Tribune Staff Report
Bertha Merriweather Foreman was a former garment inspector.
Foreman died on Friday, April 26, 2013. She was 93.
She was born May 16, 1919 to the late George Washington Merriweather and Lizzie Cosby Merriweather. She was the youngest of 15 children.
She was educated in the Darby Township School System, where she was valedictorian in the 10th grade.
Foreman was an active member of the First African Baptist Church of Darby Township for 85 years, where she was a served on the board of trustees, Willing Workers and Rising Star Ministry and as a volunteer for Thanksgiving baskets.
She was employed at Quartermaster at 20th and Johnson streets in South Philadelphia for 28 years as a garment inspector. During her employment, she received several awards of appreciation, performance and service.
In 1979, she married the late Lloyd Foreman.
Her family said she loved traveling with her sister-in-law, Libby and brother-in-law, Big Al. Her hobbies included crocheting, knitting and playing pinochle. She was a volunteer at the Good Neighbor Senior Center of Darby Township.
She is survived by her children, Onzella Dabney, Gladys Frye and George Earland III; daughter-in-law, Judy; grandchildren, Carmela, Billy, Joanna, Gary, Bruce and Shelly; great-grandchildren, Kyle, Shana, Seth, Desiree, Deanna, Gary Michael, Noah, Dominique, Sidney and Daria; great-great-grandchildren, Zarriah, Coy, Ayden, Maniah and Cayden and other relatives and friends.
Services were held May 7 at First African Baptist Church, 901 Clifton Ave., in Darby Township.
Claude J. Edney Funeral Home, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Services were held May 9 for Emma Woolfolk Henry.
Henry died on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. She was 107.
She was born Oct. 22, 1905 in Carolina Country, Va. Henry’s family relocated to Philadelphia where she was educated in the public school system.
As an adult, she attended Miller Memorial Baptist Church. She met John Henry Sr. at Miller Memorial in 1923 and they were married in May of 1925. The couple had nine children.
“Emma was a wonderful homemaker, a mother of statue and extraordinary strength. She was a godly woman, she taught her children to be God-fearing,” her family said.
Henry did not have a favorite scripture, but her family said Romans 15:1,2 describes how she lived her life.
In addition to her husband, Henry was preceded in death by her sons, John Henry Jr., Victor Henry Sr. and Earl Henry Sr.,
She is survived by her sons, Robert and Ronald and daughters, Geraldine, Jean, Ruth and Arlene.
Services were held May 9 at Bibleway Baptist Church 1323 N. 52nd Street. Burial was in Mt. Lawn Cemetery, Sharon Hill.
DuPree Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Services will be held May 11 for Thomasene Jenkins Gunn.
Gunn died Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was 90.
Born in Columbia, S.C., she was the daughter of the late Phillip Jenkins and Estelle Weston Jenkins.
She was a homemaker who cared deeply and was devoted to her family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, William H. Gunn and children, Wesley and Barbara.
Gunn is survived by her sons, Thomas P. Gunn (Victoria) of Laverock and Charles W. Gunn (Joan) of Middletown, Del.; sisters Fannie Bolden, Eva Rosetta Howard, Marie Underwood, Phyllis E. Medley all of Philadelphia and Edward “Ernest” Jenkins of Philadelphia.
Services will be held May 11 at Faith Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2401 N. 29th St. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m. Burial is in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Catherine Laws Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Historically, African Americans have worn large, colorfully adorned church hats as part of their “Sunday Best” — a saying that dates back to their ancestors when dressing up for church was one of the few opportunities African Americans had to remove domestic aprons and house dresses.
These drab garments were replaced by bright colors, fancy shoes and elaborate hats that would stand out in a crowd. Style and sophistication would rule on Sundays when African-American women went to church. The annual tea at Mother Bethel embraced this tradition at one of the annual, premiere events in Philadelphia. On Saturday, more than 150 African-American women and young girls donned church hats, lace gloves, and pearls. Men and young boys wore tuxedos, bow ties for Mother Bethel AME Church’s annual tea “Pearls of Wisdom.”
The formal tea, held at the church, 419 S. 6th St., and featured three courses: bread, savory, and sweets with food presentations. There were performances by local pianist and vocalist Dena Underwood; dramatic readings by comedian Najwah Abdul Sabur; and singing and dancing by the Mother Bethel teenagers and youth. There was a “Hat Promenade” featuring all of the women in attendance sporting their fancy chapeaus.
Arthur H. James was a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney.
James died Sunday, March 31, 2013. He was 66.
He was born July 13, 1946 in Philadelphia to the late Ella James Martin and Agashion James.
“Beaver,” as he was known by his grade school and later, college friends, graduated with honors from West Philadelphia High School in 1964. He went on to attend Lincoln University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
As an undergraduate at Lincoln University, James served as polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Chapter.
He met and married Constance Faith Moore in 1968.
He headed many social movements including civil rights demonstrations. He traveled to the Mississippi Delta top aid those beleaguered by racism and poverty.
In 1975, James graduated from Temple University School of Law, where he served in leadership roles for the Black Law Students Association.
He worked as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia in the early 80s. He subsequently entered into private practice as a counselor-at-law.
He was the lead defense counselor in several high profile cases that made the evening news. One of his favorite comments was: “Some lawyers may know more case law. But once they put 12 in the box, I know people.”
He joined forces with three other successful and young Black lawyers to create the law firm Gaskins, Irwin, James and Philips. He later began to broaden his scope of legal discipline and took on medical malpractice and personal injury cases as well. James would often work on various cases for neighborhood friends pro bono.
Later in life, James became a stronger advocate in the nonprofit arena focused on aiding organizations whose aim was to improve the economic and social status of the underprivileged inner city population. His family said James worked tirelessly to get as many people gainfully employed as he could.
James was also a prominent proponent for strengthening family bonds while working under the auspices of the National Comprehensive Center for Fathers.
“He worked to the best of his abilities to assist men who may have made some mistakes in fortifying their relationships with their children, communities and most importantly, God,” his family said.
His family said he was an extremely gifted orator who had an uncanny ability for influencing others. He dressed impeccably and loved music, particularly jazz and R&B. According to his family, James was a great dancer who would stop to appreciate his love of music and dance, anywhere at anytime.
“Those fortunate to have known him, loved him for his enormous passion for life,” his family said.
At the time of his death, he was an active member of Men’s Choir and Usher Board at Vine Memorial Baptist Church.
In addition to his wife, James is survived by his daughter, Ife Nilaya James; son, Arthur Henry James II; grandchildren, James Scott III, Faith Ella Estee Campbell, Julia Marion Verlene James and Arthur Henry James III; daughter-in-law, Fatima James; stepson, Travis Smith; godson, Love McCune and other relatives and friends.
Services were held April 8 at Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 West Girard Ave.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.