Margaret E. Curry

Margaret E. Curry was a lifelong resident of Philadelphia who worked as a seamstress.

She died on Monday, Dec. 22, 2015 after a brief illness at Seasons Hospice in Delaware. She was 87.

She was born on Sept. 25, 1927 to Choice Schwartz and Ruth L. Schwartz in Philadelphia.

Her father, among six siblings who migrated from Georgia, helped operate a family-run barbershop in North Philadelphia. Her mother, among five siblings, worked in the city’s garment industry and in domestic service.

This large, extended family often filled the North Philadelphia household where she grew up with her younger sister and brothers. After her parents divorced, she lived for a brief time in Berlin, N.J. but still commuted to Philadelphia to finish her studies at William Penn High School, where she graduated in 1945.

The year after she graduated, she married her longtime sweetheart, William C. Curry, who had just concluded three years of service in the U.S. Army during World War II. Two children were born to their union.

Throughout their marriage, Curry worked in the city’s garment industry, including several decades at the Penn Pad Company, where she retired. Her husband worked in sheet metal and as a die caster. Both were proud union members and witnessed the city’s manufacturing base flourish and decline as jobs such as theirs were exported overseas.

Curry divided her time between work, home and service to her church. She was a member of Mount Carmel, then Oakley Memorial C.O.G.I.C. in Philadelphia before joining her brother, the Rev. James Schwartz, in 1958 at what is now St. James Pentecostal Church of God in Christ — the Powerhouse in Swedesboro, N.J. Around 1967, she began attending a church closer to home and joined Jones Temple Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia, where she served as deaconess missionary, president of the Pastor’s Aid, a member of both the senior chorus and usher board and as a member of the Mother’s Board.

In her home life, Curry was an enthusiastic gardener and seamstress. She loved plants and enjoyed sewing. She was passionate about social and racial justice and took an active interest in the lives of her children, grandchildren and extended family — not missing birthdays, graduations, holidays, other milestones and celebrations. Her family said she was unstoppable in her activities and independence until her eyesight began to fail.

She was preceded in death by her husband.

She is survived by two daughters and two sons-in-law Elaine and Eric Roberson of New Castle, Del. and Esther Iverem and Michael Byfield of Washington, DC; grandchildren Tremayne Clarkson Sr. (Shannon), Adell Treadwell (James), Jason Clarkson, Ericka Roberson, Ehmonie Roberson and Mazi Chiles; 10 great-grandchildren; brothers the Rev. James Schwartz (Thelma) of Swedesboro, N.J., Calvin Swartz (Aileen) of Arlington, Va. and Junius White of Edgewater Park, N.J.; sister Matilda Simmons of Philadelphia; sister-in-law Helen Schwartz of Long Branch, N.J. and other relatives and friends.

Services were held Jan. 3 at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Burial was in Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown.

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