A memorial service was held for Esther Thomas on January 8 at the Philadelphia Clef Club. She died November 16, but family and friends wanted to celebrate her life after the holidays. She was 88.
“She was very, very comical. She had a great sense of humor. She could adapt to any situation,” said niece Carolyn Thomas. “She always uplifted your spirit.”
Thomas was born to George and Eva Thomas on April 23, 1923. She was educated in the Philadelphia School District. She was the first Black woman to work at Girard Bank during a time when America was segregated.
Her family said she had a gift to make people laugh and always told them the truth about themselves. She also had the talent of music and song. She loved jazz and was a member of the Philadelphia Clef Club.
In 1956, she married Robert Johnson. They had a daughter, Barbara Johnson. She worked for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus where she handed out programs. During her time there, she helped the circus to exceed their sales goals. Upon her departure, she was honored with first class tickets to their performances, which she donated to underprivileged children and those with special needs.
Thomas also loved the Mummers, and one of the highlights of her life was making the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer at the Mummers Parade.
Thomas leaves to mourn: daughter, Barbara Johnson; granddaughter, Lindsey Allen; brother, Wallace Thomas; niece, Carolyn Thomas; and a host of family and friends.
Raymond McDaniel proudly served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He was honorably discharged in 1946. McDaniel retired from the U.S. Post Office as lieutenant. He died November 20 after a lengthy illness. He was 87.
McDaniel was born on June 7, 1924 to Adrian and Elizabeth Mandy McDaniel. He was born in Philadelphia. He was educated at Glassboro High School after his family relocated from Philadelphia to Glassboro, N.J. He graduated from Eckels College of Mortuary Science.
On November 28, 1948, he married the love of his life, Josephine V. Gregory. From this union came one son, Raymond Adrian. Affectionately called “Big Ray,” McDaniel hosted “Sunday Morning,” one hour of spiritual recordings on WDVL in Vineland, N.J.
Fondly named “Mr. Mack,” McDaniel retired from the sheriff’s office in Tappahanock, Va. He returned to Philadelphia in 2005. As the years progressed, Raymond could be found watching political and news shows holding tightly to his remote control, although he was sound asleep.
A passionate golfer, he earned many trophies, which attested to his skill in the sport. He enjoyed solitary sports. With a love of fishing and hunting McDaniel enjoyed frying up his catch and cooking wild game.
McDaniel leaves to mourn: wife, Josephine; son, Raymond Adrian; a brother; two sisters; one sister-in-law; one brother-in-law; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
His parents, three brothers and two sisters preceded him in death.
Services will be held Dec. 1 Wood Funeral Home, Inc. 5537–39 West Girard Ave. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10.
Willie Darryl Mitchell was described as loving life and living it to the fullest.
He never lost touch with his family. He would call his sisters just to say, “I love you.” He would take the time to visit many members of his extended family. Even in his battle with cancer he would call others to encourage them with their illness. He died December 21 at the age of 49.
Mitchell was born on June 28, 1962 in Philadelphia. He was the first-born son of Willie C. and Maxine Mitchell. He received his education in both the Catholic School System and the Public School District.
As a small child, when the family traveled, Mitchell could travel from Philadelphia to South Carolina standing in the front seat of the car. He continued to travel with the family this way until his head touched the top of the car.
Mitchell’s family also said that he was also very good at keeping track of his pennies. He would line them up in a single file and if one penny was moved, no matter how well you would try to fool him, he knew that one of his many pennies was missing.
Mitchell was baptized and became a member of Highway Temple of Deliverance.
When Mitchell was called upon to travel to South Carolina to take care of his grandmother, he did so willingly. He helped his grandfather take care of her. Mitchell was by her side until her death.
Mitchell returned to Philadelphia and continued to be a helper to the family. He helped his father in the family convenience store. Mitchell also helped take care of his mother who preceded him in death. He would mow the lawns of the many neighbors on Catharine Street. His house painting skills were excellent, and he was also exceptionally good at mathematical problems.
Mitchell leaves to mourn: father, Willie C. Mitchell; daughter, Tyesha; sisters, Zokie, Sharron, Wilhelmina and Margaret Gibson; brothers-in-law, Clarence Miller (Sharron), and Johnny Graham (Wilhelmina); second mother, Elizabeth Lampley; special friends, Arethia Medley, Micah Davis and Marnell Murphy, and Teresa Adams; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Services were held December 30. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Thelma Lee Winston Sargent was a licensed practical nurse. She worked private duty cases in nursing homes and established a long lasting career at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. where she was among the first African-American personnel. She died Dec. 11. She was 91.
Sargent was born on Feb. 17, 1920 in Philadelphia and grew up in Darby Township with her parents, Edwin and Charity Winston.
She was educated in the Darby public school system where she was regularly called upon to provide music for morning assembly. Upon graduating from school in 1938, she married Harold R. Holmes. They had two daughters, Wilma and Margaret.
“Mother was very musical. She played the piano, and she was very passionate about her piano,” said Wilma Jones, her daughter.
“She loved the Lord. She loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and she loved her senior choir.”
She leaves to cherish her memory: Wilma Jones (wife of Robert, deceased); Margaret Hardcastle (wife of Joseph, deceased); grandsons, Dwayne R. Monroe, Robert L. Jones Jr. and Michael V. Jones; great-granddaughters, Kayla Marie and Bobbi Cierra Jones; a special niece and nephew, Reginald and Cheryl James; nieces; and her extended family at 90th Street Mount Hermon Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
Services were held on Dec. 17 at 90th Street Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, 6132 Jefferson St. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Thomas Melvin Rogers, called Tom, had many hobbies that he enjoyed, including singing, cooking and carpentry. He worked with the Philadelphia Sanitation Department where his co-workers affectionately gave him the nickname “Candyman,” because of his love for candy. He died on Jan. 24. He was 70.
Rogers was born on Dec. 22, 1941 in Mt. Vernon Springs, N.C. to Florence and Charlie Rogers. He was educated in the Philadelphia public schools.
At a young age, he joined Greater St. Matthew Independent Methodist Church. At age 18, he joined the United States Air Force. Later, he was employed with Boeing in Eddystone. Then he worked with the Philadelphia Sanitation Department.
He is survived by his wife, Margie; mother, Florence Rodgers; two sisters, Cecelia Townsend (Lincoln) and Fannie Alexander; son, Kevin Rogers (Siedah); four daughters, Michelle Harbin (Glen), Anjenette, Kimberly Rogers and Kia Coleman (Darren); stepdaughter, Sandra Elaine Brown; four sisters-in-law, Barbara Brown, Jessie Bryan (Leon), Rosa Lee Sheppard (Esau) and Yvonne Greene (Ulysses); nine grandchildren, Kimberly, Kevin Jr., Amber, Latanya, Jasmine, Glen Jr., Ron, Dontae and Shantae; four great-grandchildren, Tori, Jamire, Jasir and Danielle; and two special friends, Mary Memminger and George Campbell.
Services were held Jan. 30 at Loyal Baptist Church.
Jolitha Ann Nickerson was a member of New Mount Zion Baptist Church at the time of her passing and, according to family members, loved the Lord with all her heart. She was a very outgoing person and loved to shop at Wal-Mart and was known to many as the “Wal-Mart Queen.” The former certified nursing assistant died Nov. 19. She was 46.
Nickerson was born on Sept. 13, 1965 to Willie Mae Nickerson and Charles Joseph Riley. She was the fourth of five children.
She was educated in the Philadelphia School District. In 1988, she attended the Thompson Institute for nursing and received her certificate as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She was employed by Lynch Homes for the Mentally Disabled where she worked for over 20 years until she became ill in 2007.
On Sept. 27, 2000, her world was made complete when she gave birth to her beloved, only child, Bryanna. She also played a large role in raising many of her nieces whom she loved dearly.
Nickerson leaves to mourn: daughter, Bryanna; father, Charles Joseph Riley; two brothers, Terry and Walter Nickerson, two sisters, Toni McNeely and Elizabeth Hudson; aunt, Sheila Anthony; great aunt, Mary Jane; sister-in-law, Valerie Nickerson; brother-in-law, James Mack; two god-daughters, Nakeedah and Cheyenne; four nieces, Kiesha, Shatima, Katia and Avia; three nephews, William, Sean and Jerry; four very dear and special friends, Lydia, Patricia, Maria and Tamar; and a long list of loving relatives and friends.
Her mother, Willie Mae Nickerson and sister, Tammy Mack, preceded Nickerson in death.
Services will be held Nov. 26 at New Mount Zion Baptist Church, 919 S. 13th Street. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Johnnie W. Feaster, commonly known as JW, had a good sense of humor. His loved ones said he was always willing to help others and was a father figure to many. He also enjoyed spending time with his family. He died Nov. 16. He was 87.
Feaster was born May 3, 1924 in Fairfield, S.C. to Rebecca and Earnest Feaster. He was one of five children. He was educated in South Carolina schools and later attended an automotive technical school.
He joined the Navy at an early age and was a veteran of World War II. After brief employment in Philadelphia, he went to work for the U.S. Naval Ordnance Station in Maryland, where he worked in the transportation department for over 35 years until he retired. While living in Maryland, he joined t Masonic Lodge #66 and achieved the 33rd degree level.
After retiring from civil service, he returned to Philadelphia, where he joined Hickman Temple AME Church as director of operations and head of the trustee board for over 10 years. During this time he met and married Diane Edmonson.
Feaster is survived by his wife, Diane; two sisters, Pauline and Nancy; brother-in-law Wilson; five children, Earnest, Rhonda, Nancy, Johnsie and Johnnie; three stepchildren, Cheryl, Tracy and Stacy; 14 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
Services will be held Nov. 22 at Hickland Temple AME church, 5001 Baltimore Ave. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Earnest Daniel Sr., known to everyone as Ernie, became a Philadelphia police officer in 1966 and was later promoted to Detective in 1978.
After 23 years of service, Ernie retired from the Police Force. Not as ready to retire as he originally believed, he spent another 11½ years working for the State of Pennsylvania as an investigator for the Office of the Inspector General. In 2003, he retired from the state. Daniel died on December 9. He was 68.
Daniel was born on December 18, 1942 in Perry, Georgia. He was the first of three sons born to Cleo and Irvin Daniel. The family relocated to Philadelphia early in his life. He attended Hannah Elementary School, Shoemaker Middle School and West Philadelphia High School.
Upon graduation, Daniel was awarded a football scholarship to Delaware State University. Instead of heading to Delaware, he decided to enlist and serve the country in the United States Air Force as an Air Police Officer. After completing a tour of duty in Bermuda and spending some time on Reserve Duty, he received an Honorable Discharge.
Once back in Philadelphia, he began spending more time doing the things that made him happy. His favorite activities were spending time with close friends and fishing with his grandchildren.
His family said he had a way about him that was very laid back most times; but he was also funny. He was full of knowledge in many subjects and was always willing to help anyone in any way that he could. Daniel was enthusiastic about reading and watching documentaries about history. He explored every aspect of many kinds of aircrafts, even building a model every now and then. He dabbled with photography, developing photographs when his sons were young. Later he shifted to using a digital camera and computer to refine and print his photos. Whenever he could, Daniel especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. He also had a passion for watching football games on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays.
Daniel leaves to mourn: mother, Cleo; children, Earnest Jr., Troy, Andre and Dionne; ex-wife Virginia; grandchildren, Edena, Earnest III, Eron, Elise, Troy Jr., Aaron, Aalysa, Ashley, Ari, Blair and Sonja; a special nephew, Christopher Lewis; sisters-in-law; a host of in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews; other relatives; friends and colleagues.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Leroy and Joseph. Services were held December 17 at Wood Funeral Home, Inc.
Charles Edward Howard, affectionately called Charlie Brown and Charlie Mack, was a man of many talents. He was an employee and foreman for the borough of Lansdowne for 29 years. After retirement, he opened his own business, “Charlie’s Lawn Care.”
He took great pride in maintaining his community and helping those in need. His family said he was also gifted with his hands and became a self-trained carpenter. He was known as the neighborhood handy man with every tool imaginable; if it was broken, he could fix it. He was a devoted son, husband, father, brother, uncle, friend and role model.
Howard died Nov. 7. He was 83.
Howard was born on Jan. 14, 1928 to Edward and Sally Ann Howard in Philadelphia. He was the third of five children. He was educated in the Lansdowne School District. He accepted Christ at an early age and became a member of the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Lansdowne, Pa. He was a faithful member and was honored for over 50 years of membership in 2010. He served on the usher board and was a dedicated member of the Hospitality Ministry working in the kitchen.
He married his true love, Gloria Celestine Morton, on June 16, 1951. They had three children, Rodney Charles, Regina Michele and Leon Marshall Howard. They were married for 60 years.
Family described him as a “man’s man” and a perfect gentleman. He loved singing, dancing, barbeques and family gatherings. He had invaluable relationships with his sisters, nieces and nephews.
Howard leaves to mourn: wife, Gloria Howard; sister, Edith Howard; three children, Rodney Charles Howard (Loretta), Regina Howard and Leon Marshall Howard (Diana); goddaughter, Lauren; grandchildren, Rhonda McNeal (Scotti), DeVon Howard, Kyrah Wallace and Dareen Gee; six great-grandchildren, Daniel Hill, Summer Richardson, Donovan Richardson, Sierra Richardson, Christopher Veigler and Tionna Howard; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends as well as devoted friend, John DelSordo.
Services were held Nov. 19 at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church.
Donald L. Cropper was a Korean War veteran. He was also a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Cross Keys Fraternity and a member of the Blazer Ski Club.
Cropper was an active member of Bethel AME Church in Lansdowne. He died on Nov. 4 after a long battle with cancer. He was 81.
Cropper was born on Oct. 19, 1930, in Yeadon. He graduated from Yeadon High School and later Drexel University.
Cropper is survived by: brothers, Wilfred (Mary), Henry Sr., Solomon (Alice); sister, Helen Jane; brother-in-law, Charles Thompson; nieces, Jeannine Walker and Kimberly Cropper; nephews, Roland Jr., Henry Jr. and Jonathan; great nephew, Micah; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Cropper was preceded in death by his parents, John Sewell Cropper Sr. and Mable Drew; and siblings, John Sewell Cropper Jr., Constance C. Thompson and Roland Sr.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Donations to the American Cancer society can be made in Cropper’s name.
Yarborough and Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.