James Rouse Sr. was a resident and homeowner in North Philadelphia. The U.S. Army veteran died on Jan. 23 of complications of kidney disease. He was 68.
“I am so glad we could all be there for my husband,” said wife, Mary Rouse. “He was alert and able to communicate until about a week before his death. We watched him suffer and were relieved when he was at peace. The peace of God was evident on his face. I was able to be by his side to the end.”
Rouse was born on Oct. 20, 1943, in Philadelphia to Laura Rouse and James Daniel Melvin. He was one of eight children and was educated in the Philadelphia school district. He graduated from Southern High School in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer in the 1960s.
“I always wondered why my dad did not join the police force after his discharge. However, he seemed to be perfectly satisfied that he did his fair share in the military,” said son, James Jr.
On Jan. 16, 1965, he married the love of his life, Mary Virginia James.
“We were truly blessed to have our dad,” said daughter Yvette. “We knew that he loved our mother deeply. That gave us great comfort and security. Then, he made us know how important we were to him.”
After his honorable discharge in 1966, Rouse was self-employed as a fruit truck operator. He also worked simultaneously as a press operator at Jentzen Printing Press for ten years. In 1973, he was employed by Unisys Corporation as a domestic engineer. After 27 years of dedicated service, he retired in 2000 with the final title of domestic engineer supervisor. His most passionate job was as a “hack man” for the community, a service he provided for over 20 years.
“James accepted the Lord as his personal Savior many years ago. He would often have our family attend services at the Enon Baptist Church. I was very active and he supported my efforts,” said his wife. “He continued to attend Enon Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. S.D. Neely Sr. As he faced challenges to his health, he still attended when he was able.”
An active community member, Rouse was a member of the Masons and was known and loved throughout the community.
“Although he fathered only two children, he was everybody’s dad. He was co-founder of Our Gang and Teen, Incorporated, which served as a haven for many young people,” James Jr. said.
His daughter, Yvette, continued.
“He would gather us up and have us climb into the back of his pick-up truck,” she said. “We had a tarp-like cover that we held over us. The kids in the middle had it good. Those on the corners had to keep the cover tight. And, oh, when it rained we really got it, but we always had fun.
“Nobody refused to ride whenever Dad put out the call,” Yvette said. “Dad and Mom loved to entertain, so we had BBQs at will and hosted an annual block party with plenty of food and fun.”
Rouse is survived by wife, Mary Rouse; children, James Rouse Jr. and Yvette Vennetta Rouse; grandson, Devin Jamaar Rouse; granddaughter, Stephanie Rouse; great granddaughter, Egypt Sinai Yvette Presley; siblings, Robert Rouse (Brenda), David Rouse and Dorothy Rouse; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; two special caregivers, Darryl McKinney and his niece, Terie Griffin, as well as many friends.
Rouse was preceded in death by siblings, Delores Clark, Jesse Rouse, Myron Rouse and Sarah Griffin.
Services were held on Jan. 28, at Enon Baptist Church, 1831 Green St. Sabbath Funeral Home handled the arrangements.