Ella Louise Wheeler was described by her family as a warm and outgoing person who truly live, and loved life. She loved to shop and dressed with style. Wheeler was also an avid traveler. She loved vacationing with her friends in Atlantic City, Miami, the Caribbean and anywhere the weather was warm and she could have some fun in the sun. Those who knew Wheeler appreciated her kindness, friendship and genuine ways. The former corrections officer died Sept. 12. She was 61.
Wheeler was born on May 14, 1950, in Dillon, S.C. to late Frank Covington and Ella Tart. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior and was a proud member of Triumph Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. James Hall Jr.
Wheeler, affectionately called Louise by family and many friends, was educated in the Latimer Public School System, in Latta, S.C. and received her high school diploma from Latimer High School in 1969.
Wheeler moved to Philadelphia shortly after completing high school. She was very assertive and took pride in the work she performed. She was employed by the City of Philadelphia Department of Recreation, and then the School District of Philadelphia. In 1988, Wheeler began her career as a correctional officer with the Philadelphia Prison System and retired in November 2010. She formed life-long friendships with many colleagues and was affectionately known by many nicknames.
Wheeler leaves to mourn: brother, Levern Covington; sister, Josephine Williams; brother-in-law, Greg Williams; two sisters-in-law, Ernestine Covington and Shirley Covington; a very dear and loyal friend, Iris Bush; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and special friends.
Services will be held September 20 at Triumph Baptist Church, 1648 W. Hunting Park. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. The service will start at 11 a.m. Slater 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.
Flora Dorsey Young, Ph.D., a retired Rowan University sociology professor and longtime resident of Lawnside, N.J., died of cancer on Feb. 9. She was 83.
Young was born on July 3, 1928, and grew up to be a prominent member of the Black middle class in Lawnside, the first independent self-governing African-American community north of the Mason-Dixon line. Her late husband, Dr. William P. Young Sr., was a well-known family physician in the borough.
She was an advocate for social justice and worked tirelessly to advance civil rights. She mentored countless students in the close-knit Lawnside borough of nearly 3,000 residents and sought to instill cultural pride and heritage in the youth.
Young was among the first Black faculty members hired in 1968 at then- Glassboro State College. She helped establish the Sociology Department and during her career spanning 27 years she influenced and taught more than 4,500 students. She retired in 1996.
She received numerous awards and secured funding for research grants to aid in getting projects completed and her works published.
She pushed to increase the number of Black undergraduates pursuing doctorates and successfully lobbied for “Hollybush,” a unique program at Rowan that prepared students for the rigorous coursework required to seek advanced degrees.
“She was a trailblazer,” said Julie Mallory Church, assistant director for Counseling and Psychological Services at Rowan in a recent tribute. “Her light shone very brightly, touching generations of students.”
A champion for education at every level, Young challenged her students with her no-nonsense “no excuse will do, tough love” teaching approach. Former students who became lawyers, social workers, teachers and other professionals credit her for setting the stage for their success.
Only days before her death, she assisted her young grandson, William III, with a school project on the Freedom Riders of the 1960s.
“She was an educator to the end,” said her daughter Dr. Marie Young-Robinson, an anesthesiologist in Philadelphia. “She was a strong family woman and an asset to all who knew her.”
Born in Philadelphia, Young was educated in the public school district and graduated from The Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1946. She inherited her spirited nature and quest for learning from her parents, the late Mary Gaskins Dorsey and Dr. Charles W. Dorsey, a well-known dentist, charter member of the National Dental Association and president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP.
She often quoted the words of her father, which inspired her to excel: “Do the best you can, always — no one can do more, but never stop trying. There is no sin so great as despair, and perhaps no virtue so vital as courage.”
While earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she met her future husband, a young student at Howard Medical School. The couple married in 1950 and settled in Lawnside a few years later.
Young later obtained a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Howard and a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
She studied with and under some of the most significant scholars in Black academia including E. Franklin Frazier, considered one of the most prominent African-American sociologists of the 20th century.
Young and her husband brought the renowned historian, the late John Hope Franklin, who chronicled the struggles of Black Americans and others to Lawnside to speak to a youth group that the couple formed to expose children in the community to their culture and heritage.
In a 2006 interview with the Lawnside Historical Society, Young noted: “We felt that our young people did not have a clue as to how proud they could be of the various ones that had gone before them. Of course, I still feel that way. I am quite annoyed with the lack of our young people really getting excited about knowing about their forefathers.”
Young and her husband were instrumental in encouraging and assisting youngsters to attend college, particularly historically Black colleges and universities. The couple tutored students, financed transportation and in some cases paid their tuition.
Young was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links Inc., the Auxiliary to the South Jersey Medical Society and the National Congress of Black Faculty. She attended the Chapel of the Annunciation in Lawnside.
Young is survived by: daughter, Dr. Marie Young-Robinson; son, Dr. William P. Young Jr.; grandchildren, William III and Marc Robinson; daughter-in-law, Kim Young and son-in-law, Martin Robinson.
A memorial service and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Omega Omega service were held on February 15 at Rowan University in the Student Center Owl’s Nest. Carl Miller Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Donations in her name may be sent to: Howard University College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Alumni Relations, 2225 Georgia Ave., NW, Room 901, Washington, D.C. 20059. Attention: N. Bernard.
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.
Hobson Neil Gamble held a number of various jobs during his lifetime. He worked for Center City Cadillac, was a bartender and driver, and had worked for Henckels & McCoy and Eastern Warehouse Distributors. He was a member of Local 322.
However, his most recent work, as a trustee at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, was the closest to his heart. He died Sept. 11. He was 65.
Gamble was born on October 16, 1945, to the late Willie Gamble and Mattie Gamble, in Philadelphia. He was educated in the Philadelphia School District and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. Neil had a passion for fishing and was an avid fan of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies.
During the various stages of Neil’s life he was affectionately known as “School Boy,” “Schoolie” and “Butch.”
He became a member of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church where he was baptized as a young boy. He returned to Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in 1991, becoming a faithful servant. He loved singing with the layman and working as a trustee. He took great pride in being one of the cooks for the church picnic.
Gamble met, fell in love and married Regina (Cookie) Holts-Carter in 1984. He fondly referred to her as “Cook.”
He remained a loving husband, son, brother, father and uncle, and will be greatly missed.
Gamble leaves to mourn: wife, Regina; children, Sheldon, Carla (Curtis) and Brian; mother, Mattie Gamble; siblings, Dollie Evon, Willie Earl (Deborah), LaVaughn (Charles) and Darrell (Jewel); grandchildren, Duran, Cecily and Colin; father-in law, William (Bill) Holts; and sister- in- law, Caprice Holts-Griggs (Alvin). He had a special relationship with his niece Earlisha, who he cherished and treated like she was his own. Two devoted best friends, Samuel Rudy Marshall and Lewis Medley, adopted children Steven and Crystal Gardner, and a host of nieces and nephews will also mourn him.
Services will be held September 17 at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, 1328 N. 19th St. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m. Turay Memorial Funeral Chapel 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.
Mamie Lucille Watson was known to be a “smart woman” who was strong and independent. Watson was highly intelligent, well respected and a mentor to many.
“She was a wonderful, caring and giving person who was always there when you needed her,” said her son William Watson. “If you needed a friend, she was there for you.”
Watson said he was moved by all the support he has received since his mother’s death.
“She was a very big-hearted lady,” he said. “She touched so many lives. There were so many people who called her mother and thought so highly of her.”
Watson died October 9. She was 87.
Watson was born on September 12, 1924 in Philadelphia, the eldest child to Spann and Alice Sanders. She was big sister to Spann “Jack” Sanders Jr. and Everett Thurman Sanders. The western section of the city was where she experienced life. She easily matriculated through the Philadelphia school system and received her diploma from Overbrook High School in 1941.
She married Moses William Watson in 1942. From that union came her three children, William, Edward and Brenda.
Watson supported her children with the help of her family and by working diligently. She did day’s work and was a packer at Crown Can Company until finally landing a terrific job. Her family said that The United States Signal Corp located then at Broad and Cherry streets employed this young Black woman who showed eagerness, promise and potential. After working several years in Philadelphia, her department moved to Fort Monmouth, N.J. Watson sacrificed and would leave from 69th Street every morning at 6 a.m. to make the 180-mile round trip. While there, she preformed various positions as she moved up the ranks, which was difficult for most.
She advanced her career by taking classes offered by the government in the evening at Benjamin Franklin High School. Watson retired from the federal government as a supply cataloger after 30 or more years of extraordinary service.
With a thirst for learning, she continued her personal growth entering Philadelphia Community College at the mature age of sixty. She proved successful and received her Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing shortly thereafter.
Watson met the Lord early in life at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. Later in life she enjoyed the word at Sharon Baptist Church and was moved to join.
Her love for Jesus Christ was displayed in a number of ways. She found inspiration singing for the Mt. Carmel Choir under the direction of the late Napper H. Hester III. She carried the soprano section with her beautiful, melodious voice.
She also joined the Mt. Carmel Chorus and later the Mother’s Guild of the church where she flourished. Watson was also a member of the Noon Day Bible Study class and loved it.
She realized the Lord had gifted her with talents beyond her or anyone’s imagination. Writing, casting, directing and perfecting plays was something she enjoyed. She ensured excellence by incorporating her family to act and assist with the presentations. The performances were usually standing room only. Her works were in demand and pereformed at other churches as well.
Going to shows, plays and dining out were among her favorite things to do in her younger years.
She also enjoyed listening to jazz. Nina Simone, Lena Horne and Dinah Washington were her favorites. You could find Ms. Mamie reading, writing or doing research on various subjects. Watson was a person who appreciated the nice things in life. All who knew her agreed that she was kind, considerate, caring, loving, giving and had a heart of gold.
Watson leaves to mourn: two sons; William (Jeanette) and Edward; grandchildren, Kevin, Edward, Keisha Marie, Christopher, Staci, Brian and Ashley; great-grandchildren; brother, Spann “Jack” Sanders; loving nieces and nephews; great nieces and great nephews; and a host of people who called her “Mother.”
She was preceded in death by her parents and daughter, Brenda.
Services will be held October 14 at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave. The viewing will be form 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The service will start at 10. Julian Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Nathan Chapman Sr. spent many years as a morgue attendant. After retirement he was contracted by funeral homes throughout the city to work as a limousine driver. The U.S. veteran died Sept. 22. He was 89.
Chapman was born on March 27, 1922 in Ware County, Ga. He was educated in the Philadelphia School District. He enlisted in the United States Army on Feb. 22, 1943 and was honorably discharged on Dec. 17, 1945.
In later years he continued his education at the Echols Mortuary Science School. He was hired by the Medical Examiners Office in March 1955 as a morgue attendant and retired in 1987. His family said he loved his work.
He united in holy matrimony on Jan. 17, 1943 to his childhood sweetheart, the late Harriet Louise Carter. This union produced two children, Nathan Jr. and Zara.
He was a member of the Elmwood Community Methodist Church and served as chairman of the trustees, a member of the Usher Board, Male Chorus and a Sunday school teacher. He was a faithful member of Elmwood Community for over 70 years.
Chapman was a Masonic brother for over 60 years. He was a member of Heriones of Jericho Alpha Court No. 23-Past Worshipful Joshua, Royal and Select Eureka No 7, Demolay Consistory No.1-Sublime Prince, William Cooper Holy Royal Arch No. 6-Past High Priest and Past Master of Christian Lodge No. 12.
Chapman is survived by: his daughter, Zara and a host of other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Oct. 3 at Elmwood Community Methodist Church, 4523 Chester Avenue. The viewing will be at 9 a.m. The service will start at 10 a.m. Yarborough and Rocke Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
With the sad announcement of the death of Yeadon Fire Company member William W. Neil, Thursday, October 27, 2011, Chief Mike Melazzo somberly stated, “Not only has Yeadon lost a strong community contributor, but Bill’s presence has for many years been felt in a large segment of the state, especially Delaware County.”
School children have lost their friendly, patient crossing guard.
The community’s highly praised Emergency Management organization has lost its leader.
And of course his wife, Barbara, has lost her companion and partner of 28 years.
But Neil will long be remembered by his neighbors, family and friends, who spent this week chronicling his loving nature and years of community service.
Mr. Neil began his many contributions to the Borough of Yeadon when, in 1983, he became involved in Yeadon’s Town Watch, and eventually Delaware County’s companion Town Watch Council. The next year he became an American Red Cross CPR instructor. It was a common sight for people passing the local fire station to see an American Red Cross’ Emergency Response vehicle parked alongside the Borough Hall.
Neil’s friendly nature and magnetic personality were responsible for the recruitment and training of members of the local volunteer Fire Company to serve as Red Cross disaster services members. During Philadelphia’s Mellon Bank fire in 1991, it was Neil who organized the feeding of the legion of firefighters on scene.
These efforts did not go unnoticed. In 1992, Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey appointed Neil as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Borough of Yeadon, a role he held proudly until his death.
His local responsibilities have included leadership roles in the Fire Company, Flag Day activities, holiday food distribution and advisor to the Emergency Management activities in neighboring East Lansdowne and Lansdowne.
In 1995, Neil received an award for his service to The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.
Even during his prolonged illness, Neil would not refuse a call to help someone in need. As one of his subordinates stated, “Our corner of the world is a better place because of his efforts.”
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, November 2 at the Yeadon Fire Company, Bailey Road near Church Lane, from 5 to 9 p.m. A tribute service will be held at 7 p.m.
The 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 Firefighter’s Funeral service is also being held at the Yeadon Fire Company, with the internment to follow at Eden Cemetery, Collingdale.
Following burial, a repast will be held at Yeadon Borough Hall Auditorium. Arrangements were provided by Edney Funeral Home, Sharon Hill.
Isabel Ruth Willis Fambrough had the mind of a scholar, the soul of a diplomat and the spirit of a humanitarian. As a global citizen of the world, she earned the respect of international leaders, and received numerous awards and recognition for a lifetime of achievement in both her personal and professional life. Isabel was a folk artisan: chair caning, ceramicist, weaver, quilter; an avid tennis player; bibliophile; family historian; and supporter of the arts and Black culture. She died October 18. She was 87.
Fambrough was born in Philadelphia on January 5, 1924. She was the fourth child of 10 children born to the late Effie Morgan White Willis and Richard Byrd Willis of Orange County, Va. Educated in the School District of Philadelphia, she graduated from the Thomas Fitzsimons Junior High School on January 30, 1939 and Simon Gratz High School on January 29, 1942. From 1950 to 1951, she was a member of the Spanish Club at the University of Pennsylvania.
As one of the first African Americans to integrate the Department of Navy Aviation Supply, Fambrough spent 34 years as a public servant with the Federal Government and member of the Naval Supply Depot Employee Association.
Her diligent service earned her many commendations and awards that included her work in 1971 as Chairperson of the Supply Chain Management/United Way Fund Raising Drive. After retiring in 1972, she moved to her homestead in Louisa, Va. to care for her aging aunt Cora Willis Glover.
Her Christian experience began at Second Antioch Baptist Church, where she was baptized at a young age under the pastorate of Rev. Davis DeBrady.
She spent time at the North Penn Baptist Church with her brother, Thomas Willis, and along with her friends, Claudia Young Rhea and Pauline Crumbley Brown, attended Sunday school and BYPU. In Virginia, she attended the Shady Grove Baptist Church in Orange, Virginia where the Willis-White-Richardson clan has worshipped since the church was established in 1871.
Among her outstanding civic and professional achievements, Isabel was often called a cultural ambassador to Liberia, sending food, clothing and other supplies. Because of her efforts, she became close friends with Liberia’s President William V.S. Tubman, and in 1965 she was part of a U.N. delegation to Africa to support national unification in Liberia and other parts of West Africa. In 1966, Isabel was crowned “Miss World Fellowship” at the Southwest Belmont Y.W.C.A. in Philadelphia.
Fambrough, along with her late husband, Eugene A. Raymond, an artist who won recognition for his many portraits and murals, was also friends with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
On July 26, 1958, they attended a reception given by the City of Philadelphia at the National Philatelic Museum, where Nkrumah opened an exhibit on Ghana; and in 1959, Eugene founded the United Friends of Africa, a nonprofit cultural, development and educational organization.
Isabel also became friends with numerous people from various parts of the world. Some of her notable letters and postcards include correspondence from President Tubman and First Lady of Liberia; Kofi Baako, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Accra, Ghana; and Hong Kong. In 1970, Isabel traveled to Asia developing friendships in Taipei, Hong Kong and Osaka, Japan. She also worked as a travel consultant at E-Jay Travel in her late brother, Adolph “Jack” Willis’, travel agency.
Fambrough was married to Eugene A. Raymond, and then Thomas Fambrough, both of whom preceded her in death.
Her other achievements and memberships include: Eastern Regional Director of the Professional and Business Women’s Sorority, Gamma Phi Delta, Inc., Mu Omicron Chapter, where she was Soror of the Year in 1972 and was honored by Business Women of the Greater Delaware Valley in The Bulletin newspaper on Sunday, January 28, 1979; she was also a member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Germantown Household of Ruth, No. 403 of Philadelphia; and was council president of POWERtalk International (formally International Training in Communication & International Toastmistress Clubs).
In Virginia, Fambrough was a founding member of the National Association of Active & Retired Federal Employees of Louisa, Virginia Chapter 2065, where she held several offices in that chapter including the presidency. With AARP, she served as secretary of the state association for many years, and in several officer roles in the local chapter. She was an award-winning 4-H member in Louisa, Va. as well as a 4-H camp volunteer. In the Louisa County Commission on Aging, she represented the Louisa District, and is remembered as a hard worker who kept things together.
She also made the punch for the annual Christmas Dinner which served well over a hundred people. In addition, Isabel was president of the Louisa County Agricultural Fair; president of the Louisa County Extension Homemakers; and member of the Louisa County Federated Women’s Club.
Fambrough leaves to mourn: niece, Yvonne Willis Brooks; siblings, Cecil O. Willis and Irma Willis Clark; sisters-in-law, Lithan Willis and Ruth Willis; dozens of nieces and nephews, a multitude of cousins and a host of friends and admirers.
Isabel was preceded in death by her siblings, Richard, Mabel, Thomas, Wilbur, Lillian, Elmer and Adolph.
Services will be held October 26 at Powell Mortuary Services, 2432 North 27th St. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11.