Shirley M. Rhone, a retired educator, died on Saturday, June 15, 2019, after a short illness. She was 91.
She was born on April 19, 1928, in Philadelphia. She grew up in West Philadelphia and was raised by her parents, the late Mercer Sr. and Geraldine A. Stockton. She adored her only brother, Mercer Jr., who was affectionately called “Chenna.”
As a young woman, she attended Hanna Elementary School, Shoemaker Junior High and Philadelphia Girls High, where she graduated with honors.
Rhone earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at West Chester State Teachers College and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
She married Junious Rhone Sr. on June 7, 1958, and their union produced one son, Junious Rhone Jr.
Rhone enjoyed being around children and her love of teaching began shortly after her graduation. She taught at Kearney Elementary School and Heston Elementary School in West Philadelphia, where she was a certified reading specialist. She cultivated friendships there and garnered the adoration of many of her students.
Rhone retired from Heston after teaching there for more than 45 years. After retiring, she became a paid tutor, helping kids become better readers and appreciate the written word.
“Everyone who knew Shirley loved her genuine spirit, beautiful smile and sense of humor,” her family said in a tribute.
“Adults would often recognize her as their favorite childhood teacher on the street and at any civic or recreational gathering. Having the heart of a teacher, she always found a way to impart some knowledge, whether it was sharing her opinions about life, discussing events in the news or providing some conventional wisdom.”
Rhone was involved in many social activities and was a member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was the founder of a social club for teenage girls called The Teenettes. Rhone received service awards from the Philadelphia Board of Education, Delta Sigma Theta and Heston Elementary School.
Rhone also received a certificate of appreciation from the Southern Poverty Law Center for her stand against hatred in America and was a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Writing Project at West Chester University. She was a member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church for 48 years.
She was preceded in death by her brother, son and niece, Gail.
She is survived by her husband and other relatives and friends.
A graveside service will be held June 28 at 11 a.m. at Eden Cemetery, 1434 Springfield Road, Collingdale.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Eden Cemetery.