was born on Jan. 15, 1922, in Eldridge, Md., to the late John and Iola Myers. Her family said that people from all walks of life and from all over the city would gather at her house for something to eat, drink or just to get warm.
“She was a very classy lady. She loved to dress,” Jamie Clark, her niece said. “Of course she was a loving and great aunt.”
Hardeman leaves to mourn: brother, John Myers (Bernice); several nieces, nephews and a host of other family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, James Hardeman.
Private services were already held. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Mattie Mae Richardson, affectionately known as “Sister,” enjoyed many things including dancing, listening to her favorite music, which was blues and gospel, partying with her friends, having fun with her children and grandchildren or just relaxing in her room watching her old TV shows and old movies. She died on Jan. 22. She was 65.
Richardson was born on Nov. 30, 1946 to Jerlean and Isaac “Buddy” Smith in Sardis, Ga. She accepted Jesus Christ at an early age and was baptized at John Beach Baptist Church in Savannah.
In 1956, her parents moved to Philadelphia. She was educated in the Philadelphia public schools and graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1965. After graduating, she became a court stenographer in the Philadelphia courts.
In 1965, she married William J. Richardson. They had three sons, Rodney, Stacey and Andre. In 1971, she moved to the 2500 block of Marston where she remained until her death.
Her family said she believed Marston Street was family-oriented and loved her family and their children. She would babysit, pick kids up from school and put them in their place when they needed “old-school” style.
In 1989, she participated in the OIC program founded by the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan. In six months, she completed the program, graduated and earned a certificate in clerical studies.
Richardson is survived by her sons, Rodney (Mary), Stacey and Andre Sr. (Regina); sister, Barbara Holden; uncle, James Cooper; two aunts, Bessie Williams and Joanne Griffin; 12 grandchildren, Demetrius, Charniece, Maurice, Raniece, Cornelius, Shelique, Stacey Jr., Madelina, Ambria, Andre Jr., Adonai and Ache; a great-grandchild, Dyzaire; two nieces, Sharon and NaTasha; and a host of cousins and friends.
Services were held Jan. 31 at Powell Mortuary Services.
Lottie B. Harvey was a wonderful wife and mother, devoted to raising her children and helping her husband with his business endeavors. She worked in the home as her husband’s bookkeeper. She died Nov. 12. She was 84.
Harvey was born on Feb. 1, 1927, in Forest, Miss. She completed her high school education, and then went on to earn a degree in cosmetology. She left Mississippi to come to Philadelphia to live with her cousin. She met and married William Harvey and the union produced five children, four sons and one daughter. They were married for 62 years.
Harvey’s loved ones described her as the sweetest woman, who was quiet, considerate, and attentive to her family. Never one to intrude, she gave support whenever needed. Friends and family loved, adored and respected her. As a child growing up in Mississippi, she was a member of the Methodist Church. In Philadelphia, she joined Foster Memorial Baptist Church and became a deaconess, and later, she joined Thankful Baptist Church.
Harvey is survived by: husband, William Harvey Sr.; five children, Barbara Andrews, Ralph Harvey, William Harvey, Jr., Wanzer Harvey, Derrick Harvey; siblings, Anne Deale, Betty Hughes, Thelma Hughes, Clara Williams and James Bobbitt; sister-in-love, Bonnie Smith, and a host of son and daughters in law, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Services were held Nov. 18. Ray Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Daisy Knight was a devoted church woman who held many positions at World of Life Baptist Church. She died October 29. She was 88.
Knight was born on April 11, 1923 in Roberta, Ga. where she lived with her parents Felton and Bessie Howard. At the age of 12, she joined the Shiloh Baptist where she was baptized and attended Sunday school Church.
At the age of 16, she moved to Philadelphia, where she lived with her older sister and brother-in-law, Mattie and Frank Miller until she met and married Charles Knight. From this marriage they raised two sons, Ronald C. Knight and Charles E. Knight.
In the late 1950s, she joined Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, where she was a member until 1984 when she joined Calvary Baptist Church and became a member of the senior choir. In 1997, Knight became a member of the “Word of Life Baptist Church” where she served as an usher, and sang with the praise and worship choir. In 1999 was made deaconess and pastor aide. In 2002, Daisy moved in with her son, Ronald Knight, in Skippack, Pennsylvania, but continued to be an active member in the Word of Life Baptist Church.
Knight is survived by: two sons, Charles and Ronald Knight; daughter-in-law, Theresa Knight; two granddaughters, Kristen and Katrina Knight; sisters, Ezell Felts, Marie Davis, Jean Battle, Elaine Hollis, Ardell Howard, Williemae Wonnum, Thelma Woods, Louise Baker and Brother Calvin Howard; sisters-in-law, Helene Howard, Geraldine Howard and Mary (Mae) Howard; brother-in-law, Rev. Phillip Baker; numerous nieces and nephews; godson, Benjamin Kahikina; goddaughter, Michele Nelson; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Services were held on November 4 at Word of Life Church Ministry. Terry Funeral Home handled the arrangements.