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.
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.
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.
Mashelle Royster Odom was a devoted mother and grandmother. Her family said that she had an outgoing personality and gave of herself to everyone she met.
For the last several years, Odom was a real estate agent with Keller Williams Real Estate Agency in Winston-Salem, N.C. Before becoming a real estate agent, she was employed as an administrative assistant at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. When she lived in Philadelphia, she was employed with the city for several years.
Odom died on January 14 of a massive stroke in Winston Salem. She was 57.
Odom was born on August 2, 1954, in Richmond, Va., to Stanley Royster and Mary Ann Gaines.
She graduated from the public schools in Philadelphia and attended Temple University. She lived in Philadelphia until 2000 when she made her move to Winston-Salem and became an active member of Unity Church of Winston-Salem.
Odom was affectionately known as “Queen” to her children and “Duchess” to her grandchildren in honor of her royal ways. Her family said she had an infectious laugh with an enormous sense of humor. She was a go-getter and was known for her assertive quest for financial security, and above all, was a devoted mother and grandmother who loved her daughters and grandchildren dearly.
Odom is survived by: daughters, Marian “Chrissy” Simpson (Malik Cherry) and Marlena Gordon (Raymond Latane); four grandchildren, Desiree Gordon, Vernon Propst, William Gordon and Xavier Simpson; three sisters, Shirl Ryan, Hilda Thompson and Stacey Royster; two aunts, Alma Hampton and Alice Miller; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; two goddaughters, Lynn and Samantha “Missy” Foulk; and two longtime, special friends, Barbara Evans and Veronica Daniel.
Odom was preceded in death by her parents.
Services were held earlier this month at Canaan Baptist Church.
Junious Lenwood Blackwell, affectionately called “Junie,” was a good son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. He was truly loved by his family. He died Dec. 15. He was 79.
“He was a gregarious, friendly, fun loving, loved people and whenever he was around, there was a party. He was always the life of the party,” said Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell about her brother-in-law.
“He laughed and treated everybody everywhere and was always the center of attention. He loved people and they loved him.”
Blackwell was born on Sept. 28, 1932, to Thomas W. and Mary E. Blackwell. He was the ninth of 11 children. He was educated in the Philadelphia School District. He began his Christian walk as a child by attending Sunday School at White Rock Baptist Church.
He married at a young age and had three children.
He learned at an early age the benefit of hard work. He, along with his siblings, worked in the family grocery store. He spent much of his adult life as a manager at Alex Cleaners. It was there that he met his second wife, Dorothy. They were married for 38 years.
After his retirement, he and his wife spent their later years enjoying their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Blackwell leaves to mourn: wife, Dorothy; five children, nine grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; two sisters and other relatives and friends.
Services were held December 22 at White Rock Baptist Church. Terry 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.
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.
Nazarene Baptist Church welcomed back former pastors, congregants and invited well-wishers to help them celebrate its 115th anniversary.
Pastor K. Marshall Williams Sr. was buoyed by the turnout and festivities, which included a banquet, music ministry concert and a revival in addition to the culmination of the worship service.
“It was awesome. It was a tremendous celebration of what the Lord has done in our church and community in the last 115 years,” Williams said.
“I was just humbled that the Lord allowed me to be a part of it. It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of something so great and wonderful and life changing.”
Williams is the sixth pastor in the church’s long history. He has been at the pulpit since June 1984. Under his leadership, membership has grown. He also led Nazarene in its Capital Stewardship Campaign which raised $1.2 million toward the church’s building fund, culminating in the construction and completion of a $3.2 million church edifice in May 1996.
“I’m honored and humbled by him that he would trust me being the under-shepherd to this flock,” he said.
Dr. William L. Banks, who pastored at Nazarene from 1956 to 1970, preached at the milestone service. Banks shared why he believed Nazarene has sustained itself for so many years.
“We stay doing things that please the Lord, living a clean life and exalting Jesus Christ,” Banks said.
He also praised Williams’ ability to be there for his congregation.
“He has an evangelistic fervor in his preaching,” Banks said.
“[He has] good preaching, good fellowship and a loving people.”
Dr. James L. Cherry, who served as minister of Nazarene after Banks, was also in attendance.
“Being invited back is just something, it is so overwhelming; to see so many people you knew, worked with, served with,” Cherry said.
Cherry described Nazarene as being Bible-based and Christ-centered. He gave Williams the credit for shaping the ministry.
“A great leader,” Cherry said.
“He loves the Lord. He loves the people of Nazarene as I did and he is a great leader, leading them very well.”
Susan Moody, the church historian at Nazarene, spoke of her longtime membership and what kept her coming back every Sunday.
“The church withstood all of the challenges of the late 19th century and the 20th century and this millennium by standing on the word of God,” she said.
“We’ve been changing with the times without changing the mission.”
The 40-year veteran of Nazarene also found the church’s pastor to be another bedrock of its endurance.
“We’ve had very committed ministers. To have six ministers in 115 years is an achievement and we’ve had a very diverse congregation,” she said.
“The pastor of our church is a true shepherd. Aside from preaching and teaching the word of God, he has a definite passion for the needs of the congregation.”
Glenn Simmons is a youth in the church and has been worshipping at Nazarene for the past seven years.
“Our pastor, he always preaches a good word and it’s very humbling to be there,” Simmons said.
“He’s an unbelievable pastor. If you’re in need or sick, he’ll come visit you. “
Norma Blanks, another congregant of Nazarene who has been there for 58 years, echoed the sentiments regarding Williams.
“He’s a God-sent man. He’s a god-living man. He preaches the word. He teaches the word and he’s about his congregation. Not everybody is like that,” Blanks said.
“We love the Lord, and we like to take the word out to the people because you’re not supposed to keep the word of God to yourself, but you’re supposed to take it out to the word so that the world might know about Jesus Christ.”
Williams said that Nazarene would continue its vision to serve God under the banner of his love.
“I think number one, to teach people to glorify the Lord in all that we do. And to build up the saints, the body of Christ and to help people who don’t know Christ to know him and know of his love and mercy for mankind,” he said.
“People would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon anyway.”
Rudolph Valentino Looney Sr. was known as a man of integrity. He took great care of his family and was an excellent provider. Not only was he well respected and loved, he was always a hard worker.
For 25 years, he worked two full time jobs concurrently and he always did it with a smile on his face.
His employment history included a supervisory position with the United States Postal Service, ownership of a family grocery store for 25 years and a 41-year career as a teacher in the Philadelphia public school district. His many co-workers fondly called him “Big Daddy.” His personality, his dedication and his hearty laugh will always be remembered.
The devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather died October 21. He was 81.
Looney was born to Mack and Beatrice Looney on May 30, 1930, in Faraday, West Va. He was the fourth of six children.
He was educated in the Faraday, West Virginia public school district. Academic achievement and excellence were primary forces in his life. He graduated, at 16 years of age, from Excelsior High School, as an honor student.
His undergraduate studies were completed at Bluefield State College. Looney was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. He graduated magna cum laude. In addition to academic excellence, Looney was a star athlete.
He was the captain of his college football team. Unfortunately, an injury to his knee prevented him from being named to the ranks of Little All American. Later in 1950, he was named “Kappa of the Year” by the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
During his academic experience at Bluefield State College, he met the love of his life, Gwendolyn Marie Jackson. The two were married on February 12, 1951. Their union lasted 59 years, until her death on March 6, 2010. They were devoted to each other. Evidence of their love was demonstrated whenever and wherever you saw them. They had five children: Kevin Sr., Keith, Karen, Kim and Rudolph Jr. Family was always their focus. They raised their children in a loving environment. They nurtured their children. Family time was very important. Vacations included time spent at resorts and cruises and often included not just their children but their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends. Their home was open to many, and their hearts were open to all.
Looney leaves to mourn: five children, Kevin Sr. (Tonya), Keith (Dora), Karen (Ferris, Jr.), Kim and Rudolph Jr.; two siblings, Mack Jr. and Donald (Rose); sister-in-law, Billie Jean Marrs (Edwin); 10 grandchildren, Julian “JJ” Busbee Jr. (Tia), Tonya D. Looney, Ferris L. Davis III (Jeniece), Damen K. Looney Sr., Kevin Looney Jr. (Dionne), Kendrick A. Looney, Kalitta S. Looney, Clifford C. Bullock Sr.(Erin), Jasmine M. Looney, Rudolph V. Looney III; 21 great-grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, “adopted” children, family and friends.
Looney was preceded in death by siblings, Juanita Looney, John Watterson and Billy Jean Reed.
Services will be held October 28 at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 5619–45 Walnut St. The service will start at 11 a.m. Bringhurst Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Eugene George, 90, a native Philadelphian, was a long-time resident and homeowner in North Philadelphia. He died on Oct. 8 from respiratory ailments at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
George was born February 13, 1921 to the late Maxime Clement and Margaret (née Alexander) George. “Daddy Gene, as we called him was the second oldest, but his brother, Solington, died after a year of age. So, he was raised as the big brother of the subsequent three children. As a youngster, Daddy was taken to Grenada, West Indies, by his mother. After the birth of his brother, Andrew (Winston), the boys lived with their maternal grandparents who raised them,” said Patrick, his eldest son.
His daughter, Bernice McIntyre, also shared her memories.
“While in the ‘Island of Spice,’” Dad met a young girl named Muriel Daly,” she said. “They actually attended school together, developing a romance along the way. However, their lives parted as Dad and his brother ventured to Trinidad where they lived for a short time.
“Then, because Dad was a U.S. citizen, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during WWII and served in Puerto Rico,” Bernice McIntyre added. “He was honorably discharged in 1947 and settled in Philadelphia where he was reunited with his parents.”
George never forgot his first love, Muriel.
According to Eugenia, his daughter, “Dad sent for our mom in 1949, marrying within a year. There are four of us, each being spoiled in our own way. Our parents worked hard to keep us on the right track. We had a loving and secure upbringing, the West Indian way. Our Dad was devastated when he lost his wife in 1973, becoming a widower.”
Patrick continued with his recollections.
“Our Dad played cricket in Grenada and the United States. His team considered themselves to be good and so traveled wherever a challenger dared to take them on. He was also a member of the now defunct William Penn Masonic Lodge. He served as the Worshipful Grand Master and was honored for his work,” remembered Patrick.
The family beamed at the recounting of the story of their father’s and uncle’s reunion.
“After over 40 years, Dad and Uncle Winston saw each other again in 1989. Uncle Winston and Aunt Doril came to Philadelphia from London, England to visit with us. What a treat! That was definitely the high point in our dad’s life. Shortly after that visit, Uncle Winston passed away,” Bernice said.
“That was a huge blow to our father. However, we have been so enriched by the connection with our family in the UK. In Dad, the family has lost one of our historians, so someone else has to assume that role. Dad was family-focused and valued retaining and collecting family facts.”
George is survived by: children, Bernice McIntyre, Patrick, Eugene, Eugenia McFadden and Kenesta Mack; two sisters, Rose Cuffy and Gloria Walker; sons-in-law, James McIntyre and Tony McFadden; grandchildren, Justin McIntyre, Ishmawiyl, Shaquille and Cashad McFadden; devoted companion, Florence M. Mack; brothers-in-law, Arthur Cuffy and Richard Hamilton; sister-in-law, Anita Daly Hill; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Services will be held on October 15, at St. Martin de Porres Church at 2340 W. Lehigh Ave. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11. Sabbath Funeral home handled the arrangements.