Joseph S. Prewitt, the operator of the Phoenix Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center, died on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, of lymphoma. He was 60.
He was born on Aug. 12, 1957, in Philadelphia as the youngest of four children of Manor Prewitt Sr. and the late Rose Bud Prewitt. He and his siblings spent their childhood living in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.
Prewitt and his family were founding members of Northeast Baptist Church. He was baptized at Northeast Baptist and sang on its choir. These early Christian experiences set the stage for a life of devotion to God and service to others.
Prewitt was educated in the Philadelphia public school system and graduated from Frankford High School in the top third of his class. After graduation, he attended Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fla., and pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Prewitt graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology from FAMU. A regular at homecoming, he was a lifetime member of the fraternity and the university’s alumni association.
Following graduation, Prewitt returned to Philadelphia to attend the physical therapy program at Temple University. In 1989, he earned his degree and embarked on a successful professional career. Early on, he worked at Bryn Mawr Hospital, the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Washington, D.C., and numerous outpatient facilities, including the Walnut Street Medical Center.
Prewitt eventually opened his first offices in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia. He operated the Phoenix Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center in the city’s Germantown section for more than 15 years.
Throughout his career, Prewitt worked to help rehabilitate patients dealing with amputations, diabetic- and sports-related injuries as well as neurologic and orthopedic conditions. He was also a mentor who provided numerous internship and training opportunities for physical therapy students.
In 2016, Prewitt returned to Temple to complete his doctorate in physical therapy. He will be posthumously awarded the degree in 2019.
In a city known for neighborhood pride, Prewitt remained connected to Frankford. He supported youth programs and community service activities there, and regularly returned for block parties. He also volunteered at free health events throughout the city.
Through his membership in Omega Psi Phi’s Mu Omega Philadelphia Chapter, Prewitt contributed to mentoring and scholarship programs for urban minority college students. For his efforts, he was honored with numerous awards, including being selected as the Omega Man of the Year in 2009.
While Prewitt was hard-working and civic-minded, he also had a fun-loving side. He treasured vacations with his fraternity brothers on Martha’s Vineyard and was the quintessential sports enthusiast. As a young boy, Prewitt played baseball and football in community leagues, and was the starting guard for the Frankford High School basketball team.
Prewitt’s love for sports never waned. He was a loyal Philadelphia 76ers season ticket holder and was overjoyed when the Philadelphia Eagles won the 2018 Super Bowl.
As an adult, he embraced the Zion Baptist Church and the civil rights work of the late Rev. Leon Sullivan. He later joined Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Alyn E. Waller. He was a member and servant leader of the church’s male chorus and participated in men’s ministry.
After God, Prewitt’s highest priorities were his relationships. He adored his only daughter, Lauren. He also loved his parents and siblings deeply and remained devoted to them throughout his life.
“He was a man full of love,” his family said in a tribute. “His relationships nourished his soul. He found strength in God and the church, joy in music and sports, and happiness from being with family and friends.
“He will be remembered for his dynamic intellect, his sharp humor, his sense of style, and most of all for his generosity and tireless support for others,” it added.
In addition to his father and daughter, he is survived by: sister, Carol Jones (Rodney Sr.); brothers, Odell Prewitt (Linda) and Manor Prewitt Jr.; nieces, Dawn Green (Tyrese), Shawn Prewitt, Della Prewitt, Danielle Essandoh (Clarence) and Sherrita Prewitt; nephew, Rodney D. Jones Jr.; aunts, Vera Lee Debnam, Vernice Jackson and Mattie Prewitt; uncles, Zebron Prewitt, Larry Debnam and Kelly Debnam (Penny); other relatives; and friends.
Services were held July 25 at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 230 W. Coulter St. Viewing was at 9 a.m. Services followed at 10 a.m. Burial was in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
A fraternal service was held at 3 p.m. at Holsey Temple CME Church, 5305 Germantown Ave.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Joseph S. Prewitt Memorial Scholarship, Frankford High School (PNC Bank), P.O. Box 533, Newtown Square, Pa., 19073.
Beckett-Brown & Hodges Funeral Home handled the arrangements.