Milton Hall Sr. was described by loved ones as a very fun loving and hard working man.
He was always on the go throughout the neighborhood and the city. He was well known and loved by many people throughout Philadelphia and Georgia. Milton was never too busy to help someone in need. He died Sept. 29. He was 81.
Hall was born on April 24, 1930 to Milton Hall and St. Julia Hall in Savannah, Ga. He began his education in the Savannah school district and finished his education in Philadelphia.
In the early 1930s, he was baptized by Bishop C.M. Grace at the United House of Prayer for All People. On July 1, 1948 he married the love of his life, Helen. They enjoyed 63 years of marriage. In 1949, Hall and Helen moved to Philadelphia with their newborn daughter, Constance. Four more children followed: Adrent, Diane, Milton Jr. and Tyrone.
Hall started his employment in 1950 at the Jack Miller Coat Front Company where he became a supervisor. He retired in 1995 after 45 years with the company. He was known by several names, “Deke,” “D-man” for Daddy man and “Old Dude.”
Hall and Helen were world travelers. They traveled throughout the states from coast to coast, to Hawaii and to the Caribbean Islands. They went overseas to Paris, France and over to Jerusalem, “the holy land,” where they observed and participated in a baptismal in the river, Jordan.
In 1961, Hall and Helen moved to West Philadelphia where they met and maintained long enduring friendships with neighbors.
Hall leaves to cherish his memory: wife, Helen; three daughters, Constance Williams, Adrent Naeef and Diane Canty; son-in-law Frank Canty; two sisters, Ada Mak and Angela Brown; brother-in-law, Ku Kwa Mak; brother, James Hall (Wilhemina); 14 grandchildren, Richard, Anthony, Marquette, Raphael, Reginald, Ricky, Camisha, Susan, Robert, Antoinette, Tariq, Analiese, Jermaine and Tyrone Jr.; eight great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, church members, friends and neighbors.
Hall was preceded in death by sons, Tyrone Hall and Milton Hall as well as three sisters, Althea Brown; Cecilia Baker and Mildred Myers.
Services were held Oct. 7 at The United House of Prayer For All People.
Mary Green, 71, was a long-time resident and homeowner of the northwest section of the city. She died suddenly of respiratory complications at Albert Einstein Medical Center on Sept. 3.
“Mommy was in good health and great spirits all the time, so seeing her in a hospital was rare, indeed. She was talking on the phone, joking and ordering everybody around as she usually did. When things took a sudden turn, we were all in shock. We could not believe that she was gone so quickly,” stated Keith Green, the eldest son.
Green was the second eldest of nine children of the late George and Elizabeth Whaley. Born in Columbia, S.C., she relocated with her family to Philadelphia in 1944. She was educated in the Philadelphia public schools, graduating from William Penn High School for Girls.
“As a young child, Mommy was exposed to teachings about Jesus Christ very regularly because of where the family lived, near Second and American streets. There were mission efforts all around the community. Raised by a devoutly Christian mother, Mommy took to the word of God and was nurtured throughout her growing up years,” daughter Adrian Holmes said.
“At Sunday Breakfast Mission she heard about God’s love and forgiving power. Under the ministry of Joseph Kramer, she came to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. As the eldest sister, while in her teens she showed herself to be a ready helper at home and in the neighborhood. She taught Sunday school at Sunday Breakfast Mission and volunteered three nights a week at the Helping Hands Rescue Mission. She was being groomed for the real purpose for her life.”
Her second daughter, Paula, also reflected.
“In 1957, while at a retreat at Camp Streamside, Mommy met our father and her best friend, the late John Green Jr. Under the leadership of Pastor Ben Johnson, the couple was married on June 17, 1961 and began serving together. Their marriage of forty-eight years produced five children, Keith L., Adrian R., Paula Y., Myron R. and Byron R. After the birth of the first of eleven grandchildren, Mary dubbed herself,” Paula said.
“Granny Green, The Granny Queen.” Her creative spirit was manifested in her cooking, her way with words, her manner of dress and talents with arts and crafts.”
Following the death of Pastor Ben Johnson, Mary’s husband was called to the pastorate of Christ Baptist Church.
“That was when Mommy really knew that the call on her life was to stand by John and work with him in the ministry. Together, they faithfully served Christ Baptist Church for 32 years. She served as director of the Nursery Ministry for more than twenty years, Girl Scout leader, VBS teacher, assistant director of Kings Kidz Camp, a member of the Silver Keys, MARK Ministries, Missions Board and more. She was always prepared to serve the Lord with a spirit of excellence, reverence and exuberant praise!” said one of the twins, Myron.
“Our mother was short in stature but made her presence known with ease. She made us know what she expected without hollering and screaming. A few choice words from Mary set us straight. Then, she was also backed up by our dad,” Byron said.
“However, she could take us on single-handed when necessary. Being children of the pastor meant we were always on display. Our parents let us be ourselves, but Mommy set a standard for our behavior that stood her in good stead. Even when Mommy worked for a while as a teacher assistant in public, charter, private and Christian schools, we knew what was expected and did not stray far from the mark.”
Green leaves to cherish her memory: children, Keith Green, Adrian Holmes, Paula Green-Howard, Byron Green and Myron Green; a son-in-law, Michael Howard; two daughters-in-law. Vanessa Green and Claire Green; grandchildren, Keith Jr., Andrew, Chaniece, Misha, Shar, Rasheem, Lisa, Malcolm, Nasya, Jasmine and Arial; her siblings, Julius C. Whaley, Joseph F. Whaley, Diana Whaley-Campbell, Sharon L. Whaley, Annette Whaley-Fowler and Grace Gaines; one brother-in-law, Joel S. Fowler; sisters-in-law, Viola Switzer, Patricia Whaley and Gloria Williams; friends of the family, James Owens and Brenda Pemberton; two aunts, Rose Brown and Lucille Whaley; fourteen nieces and nephews; a host of cousins; and two godchildren, Cindy Smith and Natasha Simpkins; her church family, friends, Elizabeth Anderson, Elise Adams, Laurel Jones, Honey, her prayer warrior, Odeliea, and Maxine Hobbs.
Her husband, Rev. John Green Jr.; brother, George; and sisters, Ellen and Daisie, preceded Green in death.
A memorial service will be held on September 11 at Christ Baptist Church, 1540 Church Lane. It will start at 4 p.m. A service will be held September 12 at Christ Baptist Church. The viewing will be at 8:30 a.m. The service will start at 10:30 a.m.
Sabbath Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Consuelo Mendez-Vaz Wickman was a consummate student and educator. After graduating from Camden High School in 1946, she became an accomplished dancer and model. She died Sept. 9. She was 83.
Wickman was born on Jan. 18, 1928, in Philadelphia, the daughter of the late Antonio and Gwendolyn Mendez-Vaz. She was one of eight siblings.
In 1954, she married musician and naval technical writer James H. Wickman.
She became an executive administrative assistant for Temple University Hospital. There, her outstanding efforts earned her membership in the prestigious Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 1977, in recognition of “outstanding service to all individuals regardless of race, creed or color.”
She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University in 1981 and also became a member of the National Geographic Society that same year.
In 1984, she went on to earn a master’s degree from LaSalle University in Bilingual and Bi-Cultural Studies. From there she fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming an educator, attaining her certification to teach in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1984. She went on to have a successful career teaching high school students in Camden, N.J., and under-served students in Philadelphia until physical disabilities forced her retirement.
Wickman’s family said she would be remembered for the care and unconditional love she had for her family, her high intellect, her beauty, her indomitable will, her high moral character and her everlasting love of God.
Wickman is survived by: son, Robert M. Wickman; two brothers, Mauricio and Carlos; and sister, Gwendolyn.
Services were held September 10 at St. Luke’s Church. Yarborough and Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Beulah Bessie Barnes Williams’ life-testimony was her unconditional, unbridled love and goodwill toward all she encountered. Her life was characterized by unselfish giving, sharing and caring. She lived a life of love for all who knew her.
Williams, affectionately known as “Bebe,” was born on August 12, 1927 in Devon, Pennsylvania, to loving parents Roscoe Lee and Bessie Ruth Barns. Named after the gospel hymn “Beulah Land,” she was the fifth of five children.
She was educated in the Tredyffrin–Easttown School System of the Main Line. There she met her high school sweetheart, Jacob Edward Williams. They married on November 26, 1943, and began what would become a blessed, loving and fruitful 68-year union. In the words of Bebe, “It wasn’t all peaches and cream, but it wasn’t all sour milk either.”
Williams devoted her life to her family. As a dedicated and meticulous homemaker, she was the matriarch of the Williams family. She and “Jake” were blessed with four wonderful children: Janice Delores, Edward Douglas (“Bubby”), Rosalyn Elizabeth (“Lynnie”) and Lauren Linda (“Missy”).
They raised their family in the close-knit community of Ardmore, Pennsylvania. She loved nothing more than to fellowship and sing at the “family jam sessions” as the original Supremes with dear friend Tilly and sister Flo, accompanied by her brother, Bish, on the piano.
In the winter of 1960, the family migrated to close-by Philadelphia where they became a staple in the West Philadelphia community.
For years, Bebe opened her home to family, friends, church members and the community with food, love, warmth and a good word — so much so, that her home was affectionately known as “Grand Central Station.”
Whether it was her fantastic holiday celebrations for all, or the quiet, private conversations with each grandchild, one on one, Bebe never ceased to bless the family with her hospitality and wisdom. She maintained a very special relationship with each and every family member.
In keeping with her generation of African-American matriarchs, she sacrificed her desires and selflessly poured herself into the future of her family. She took immense pride in the growth and development, as well as the accomplishments and integrity, of her children and grandchildren.
Bebe is survived by her loving and devoting husband of 68 years, Jacob E. Williams; four children, Janice Delores Mitchell (Thomas), Dr. Edward D. Williams (Lynn), Rosalyn Elizabeth and Lauren Linda; daughter-in-law, Deitra L. Williams; and seven grandchildren, Dr. Erik D. Williams (Nisha), Dr. Kellyn W. Hodges (Eric), Todd C. Mitchell, ME.d (Kim), Dr. Dawn N. Jones (Charles), Che D. Mitchell, Kafi Y. Dilworth (Marty) and Chase B. Hall. Bebe had four older siblings, all of whom predeceased her: Larry Barnes, Lollie Barnes, Floyd Barnes and Perry Barnes. In addition, her surviving immediate family includes three sisters-in-law, Carrie Barnes, Francis Barnes and Eleanor Williams; a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives as well as life-long cherished friends.
Services will be held Friday, Dec. 23, at Triumph Baptist Church, 1648 W. Huntington Park Ave., Philadelphia. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. The burial will take place at the Rolling Green Cemetery in West Chester.
Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Mildred Bridges was known for her classic style and sharp fashion sense. She was designated “Millie the Model” by some close friends and was a lover of fashion.
Beautiful clothes, desirable clothes, elegant furniture and décor were staples of hers. She tiptoed in high-heeled shoes well into her 80s. Her friendly disposition drew all types of people to her.
Bridges died Dec. 6. She was 86.
Bridges was born on July 6, 1925 in Philadelphia to Blanche E. and Luther E. Weaver. She grew up in the Elmwood section of the city and attended George Wolf School and John Bartram High School.
She married George Bridges on Sept. 15, 1943. They had four children: George Jr., Denise, Debbie and Donna.
At an early age, she became a member of the Emmanuel AME Church in Elmwood. She later joined the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church under the Rev. Frank B. Mitchell. In 1985, she and her husband moved to Mt. Airy, where she became a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown and joined the EverReady Ministry.
During World War II, Bridges worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, while her husband was serving in the Army Air Corps. After the war, she worked at John Wanamaker’s in Center City. She retired in 1988 to care for her ailing husband.
Bridges was a member of two social clubs, the Mr. and Mrs. Club and Club Avalon. She was also a volunteer for “Across Ages”, a mentoring program at the Center for Intergenerational Learning, sponsored by Temple University.
Her family said that her swanky character would be remembered, since she took so much pride in her home, her style of dress and her presentation through the years. Her home was a holiday destination for family and friends. She was a fixture in the lives of every generation of the family.
She is survived by: son, George Bridges Jr.; three daughters, Denise Ballinger, Debbie Howell and Donna Bridges-Smith; daughter-in-law, Gladys Bridges; two sons-in-law, Leroy Howell and Cornell Smith; three grandsons, George Bridges III, David Bridges and Brandon Smith; four granddaughters, Nicole Ballinger, Amber Ballinger, Isabel Robinson and Ashley Howell; two granddaughters-in-law, Sheronda Bridges and Alicia Bridges; three great-grandchildren, Kylayda Robinson, Shawn Robinson and Nyisa Phillips; four sisters-in-law, Mildred Weaver, Ruth Bridges, Edna Flood and Vivian Bridges; two brothers-in-law, Dr. Charles Bridges and Allen Flood; close cousin Estelle Corbin; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and a host of friends.
Bridges was preceded in death by her husband, George Bridges; three sisters, Emma Jackson, Edith Wiggins and Elva Knight; a brother, Luther Weaver Jr. and son-in-law, Raymond Ballinger Jr.
Services were held Dec. 16 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown. Fletcher H. Townsend Funeral Home, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Rheinhold Blake Jr., known as “Butch” to family and friends, was said to be a fun-loving block captain. He was also a 25-year employee of the Philadelphia Water Department and a Navy veteran. Blake died December 31 of a brain aneurysm. He was 61.
“Never one to stay silent longer than 30 seconds, he was an outgoing, warm, embraceable, fun-loving and intellectually astute man who had a thirst for life that seemed unquenchable,” said his brother, Joseph P. Blake. “He had a larger-than-life personality and a heart to match.”
Blake was born in Philadelphia to Rheinhold A. Blake Sr. and Lillie Mae Blake. He attended Edison High School before entering the Navy for a four-year hitch.
Blake went to work for the city after his discharge. He retired in 2010 for health reasons, “but didn’t stop his zest for life or inhibit his love for family and his many, many friends,” said his brother, a former writer and editor at the Daily News and Inquirer.
Blake was a longtime block captain for 15th Street between 67th and 68th avenues in West Oak Lane.
“Butch absolutely loved people and loved telling jokes and stories,” his brother said. “He was a natural-born comedian, whose timing and sharp mind were a wonder to watch.”
Joseph P. Blake said his brother could enliven any moment and create an air of festive fun that would literally last for hours.
“He was a confidant, a friend, a mentor, a guide, a supporter of anything positive, and often the voice of reason that brought clarity with such sayings as, ‘If you’re not stupid, then don’t do anything stupid,’” he said. “Although he is physically gone, Butch Blake will be alive in spirit, legend and the history of family and friends for many years to come.”
Blake leaves to mourn: wife, Debbie; five daughters, Rhonda, Rasheda, Tamika, Erica and Lisa; and his brother, Joseph P. Blake. Services were held January 7.
The Philadelphia Daily News contributed to this report.
Robert Nicholas Steptoe, affectionately called “Bob,” or “Bolo” was sworn in as a correctional officer and joined the Philadelphia Prison System. He had over 25 years of service.
He was also initiated and raised to Master Mason on May 16, 1999, joining Paradise Lodge No. 1. He died Nov. 20 of ventricular fibrillation. He was 51.
Steptoe was born on Nov. 1, 1960, in Philadelphia to Gertrud (Burgert) Steptoe and Reynold Lee Steptoe. He was educated in both the Philadelphia Parochial and Public School District. He became a member of the Catholic faith at an early age while attending the Immaculate Conception School and Church.
Once childhood friends, later becoming childhood “sweethearts,” Steptoe married Kim McLaughlin on Feb. 14, 1987.
As a teenager, he took great pride in his first job installing aluminum siding working for a family acquaintance. Then, following the Steptoe family tradition, he became an employee at “VIZ” MFG. Co. Steptoe then went on to work as a carrier at the Prudential Insurance Co. before he became a correctional officer.
His family said that his three passions were fishing, cooking and talking. He also enjoyed his yearly cruises with his family. He demonstrated his compassion for people by giving so much of himself. Bob had a special “brotherly” relationship with John Delaney, Brian Nickson and James Gilbert. He was a loving family man who instilled great morals and family values into his younger sister and brother, Tyna and Justin.
Steptoe leaves to mourn: wife, Kim V. McLaughlin Steptoe; mother, Gertrud Steptoe; siblings, Reynold L. Steptoe (Sylvia), Winnie S. Snipes (Herbert), Reginald C. Steptoe (Joan), Karin T. Irby, Tyna M. Steptoe and Justin L. Steptoe; uncles, Horst Salb; nieces, Shannon, Corinne, Taliah and Ianna; nephews, Casey, Lamarr & Reginal Jr.; mother and father-in-law, Wade A. Sr. and Doris E McLaughlin and other relatives, family and friends.
His father, Reynold Lee, preceded him in death.
Services were held Dec. 1 at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. Beckett-Brown and Hodges Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Alice Lee Jackmon Yancy was known to be a fashion diva. She loved fine clothing and jewelry and through her 90s would not leave her home without applying her “lipstick and powder.” In her early years, shopping downtown was a favorite pastime.
Alice maintained a healthy appetite and always enjoyed a good meal. She adored flowers and plants, and liked to travel, especially to her home in Virginia. Most of all, she loved spending time with family.
Yancy died Dec. 25. She was 96.
Yancy was born on Nov. 5, 1915, to Mary Ellen Bristow and Hollis Jackmon in Gloucester, Virginia. She was the eldest of four children.
She accepted Christ and was baptized at an early age at the New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Gloucester. She later joined Miller Memorial Baptist Church once she established residency in Philadelphia, under the pastorate of the late Rev. J. Luke Jones. She was a faithful member and sang on the Fellowship choir for over 50 years.
She received her formal education at Gloucester Institute for girls in Capahosick, Va. While there, she played on the basketball team. She received her high school diploma from Brooksfield High in Gloucester.
Yancy moved to Philadelphia after graduation to live with her aunt and uncle in the Nicetown neighborhood. It was during one of her returns from Virginia when she met her husband, Thornton Yancy, on the Greyhound bus; the rest was history. They had three children: Thornton, Joan and Alice Gloria.
Her first job in Philadelphia was as a seamstress with Coat Craft manufacturer. She often used her sewing skills to make her children’s clothing. In 1955, she started to work for the Defense Supply Center at Quarter Masters as a military uniform seamstress. She was later promoted to supervising clerk in the billing department. Alice retired from Quarter Masters in 1986. She received many awards and certificates during her employment with the government.
Yancy leaves to mourn: children, Thorton Yancy III and Joan Howell; daughter-in-law, Nancy Yancy; sister-in-law, Isadora Jackmon; nine grandchildren, Lynne, Lisa, Thorton IV, Yvette, Jill, Trevor, Greer, Todd, Amber and their spouses, David, Gary, Dereck, Eric, Corey; 13 great-grandchildren; niece, Joyce Jackmon Andrews; and a host of cousins and friends.
Services will be held Dec. 31 at Miller Memorial Baptist Church, 1518 North 22 St. The viewing will be at 9 am. The service will start at 10. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Berlin Samuel Isles Hart was a fearless and passionate preacher of the gospel and was used by God to start several churches along the Eastern Seaboard. Those in the Philadelphia area include Germantown Christian Assembly, Calvary Gospel Chapel, Willingboro Christian Assembly and Montco Bible Fellowship.
He was also devoted to his family and will be greatly missed. Hart died Jan. 19. He was 80.
“He left an impression on me and everybody that knew him. He was a really fearless preacher of the gospel,” Brian H. Grant said, his nephew. “Uncle Sam had a passion for reaching people for Jesus Christ and selflessly gave himself in trying to make a difference.”
Hart was born in New York City on April 8, 1931, to missionaries Arthur Isles Hart and Doris Hart. His parents moved to Jamaica shortly thereafter. He was the fifth child of 10. Ever since Sam was a young child, he always knew that he was going to be a preacher.
At the age of 14, he got his first opportunity. His father was scheduled to preach at a nearby prison, but he became ill. When the prisoners heard they were going to have a “boy preacher,” they packed the auditorium and when the invitation was given, 37 men came forward to give their hearts to the Lord.
At the age of 17, he left Jamaica to attend Gordon College in Massachusetts.
He was fully intending to return to Jamaica to preach alongside his father. However, the Lord showed him another mission field — Black America.
In 1949, at Grace Gospel Chapel in New York, he met Joyce Cushnie and they were married June 9, 1951.
One of the first evangelistic enterprises that Hart started was summer camps. Every summer, he would take inner-city children out to the countryside for a week to eight weeks, eventually purchasing over 100 acres in Perkasie for summer camping ministry. Over a thousand kids were ministered to each summer, many of whom are in the ministry today.
In 1959, the first broadcast of the Grand Old Gospel Hour went out over the airwaves in Pennsylvania. The Grand Old Gospel Fellowship was incorporated in 1961 and was heard across the USA and on many continents. Since then, Sam has preached in over 50 countries in crusades and conferences and on the internet via www.gogf.org.
Hart also had a love for radio. One of his dreams was to own a radio station. This was realized in1978. WYIS was born in Phoenixville. It was finally sold to a Christian Spanish station in 1988.
Hart spent several years on the board of the National Christian Broadcasters, serving as Vice President of this the leading organization of Christian Broadcasters.
Hart is survived by wife, Joyce; sons, Dr. Tony Hart (Carol) and Robert; daughters Sharon (Carl Thomas) and Patrice (Gary Carr); 13 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; two brothers: Pastors Arthur Hart, and Dr. Charles Hart; two sisters, Rosali Edwards, and Faith Marjorie Scott; many nieces, nephews, and cousins throughout the United States, Jamaica, England, and Canada; and a host of others who considered him a spiritual father.
Hart was preceded in death by son Bradley and wife Fern as well as his daughter-in-law Ruth.
A viewing will be held on Jan. 26 at the Germantown Christian Assembly from 6 to 8 p.m. Services will be at the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, 7500 Germantown Ave.
The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 11. Cannon Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Deborah A. Taylor Womack was loved, adored, admired and respected very much. She was employed at Pennsylvania Hospital where she served as an administrative assistant for over 30 years. She died Oct. 3. She was 61.
Womack was born on July 27, 1950 to Roy and Anna Taylor in Wilkes Barre, Pa. In the late 1950s the family later relocated to West Philadelphia.
Womack received her formal education in the Philadelphia Public school system and graduated from Bok Technical High School with honors. She received a scholarship to St. Elizabeth College where she studied stenography.
In the 1990s, she retired and dedicated her life to caring for and nurturing her four beautiful grandchildren. She was also gifted with many talents and loved to cook. At family gatherings she was depended on to make the families’ favorite dishes, rice and orzo and string beans sautéed with garlic and tomatoes.
Womack received Christ and was baptized at an early age at New Bethlehem Baptist Church. Before her death, she would frequently attend church services with her sisters, Brenda and Charese, until her health began to fail. Despite the pain she was going through in her body she believed in the power of prayer and would often request Bishop Michelle G. Cherry to visit her home for prayer.
Womack leaves to mourn: parents, Roy and Anna Taylor; two sons, Shawn and Brandon; two grand-daughters, Shayna and Marcia (Muff); three grandsons, Shawn Jr., Jordon and Makai; three sisters, Brenda, Charese and Kim; four brothers, Roy Jr., Kirk, Gary and Glenn; two special aunts, Nancy Adams and Marsha Barnes; two very special friends, Brenda Washington and Lil Lewis along with a host of nieces, nephews and close family friends.
Womack was preceded in death by her sister, Terra Taylor.
Services will be held Oct. 10 at New Bethlehem Baptist Church, Preston and Aspen Streets. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. The service will start at 11. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.