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.
Ray Barnes, often known as “Mr. Indeed” was gregarious, full of life, fun spirited and controversial and he worked until his retirement from the State of Pennsylvania Human Relations. Barnes died on Jan. 20. He was 83.
Barnes was born on November 8, 1928 in Sunbury, N.C. He was one of five children born to George and Icer Barnes. He moved to Philadelphia at the age of 13 and completed his education at West Philadelphia High School.
He entered the United States Armed Forces after high school, and from there attended Lincoln University. While in attendance at Lincoln, he joined Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in 1948. He graduated from Lincoln in 1950. He then went to work for the State of Pennsylvania Human Relations department.
In 1954, he married Marty Powell. They had twin boys, Ivan and Irvin.
“He was just a remarkable guy. He really gave my brother and I a sense of integrity and strength,” said Irvin Barnes.
Over the past several years, he had been involved in numerous civic and community activities. He was steadfast in his commitment to his faith, family, friends, Lincoln University and Kappa Alpha Psi. When seen in the community wearing Lincoln University and Kappa paraphernalia, he would respond with “Indeed!”
His family said that Barnes loved to barbecue ribs and burgers on the grill. He was a devoted husband and father and spoke proudly of his children.
Barnes leaves to mourn: wife, Mary Barnes; two sons, Ivan and Irvin Barnes; granddaughter, Attiyya; daughter-in-law, Marlene Barnes; as well as a host of nephews, nieces and friends.
Services were held on January 28. Wood 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.
Hazel Southerland Collins was a full time homemaker who kept a busy schedule caring for her children and husband. You could often find her volunteering at schools, selling AVON, cultivating her garden or in the kitchen making her famous “apple dumplings or chocolate brownies.”
She enjoyed many other activities. She was a member of the Quettes, an auxiliary organization of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and in later years she became a basketball fan in support of the Philadelphia 76ers.
A devoted wife, mother and grandmother with a sense of style, Collins battled Crohn’s disease for more than 30 years. Throughout her illness, she continued to be the “Hazel” that everyone had grown to love. She was thoughtful, lovable, classy, strong, constant, beautiful, and kind. She was a fighter and fought Crohn’s with all she had. She died Sept. 5. She was 81.
Collins was born on Oct. 11, 1929, to William and Alberta Southerland. She was the youngest of six children. From an early age, she showed compassion to others, always looking for a way to make their day a little brighter. Her family said she had a vibrant childhood and thrived socially and academically in the close knit community of Magnolia, N.C.
She received her early education in Duplin County public schools and graduated in 1945 from Duplin County Negro High School. As the Salutatorian of her high school graduating class, she encouraged excellence in her fellow classmates and challenged them to “rise above the tyranny of ready-made thinking and strike out for themselves into the unknown.” Following graduation, she attended North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC.
It was while living in Philadelphia that Hazel met U.S. Army Captain Walter H. Collins, of Birmingham, Ala. Their love blossomed and in August of 1954, she sailed for Bad-Kruecznach, Germany, where they married and began their life together. In their union, they had three daughters and raised two more. Their love and devotion endured for more than 45 years until his death in 2000.
As proud grandparents of five, the Collinses looked forward to spending time with “the grands” and capturing many of those precious moments in pictures and video.
Collins was an active member of Sayers Memorial United Methodist Church for more than 50 years, where she served in numerous ministries. She combined her gift of service with her love for gardening and could often be found planting and caring for flowers at Sayers or anywhere someone needed gardening help.
In recent years, she spent most of her time in Marietta, Ga., with her daughter, Jacqueline, and her granddaughter, Cydnee. She became an integral part of the activities for all of the Track and Field events that her daughter presided over. From preparing bib numbers to taking calls and proofing reports, she remained active. This relationship brought her a whole new set of friends and associates whom she fed, counseled and enjoyed until her death.
Collins is survived by: daughters, Jacqueline Collins and Patricia Brown; extended daughters, Barbara J. Ellis and Deloris C. Chisley; grandchildren, Brian W. Ellis, Alexis N. Brown, Austin Brown, Christian Ross and Cydnee A. Luther; sons-in-law, Wayne Ellis, Wilbur Ross and W. Gregory Brown; a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends; and her partner on four legs, Jaylen.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Adrienne, and her husband Walter.
Services will be held September 10 at Sayers Memorial UMC, 6101 Catherine St. The viewing will be at 1 p.m. The service will start at 2. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Florence G. Garrett was always an entrepreneur and hard worker. Her home continued to be a hub of loving support for community children, students, foster children and family who fondly called her “Lady.” Garrett died November 9 of cancer. She was 79.
Garrett wore a number of hats. She opened the Gingham Room Donut Shop, was a City of Philadelphia Crossing Guard, a nurse’s aide at Byberry and a security guard at Germantown Friends School. As physical limitations increased, she was still politically active.
Garrett was born on September 9, 1932 to Emma L. Ervin and Frank Wilson in Belmont, N.C. in 1932. She was loved by her family. At an early age they moved to Harrisburg. She experienced the sting of segregation and difficult times, but always pointed her goals toward a positive end. She met and later married Daniel R. Garrett Sr.
In 1950, the family moved to West Philadelphia. In 1960, she selected Mt. Airy as her home where she has stayed for the duration of her fruitful life.
Her family said that as a devoted mother she always kept a cheerful, neat home where God’s love in Christ set the mark. She was the director of the choir and a member of the Prayer and Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, and later joined Advocate St. United Methodist Church.
Garrett was block captain on her street and worked diligently on community beautification, racial harmony, supporting the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and eliminating gang violence.
Garrett, along with Joyce and Willie Rush, The Altemares, Leon Walker, Ms. Bair and the Hasaras created The Neighbors of the Hill.
As president, Garrett recruited countless others who together worked with the late Honorable David P. Richardson and late Mayor Frank Rizzo. At that time, District Attorney Ed Rendell became involved to assist in keeping West Mt. Airy a safe place to live.
She worked with Tom Arthurs to secure The Allen Lane Housing Project for low-income and disabled neighbors. Garrett was also instrumental in creating the Child Welfare Advisory Board and volunteered on various citywide boards for Human Services.
She rewarded active community volunteers with an annual trip to Hershey Park for the last 35 years. She received two Chapel of Four Chaplains Awards, a Poe Richards Club Award, the Sampson L. Freedman Humanities Award and various community Awards along with Presidential letters of recognition. She even had the only integrated Street Hockey Team, The Mt. Airy Flames, which went on to state competition.
Garrett is survived by: children, Deborah Garrett, Avis Shaw (Tony), Danese Saunders, Rosalind McKelvey (Howard), Stephanie Garrett, Florence Crystal Grazella (Gary), Daniel R. Garrett Jr., Craig Garrett, Brian Garrett (Arissa) and William Murphy Garrett II (Karen); 26 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a host of foster grandchildren, friends and relatives who will greatly miss her.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel R. Garrett, and one grandchild.
Services will be held November 18 at Holsey Temple CME Church, 5305 Germantown Ave. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11. Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Elva Bell was the first Black guidance counselor at Harding Junior High and Abington Senior High.
Bell died Sept. 6, 2011. She was 89.
She earned a bachelor’s degree at Cheyney University and a master’s degree from Temple University. She was active in her church’s Sunday School, Church Council and social ministry, was the altar flower coordinator and organized two blood drives a year.
Bell was a member of the Abington School District Human Relations Advisory Council, United Neighbors of Willow Grove, Black Women’s Educational Alliance of Montgomery County, the Willow Grove NAACP, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., the Crisis Response Team of Abington Township “No Place for Hate” organization and the Dickens Auxiliary of the Women’s Board of Abington Hospital.
She is survived by her son, Howard Jr.; daughter, Linda; and three grandchildren.
Condolences can be offered September 19 starting at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2086 Parkview Avenue, Abington, Pa. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to one of her favorite charities of her church.
Auer Cremation Services of Pa., Inc. handled the arrangements.
Ernest A. Branch was enlisted in the United States Army in 1940, where he received several distinguished awards and was honorably discharged in October 1945 with the rank of Technical Sergeant First Class. He settled in Philadelphia and enrolled in the Spring Garden Institute on the G.I. Bill where he received a diploma in automobile mechanics. This became his lifelong passion.
He was also a very devoted family man.
“Daddy was an excellent father, and he raised my brother and I to be very mindful of being good citizens in the community and to always think of what God would want us to do. He was a very hard working man,” said Darlene Branch Smith, his daughter.
“He was just a wonderful father. I’m not saying he didn’t have faults, but he was just a phenomenon when it came to raising children.”
Branch died Dec. 10. He was 91.
Branch was born on August 1, 1920, the oldest of seven children born to Jessie and Ernest Branch of Monessen, Pa. He attended the public school system of Monessen City and graduated from Monessen High School.
Through his good friend and future brother-in-law he met Irene Reel, who became his wife of 51 years, and preceded him in death. From this union two children were born, Gregory Cleon and Darlene Inez.
Branch became gainfully employed at Quaker City Sugar Company in 1945 where he rose through the ranks. In 1957, he became one of the first African-American checkers on the Philadelphia waterfront. This enabled him to schedule the loading and unloading of the trucks on the docks. He held this position until his retirement in 1981.
“He worked very hard on this job, and he also worked on the weekend,”
“He got a little job for himself on the weekend catering and washing windows for the senior citizens in his church to get extra money for Gregory and I because he wanted us to go to college.”
Christ was an integral part of Ernest’s life, and as an adult he committed himself to helping organize Beloved Baptist Church where he became a Senior Deacon and served many years on the church’s finance committee. He encouraged his children to be actively involved in the church as well.
Branch leaves to mourn: son, Gregory; daughter, Darlene; sister, Nadine; son-in-law, William; daughter-in-law, Belinda; brother-in-law, George; five granddaughters; three great-grandsons; two great-granddaughters; and a host of friends and relatives.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Samuel, Ronald, Nelda, Francis and Norman. Services were held Dec. 16 at Beloved Baptist Church, 2107 Toronto St. Ray Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Miranda King Pope, affectionately called Randy, was a diligent woman.
Pope’s devotion to her family and friends was a testimony of her life. Miranda wore many hats in her lifetime; she was a mother, wife, grandmother and a confidant — but mostly, she was a friend. She had a love for clothes and jewelry like no other. Her bedazzled jewelry and outfits were her trade mark. She died October 6. She was 87.
Pope was born on November 26, 1923 in Jackson, Ga. to Apostle and Mary Lena Wooten. She received her formal education in the Cambridge School District. After completion of high school, she continued her education as an LPN at the Cambridge City Hospital. During this era, she witnessed the effects of World War II, which permitted women to hold full-time jobs outside of the home while the men went off to war. Because of this, her first full-time job was with an electrical plant, making resistors for radios and short wave radio equipment.
In 1943, she relocated to Philadelphia where she met and married Jessie J. Goode. Of this union, a son, Gerald Gordon Goode, was born.
She was a devout Christian who firmly believed that Jesus Christ was her personal savior. She became a faithful member of the Child’s Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
She was a member of the Federation of Nurses of Philadelphia and Vicinity and with the help and support of her former pastor, Rev. R.A. Cromwell; Edward M. Baker; Deacon James Fuller and Deacon Lindsey Milner, Pope became the director of the church’s daycare center. This daycare center was the first of its kind, solely supported by a church. With the proper credentials, inspection and approval from the Department of Education this daycare center became an important resource in the local community. Her love for God and her devotion to her church was evidenced by the different auxiliaries and community functions in which she actively participated.
In 1949, Pope met and married Theodore King, and from this union a daughter, Karla Denise King, was born.
In 1964, she became employed at Temple University where she became head of the Interior Design Department. Pope loved her job at Temple; she could be seen talking to college students who were away from home for the first time.
In the early 1970s, Pope met the love of her life, George Pope Jr. This love lasted over 40 years.
Randy traveled extensively to the Bahamas, Spain, Africa and Japan. Her favorite place was Niagara Falls where she would sit for hours because there she felt close to God. After 30 years of dedicated service at Temple University, she retired in 1988.
In 1990, Pope and George retired to Florence, S.C. Her continued devotion to God led her to attend several churches. With the help of family and friends, she became one of the organizers of the People’s United Baptist Church where she served as a Sunday School teacher, president of the Deaconess Board, youth advisor and the Mothers’ Board.
In 2006, Pope returned to Philadelphia due to declining health and because she missed her family. She united with the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown where she resumed her deaconess duties, also serving on the Stained Glass Window Committee and Pastors’ Aide Ministry.
In 2008, Pope was diligent in registering people to vote. She was a philanthropic supporter of the NAACP, and the Obama for President Campaign. She attended a rally in Vernon Park where she cheered on Barack Obama who ultimately became the first African-American president.
Pope leaves to mourn: husband, George Pope Jr.; daughter, Karla D. Talbert and numerous relatives and friends.
Pope was preceded in death by her son, Gerald G. Goode; son-in-law, Alan L. Talbert and granddaughter, Kourtney L. Talbert.
William T. Valentine Jr., known as “Bill,” will be remembered by his family as a humanitarian.
Valentine’s family said he had a passion for helping others. He was a dedicated life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for 30 years. He was also an active member of Concerned Black Men, The Frontiers, the Big Brother and Big Sister Organization and the Free of Life Ministry.
His family said he had a carefree spirit and attitude. Valentine died on January 30. He was 58.
Valentine was born on October 27, 1953, to William T. Sr. and Florine M. Valentine. He was baptized and confirmed at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. He was a dedicated member for 50 years. He served diligently as an acolyte, youth instructor, music committee, basketball coach, Sunday school teacher and also as a lay Eucharistic minister and a lay reader.
He received his education in the Philadelphia Public School District. He obtained a bachelor of science degree from Drexel University and a master’s degree in education from Cheyney University.
A highlight of his work experience is his 16-year career at the Defense Support System and five years as a teacher in the Philadelphia Public School District. He was also employed at the Philadelphia Department of Human Services as a social worker for nine years at the time of his death.
He was also an official referee for football, softball and basketball in the following organizations: UBBO, Tri State, ABC and PIAA Associations. He also taught and played tennis. He would take time out of his activities to get to the gym to workout and play racquetball.
He loved watching sports with his Aunt Catherine, who is known as Miss Kitty, especially the SuperBowl.
Valentine leaves to mourn: aunt, Catherine; companion, Norma; godchildren, Isaac George, Zuleka and Samaria Mesquita, Lynette Dickerson; godfather, Emory Thomas; many cousins and extended family.
Services were held on February 9 at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Services will be held September 28 for Evelyn White Singleton.
Singleton died Sept 21, 2011.
Born to the late Robert and Rosa Henry White in Wilmington, N.C., Singleton was the oldest of seven children. She was married to the late Joshua Singleton Sr. She was a faithful member of the historic Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
She is survived by her son, Joshua Jr. (Antoinette); daughter, Roberta; brother, James White of Virginia Beach, Va.; aunt, Eloise Pompey; three grandchildren, Darren, Anthony (Denise) and Kia Antoinette; three great-grandchildren, Jeremy, Kenobii and Kurei; and other relatives and friends.
Viewing will be held Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. at Mother Bethel AME Church, 419 South Richard Allen Ave. (Sixth and Lombard Streets). Services will follow at 11.
Burial will be at Mt. Peace Cemetery, 3111 Lehigh Ave.