A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, for Norville L. Smith, a long-time member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church and former dean of students at Cheyney University, who died June 3, 2013. He was 96.
Smith was born Feb. 2, 1916, to the late James and Clara Smith in Mullica Hill, N.J.
He graduated from Swedesboro High School where he ranked number two in a class of 100. He obtained his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Virginia Union University and a master’s degree from The University of Pennsylvania.
Smith completed course work for his doctorate at the University of Southern California and did further graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Pennsylvania State University and Case Western Reserve University. He held teaching certificates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina and California.
Smith was an educator for more than 40 years. He held various positions at Cheyney including dean of students, director of arts and sciences and associate professor of political science,
He was also a high school teacher who taught Latin, English and social studies and served as a varsity basketball coach.
He was married to the former Marquerite Mazique of Natches, Miss.
Smith was a member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church for 35 years where he served as a trustee and chairman of the College Assistance Committee.
Smith was affiliated with the Humanities Council-State 12 WHYY, Chester County Hospital, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Ecological Committee of the Thornburg Township, Delaware County and the Kiwanis Club in West Chester.
A memorial service will be held on Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 5723 Race St.
Albert M. Dorsey, an entrepreneur and engineer who held several positions with the School District of Philadelphia, died on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. He was 78.
Dorsey was born Nov. 26, 1935, in Philadelphia. He was educated in the School District of Philadelphia and graduated from John Bartram High School.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Drexel Institute of Technology. While attending Drexel, he served as the Yearbook editor, was elected to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities” and served in the class congress.
Dorsey received his professional engineer certification from Drexel in 1974. He obtained his master’s degree in finance from St. Joseph’s University.
Dorsey held management positions with General Electric Co., Conrail and Metro North Commuter Railroad.
He was employed by the School District of Philadelphia where he was responsible for building support services, which included real estate, environmental services, energy and facility liability issues. He has held various positions within the district such as manager of engineering, facilities services department; project coordinator for construction of the new Edison High School; director and associate superintendent, facilities services department.
Dorsey was a former instructor at the school district’s adult evening classes at J.F.K. Center in Finance and Mathematics. He also operated a financial services business.
He was a professional boxing judge with the World Boxing Union, North American Boxing Federation, Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Athletic Commission.
He is survived by his son Jerome Dorsey; sister Gloria Lindsay; devoted friend Florence Campbell and other relatives and friends.
Burial is private.
The largest African American-owned real estate development company in the country is slated to develop a hotel in Philadelphia.
The Peebles Corporation and P&A Associates have been selected as the developers of a new $90 million Kimpton Hotel to be located at 1801 Vine St. The project will transform the home of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas into a tourist and visitor destination.
The new hotel will feature 199 guest rooms, 16,000 square feet of spa and fitness space, 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space and 5,800 square feet for a restaurant and bar. The hotel is projected to open in 2016.
The new development was announced during a press conference led held Tuesday at City Hall.
“We are delighted to announce this major economic development project that will create more than 600 construction and permanent jobs in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “The addition of a new Kimpton Hotel along the Ben Franklin Parkway will be a great addition to that historic boulevard. This investment demonstrates the continued momentum of our city’s hospitality and tourism industry.”
R. Donahue Peebles, chairman and CEO of Peebles Corporation said they are committed to ensuring the development sets a new standard for the inclusion of minority business opportunities in Philadelphia. McKissack and McKissack, the nation’s largest minority-owned construction company has been selected to lead that effort.
“The foundation of our company has been premised on equal economic opportunity,” Peebles said. “I’m a big believer that if we are going to have change that we need to do it through economic empowerment. We picked McKissack and McKissack because I know I can count on that company to make sure that the extra effort is done to involve small minority contractors and also minority workers on the job. We’re going to make sure that this is a transformational opportunity.”
The Peebles Corporation oversees a national real estate portfolio of luxury hotels, high rise residential and Class A commercial properties and developments in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Peebles is regarded as one of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs. He sealed his first major real estate deal at the age of 26 and became a multimillionaire. In 1996, Peebles won the rights to develop the Royal Palm Hotel on South Beach, making it the first 100 percent African-American owned and developed luxury resort in the country.
The Peebles Corporation and P&A Associates were selected from three finalist proposals in a competitive selection process. Their proposal was based on a series of criteria that included from three finalist proposals in a public and competitive selection process. Their proposal was selected based on a series of criteria that included: a superior proposal from a highly experienced national and local development team; a best-in-class hotel operating partner; a sensitive approach to the historic preservation of this iconic building’s interiors and exterior façade; strong inclusion of minority participation in the ownership and development of the project; and the most feasible overall operating and financing plan.
P&A Associates is a full service real estate development company founded in 1984 by Alan E. Casnoff and Peter L. Shaw. The company has developed several historic rehabilitations.
The development team will acquire the building at 1801 Vine Street through the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development for $4.5 million.
“As a team, the Peebles Corporation and P&A Associates combine extensive national and local experience with historic renovations and major commercial developments,” said John Grady, president of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. “Add to that a top-quality hotel operator like Kimpton, with a proven track record of success in Philadelphia and the result is an ideal partnership to develop a hotel destination that will represent a great new addition to Center City and the Parkway and provide for a terrific reuse of the historic Family Court property.”
Officials said the redevelopment of the Family Court Building will significantly enhance the Parkway Museums District, generate new tax revenues and continue to momentum of new commercial and institutional development activity along Vine Street. Later this year, the Family Court will relocate to a new facility currently under construction at 15th and Arch streets.
The development will mark the city’s third Kimpton Hotel. The other Philadelphia-based establishments include the Hotel Monaco located at the former Lafayette Building and the Hotel Palomar in the former Architects Building.
“We are excited to be teaming up with Peebles and P&A Associates on this exciting new project in Philadelphia,” said Nick Gregory of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. “Our existing properties in the city have proven to be extremely successful and we look forward to this next opportunity to create a unique and dynamic experience for visitors to one of the world’s greatest cultural corridors.
Based in San Francisco, Kimpton currently operates 60 hotels and nearly 70 restaurants, bars and lounges in 26 cites.
Four young entrepreneurs received a rare opportunity to display their wares at the Philadelphia International Airport.
On Friday, the teens participated in youth entrepreneurship day, an initiative between The Enterprise Center (TEC) and MarketPlace Philadelphia Management, which manages the airport’s retail programs.
The teens set up shop at a kiosk in the airport’s B/C Connector food court where they took on the role of owner and operator for a day. They were excited to have their wares ranging from women’s accessories to T-shirts and baked goods on display in the bustling food court. The teens are a part of TEC’s Leaders About Business program.
“It’s important for youth to learn about entrepreneurship because there are so many different avenues for career choices. Having the kids come out to the airport gives them an opportunity to be able to experience selling their products in a real time atmosphere,” said Malyka Sankofa, TEC Leaders About Business program director.
Since 1997, TEC’s Leaders About Business program has provided young people a forum to explore entrepreneurship, develop leadership skills and serve their communities as they create viable career options for the future. Students who tap into the program develop leadership skills, learn about financial literacy and how to develop a business plan.
The students who participated in the youth entrepreneur day at the airport were chosen because of the acumen they displayed during a business plan competition held at the TEC.
Zenobia Barnes, CEO of Simply Natural by Zaria Fragrance was able to display her line of shea butters and soaps that come in a range of scents such as ginger peach, lemon grass, pink sugar and aloe vera oatmeal. Barnes, 15, who is a student at Franklin Learning Center High, credits TEC with assisting in her business aspirations.
“Ever since I was younger I wanted to own my own business and this program has helped me fulfill my own dreams,” Barnes said.
She shared one side of the kiosk with Fredrique Bingley, CEO of Bingley Inc., an accessory business. Bingley, a 16-year-old who attends Parkway West High School, said her love for accessorizing led her launch a business that offers handbags, wallets and scarves. While Bingley showcased her wares at different events and online, she appreciated the exposure vending at the airport provided. Bingley started her venture two years ago and now plans to expand by adding jewelry and women’s jackets to the mix.
The other side of the kiosk offered Jay’s Comfort Cookies and Philly’s Own T-shirts.
Sajan Patel, CEO of Philly’s Own, said he developed his T-shirt line as a way to highlight the positive aspects of Philadelphia. Patel’s line of black T-shirts features the city’s skyline and Liberty Bell. He said Philadelphia’s positive attributes are often overshadowed the violence that takes place in the city.
“Philly’s Own represents Philadelphia in a better light by spreading the good word and the good things about Philadelphia,” Patel, a 16-year-old who attends MaST Community Charter High, said of his brand.
Jerron Corley, CEO of Jay’s Comfort Cookies, was on hand to cater to those with a sweet tooth. Corley, who is a baker, had his chocolate chip cookies on display. Shoppers were able to purchase the cookies individually or in decorative holiday tins. The 17-year-old is a student at Parkway West High School.
Mel Hannah, vice president and general manager, MarketPlace Philadelphia Management said he was impressed with the young entrepreneurs.
“The MarketPlace has been working with The Enterprise Center for many years and the youth entrepreneurship program is something that we are really excited about,” said Hannah.
“We just thought that it would be a really good opportunity to actually have them come out and sell their products at the airport in a real retail environment to give them the experience on how life can be and to give them the experience to be around other retailers. I’m really excited about the energy that they have and the confidence that they have in themselves and their products.”
While Friday marked the first time that youth entrepreneurs from The Enterprise Center were able to sell their goods at an airport kiosk, Hannah anticipates expanding the program beyond just one day.
George A. Johnson was an executive chef and educator.
Johnson died on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. He was 90.
He was born on Jan. 8, 1924 to Florence and Abraham Johnson in Hampton, Va. He attended Haverford High School in Haverford where he was a lettered athlete in football, basketball and track. After graduation he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marines and served in World War II.
Johnson experienced many career highlights throughout his life, including a short stint in the Negro Baseball League. In his early work, he excelled as an executive chef for several fine restaurants in the Greater Philadelphia area. Known by his friends and colleagues as “Big George,” Johnson graduated from Temple University mid-career and parlayed his skills into a 30-year stint as a restaurant practices teacher for the School District of Philadelphia.
He also championed catering teams for many of the finest special events in the city. His business aptitude, advocacy for equal rights and willingness to help others earned him an influential position as the first African American loan counselor for the Philadelphia Teacher’s Credit Union.
Johnson was a sportsman who spent each autumn and winter hunting deer, pheasant, rabbit and squirrel and cooking them into gourmet meals for friends and family. In the summer he fished from his own or a friend’s boat and transformed the catch into seafood feasts. He also studied aviation and enjoyed piloting short trips.
Johnson belonged to the Del Val Golf Club and won numerous trophies while competing in tournaments throughout the United States. He also belonged to The Men, a social club of professional gentlemen and the St. Thomas African Episcopal Church men’s fellowship.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years Jessie Burgess Johnson; daughters Phyllis Johnson Goodman and Imani Constance Johnson-Burnett; grandchildren Honor Goodman Byrd, Chad Goodman, Janinah Burnett and Maury Burnett; great-grandchildren Lilly Byrd, Ella Byrd and Eduardo Burnett; brother Abe Johnson; sisters-in-law Bettye Johnson and Ann Johnson; brother-in-law Fred Burgess; nieces and nephews Pat Canson, Hugh Smith, Kimberly Johnson, Kraig Johnson, Konrad Johnson, Kelly Stokes, Kimberly Brown and other relatives and friends.
“George’s legacy bears witness to the breadth of his power and the depth of his compassion. He leaves us with the memory of a true hero and our own personal inheritance of confidence, pride, audacity, strength and eternal love — the everlasting gifts of an exemplary husband, father, relative and friend,” his family said.
A memorial service will be held on Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. at The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Ave.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.