Hazel Elizabeth Wadlington was born in Merchantville, N.J., to Mathilda Woodards and John W. Woodards Sr. on June 16, 1920. She died on April 24, 2012, at age 92.
Wadlington attended the Merchantville public school system and attended Temple University, majoring in early childhood development. She was wed to Eugene Elmore Wadlington and raised six children: Rashida Raheem, Linda Wadlington (deceased), Kenneth Wadlington, Curtis Wadlington, Cheryl Ann Wadlington and Jean Francis.
Wadlington worked at Veterans Administration and Philadelphia School District; the Philadelphia Naval Yard in the 1940s and as a teacher’s aide at Hickman Temple Daycare and Learning School. Wadlington was a member of Philadelphia Chapter of NAACP and took part in the original March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Wadlington was a longtime volunteer and donor to veterans’ causes and a member of Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church in West Philadelphia. She received the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award in the 1960s for selfless service to others. She was instrumental in integrating John Bartram High School in the 1960s, which made national news. Wadlington was a member of the Parent and Teacher’s Association (PTA) at Bryant Elementary School and held meetings at her home. Along with help of the late state Sen. Hardy Williams, who was a lawyer at the time, they took action, which forced the Philadelphia School District to build Add B. Anderson Elementary School so that children who lived below Cedar Avenue would not have to walk far to attend school. Wadlington and other women actually put their baby coaches and lawn chairs in the streets and blocked traffic in protest to force the change they wanted and eventually made happen.
Wadlington served as a coordinator for the March of Dimes and opened up her home to serve as a drop-off headquarters for donations. She opened up the first soup kitchen at Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church in the 1990s against resistance of people who did not want to have a soup kitchen at the church — they fought her and said that no poor people lived in the area. Yet, on the first day the soup kitchen opened they ran out of food, due to the large numbers of people that turned out who were in need of food assistance.
“I am comforted that she lived 92 years on this earth,” said her daughter and fashion journalist Cheryl Ann Wadlington. “And she lived a good life. She was the God-fearing matriarch of substance and style who made me the humanitarian and fearless diva fashionista I am today. I was so blessed to have her as my mom. I celebrate her victorious life.”
In addtion to her children, Wadlington is survivied by her brother, John Woodards Jr., a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
The home-going service for Hazel Elizabeth Wadlington will be held May 5 at 11 a.m. at Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church, 600 South 61st St. A viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Interment will be at Merion Cemetery, 59 Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwd.