Frederick E. Miller Sr. was a noted businessman, community leader and educator.
Miller died on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. He was 82.
He was born on Jan. 28, 1931 to the late Robert and Maude Miller. Miller came from a long line of ministers, deacons and elders. He was baptized at an early age at Second Baptist Church, in Paulsboro, N.J. and upon moving to Philadelphia, he joined Zion Baptist Church where he became a deacon, treasurer and an honorary elder.
Miller graduated with honors from Paulsboro High, where he excelled in both football and basketball earning a scholarship to the College of South Jersey, now known as Rutgers University where he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics. He continued his education at Temple University where he earned a master’s degree and completed doctoral studies in educational psychology and administration. After a career change he earned a MBA from American Graduate University.
For five years, he was married to his high school sweetheart Elaine Moore. Two sons were born to this union. He later married his soul mate Mae Jean Reid. Two daughters were born to their union. Jan. 24 marks the couple’s 55th wedding anniversary.
Miller’s expansive career encompassed professional education, management, business and economic development, investment strategy, capital formation and corporate management.
His educational career included teaching elementary, secondary and special education for School District of Philadelphia. He was an instructor at Temple University and a supervisor of teacher training.
The Rev. Leon Sullivan chose him to become an integral part of the OIC movement in its infancy. Miller was the first director of the Philadelphia OIC Feeder Program and went on to become the CEO of OICs of America.
After that, Miller became president and CEO of Progress Investment Associates Inc. Progress Investment Associates received national recognition as one of America’s top 100 companies in the Black Enterprise 100 listing.
Miller embraced his entrepreneurial endeavors and founded Fred Miller Pontiac. He subsequently became finance director of the Philadelphia Port Corporation. He later opened the following retail establishments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey: West Stock Inc., Franklintown Beverage Dist. Inc. and One O Six Delsea Inc. Throughout his life, he was also an avid real estate investor.
Miller chaired various boards including the Berean Federal Savings Bank, Greater Philadelphia Venture Capital Corporation and West Philadelphia Branch of the YMCA. He also served on the boards of the Metropolitan YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity and AAA Mid-Atlantic.
He was the recipient of several honors and awards including the Business Leadership Award- Philadelphia Frontiers International; NABM membership achievement; “Living Legends in Black” Smithsonian Institute; Who’s Who Among Black Americans; The Ebony Success Library: Citation; Black Enterprise Magazine; Major Achievement Recognition; Philly Talk Magazine: Major Achievement Award and the HUD Meritorious Achievement Award. He also received the Leadership Growth and Development — OIC Movement Award and Chapel of Four Chaplains’ Award- Service to all People.
Miller was affiliated with the White House Conference on Small Business, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Black Manufacturers; Small Business Administration Advisory Council and the American Association of Minority Financial Institutions.
He also served as president of Frontiers International; director of Philadelphia Drama Guild, president VIRI Virginiti Club of Philadelphia and the board of deacons, Zion Baptist Church. He was also a member of the NAACP and the Rutgers and Temple Alumni Association.
Miller’s hobbies included traveling, sports, reading and watching the History and Discovery channels. He enjoyed entertaining his family and friends in his home in Philadelphia and his summer residence on the beach in Ventnor, N.J.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Bobby and daughter Felicia.
In addition to his wife, Miller is survived by his sons Fred Jr. and Darryl; daughter Catheleen; grandchildren Yanina, Sommer, Crystal, Kevin, Paul Jr. and Chase; great-grandchildren Dominique, James, Autumn, Jordan, Caylin.; brother/sister in-laws Paul, Barbara, Gloria, Fred, Grace; nieces/nephews Robbie, Paula, Iris, Baranda, Timothy, Valerie and Jacqueline and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 28 at Zion Baptist Church, 3600 Broad St. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.
Vashtie J. Pounds was a deaconess at Thankful Baptist Church.
Pounds died on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. She was 78.
She was born Oct. 20, 1935 to the late Sarah Jefferson and Collins Jefferson in Cheraw, Chesterfield County, S.C.
She was educated in the Chesterfield County public school system. She graduated from Gary High School in 1957. The same year she relocated to Philadelphia, where she lived with her late uncle Daniel Redfern and late cousin Vera Redfern Logan.
Pounds began her career by enrolling in a nursing program at Methodist Hospital. She worked at the Masonic Nursing Home for more than 40 years.
She joined the Thankful Baptist Church and remained a faithful member for 57 years. She served on the Cooking Ministry and the Young Adult Usher Board. She also served as the church’s correspondence secretary.
She married Oscar E. Pounds on Aug. 25, 1962. The couple was married for 51 years.
Her family said she had a fun-filled life. She traveled all over the country. Her hobbies included cooking, shopping and watching soap operas, basketball and football.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughter Cathy Lynne Pounds; granddaughters Janaye Lyn Thompson, Taiylor Janelle Thompson and Daiyanna Mone’t Moore; great-grandson Kaidyn Elijah Noville; brother Sanko Jefferson (Mamie) and sister Dorothy Jackson both of Charlotte, N.C. and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 31 at Thankful Baptist Church, 1608 W. Allegheny Ave. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Jacquelynne C. Stewart Benton, also known as “Jacquie” was a chemist and equal employment opportunity representative.
She died on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. She was 86.
She was born Aug. 20, 1927 to the late Horace and Ida Stewart in Penllyn. She was educated at Penllyn School and graduated valedictorian from her eighth grade class. While attending Ambler High School, Benton was one of only three Black members on the school’s hockey team.
After graduating from Ambler High School in 1945, she attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics.
Along with working on her degree, Benton studied Catholicism and obtained a pilot’s license. She had the privilege of receiving instructions from two Tuskegee Airmen — Jimmy Taylor and Cecil Ryan.
She graduated from Fisk University in 1949 and returned to Penllyn.
She married James R. Benton on June 11, 1950. Their union was blessed with three sons. They were married for 63 years until he died in November 2013.
Benton worked for Rohm and Haas, Quarter Masters, and Contracting and Compliance in the capacities of chemist and equal employment opportunity representative.
Benton loved to travel and vacationed in domestic and international locations, citing Rio de Janeiro as her favorite destination. She sometimes incorporated vacation with her favorite social past time of bowling.
Benton was an avid bowler from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, participating in weekly leagues and tournaments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She received more than 200 bowling trophies and awards and introduced bowling to all of her sons.
She and her husband possessed a passion for Pinochle. Every Friday night, a Pinochle game was hosted at the Benton household.
Her family said she was blessed with a giving spirit. She would buy items and send people cards and money for birthdays, holidays and graduations. She also donated funds for an office suite in the New Family Life Center at Salem Baptist Church.
She was preceded in death by her son Jeffrey Benton.
She is survived by her sons James Benton Jr. (Tina Marie); Jonathan Benton (Dorothy); brothers–in-law William Benton (Beverly) of Virginia; Richard “Sonny” Benton (Robin) of Memphis; sisters-in-law Brenda Gardner (James), Therese Turner (Woody), Catherine Stewart and Margaret Stewart; sister Alicia “Bumpsy” Mahoney (John); godchild Therese Strickland (Phil) of Colorado; grandchildren Alana Benton, Jonathan Benton II, Leah Benton, Amy Antone, Claudia Coley and Dolphin Coley (Alisha); great-grandchildren Ajani Adover, Kiana Benton, Dru Alvarez, Dahmir Coley, Amaia Coley, Nile Coley and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. at Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, 610 Summit Avenue, Jenkintown.
Services will be held Jan. 24 for Curvin Green, also known as “Bruce.”
Green died on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. He was 55.
He was born Feb. 12, 1958 to the late Eudella Green and William Smith.
Green was educated in the School District of Philadelphia. He graduated from W.B. Saul High School. He was raised in South Philadelphia on 4th and Reed streets.
Green was employed in the cleaning and security industries. For three years, he worked for the school board. His last job was at Oaks Pharmacy until his health failed.
His hobbies included bowling and wrestling. Green enjoyed watching the Philadelphia Eagles and traveling. He traveled to New York, Bahamas, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Wyoming and Canada.
“He was a very fun, friendly, warm and generous person,” his family said.
“He enjoyed making people laugh — a jokester to the end.”
He was cared for by his cousin, Sonya Burnett, for many years.
He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Alberta “Mother” Fortiene. His favorite childhood memory was visiting his grandmother in West Philadelphia because she always made special time to be there for him.
He is survived by his sister Arraina Green-Patterson; brother-in-law George Patterson, Jr.; nephews Rasheen Green and Rashad Patterson; nieces Lasheena Green, Lashan Marshall and Michel’le Patterson; uncles Rayford Green, Gerald and Alexander; aunts Hattie Siler, Libby Green and Nobelene Whitehead; great-nieces Kayla Green and Journei Green and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 24 at Slater Funeral Home, 1426 Fitzwater St. Viewing is at 7 p.m. Services will follow at 8 p.m. Burial is private.
Cecelia M. Leach was active in the community.
She died on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. She was 49.
She was born Feb. 17, 1964 to the late Hubert A Leach, Jr. and Mary Frances Merrick in Philadelphia. She was the fourth of five children.
Leach was educated in the School District of Philadelphia, graduating from University City High School in 1982. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and attended the Community College of Philadelphia where she participated in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital School-to-Work Program majoring in allied health and nursing. She worked at the University of Pennsylvania and other organizations throughout the city of Philadelphia where she touched and impacted many lives.
“She was known for her friendliness and impeccable organizational and administrative skills. She liked to have everything in perfect order. She was known for being meticulous,” her family said.
In 1973, Leach was baptized at the family church home, White Rock Baptist Church, under the pastorate of the Rev. William J. Shaw. She began singing in church as a child and loved to sing on the choir.
Her family said she was known for her beautiful alto voice and loved singing at church, home or family reunions.
She served the Lord faithfully even in sickness whether singing, working with the youth and children or working in the kitchen at the church. Her family said she enjoyed making people laugh and loved serving others. She loved to dance and served as a dance instructor for many years.
Leach enjoyed coordinating and teaching the family line dances during the Merrick family gatherings. She knew the importance of family and made every effort to bring family together and attend family events no matter how she was feeling.
Leach was affiliated with the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure. She also served as a Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative ambassador, American Red Cross VIP donor member, block captain for the 5200 block of Sansom Street and Boy Scout parent volunteer.
She is remembered by her family and friends as a strong-minded, meticulous, fun-loving and very personable person.
In addition to her mother, she is survived by her son Khalif A. Leach; sisters Celesta Leach Parnell and Mary Leach-Green; brothers H. Allen Leach and Jeffery Leach; brothers-in-law Walter Green and John Parnell; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Jan. 18 at White Rock Baptist Church, 5240 Chestnut St. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is private.