Alexia I. Hudson and Linton H. Ward exchanged wedding vows on July 20 in a beautiful ceremony at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, USVI. Minister William L. Arnet of St. Thomas officiated at the ceremony in a garden gazebo on the breathtaking Caribbean oceanfront.
Alexia’s mother, Hattie Hudson James, lovingly gave the bride away. The stunning bride wore an antique white bias-cut silk sheath gown by Philadelphia designer Nicole Miller. The gown featured an asymmetrical neckline. White beaded straps accenting the back profile and a petite train with a draped ruffle were elegant. Alexia’s bouquet was a blend of blush-colored standard roses, white calla lilies, white avalanche roses and white stephanotis. Pavé rhinestone jewels and white pearl inserts accentuated her bouquet.
The Rev. Phaedra Blocker of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia served as the couple’s spiritual consultant and conducted the wedding closing prayer.
Alexia, 41, is the daughter of Hattie Hudson James and the late Alexander Hudson. She is a native of Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s in English literature and African-American studies from Temple University and a master’s in library and information sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a tenured associate librarian at Penn State University Abington branch and was recently elected to the national executive board of the American Library Association. Alexia is a former entertainment writer for The Philadelphia Tribune. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., The Junior League of Philadelphia and The Links Inc., Philadelphia Chapter.
Linton H. Ward, 41, is also from Philadelphia. He is the eldest son of Maxine Ward and the late Linton Ward. His stepfather is the late James Brown. Linton is currently the toll operations manager for PRWT in Philadelphia. He is passionate about baseball, fine dining, good beer and laughing with friends. Linton was strongly influenced to be the responsible, well rounded man that he is by his father and stepfather as well as two uncles, Eugene Solomon and Herbert Alexander.
The Wedding Party
Monica Lester Thomas, Alexia’s sister, was her matron of honor. David Ward, the groom’s brother, and stepbrother, Terrill Brown, were best men. The groom’s mother was escorted by the groom’s son, Linton R.C. Ward.
Alexia and Linton hosted a series of destination wedding weekend events in St. Thomas. The couple humorously nicknamed their wedding weekend “The buddy-moon.” A joyous welcome reception and cocktail party took place at Havana Blue Restaurant on the eve of their wedding day.
Following the wedding ceremony, guests were transported to the Oceana Restaurant for a four-course reception dinner that included luscious wedding cupcakes for dessert. Later that evening the couple hosted an enjoyable champagne toast and cake-cutting party in their suite at the Frenchman’s Reef.
How They Met
Alexia and Linton met in 1989 at a party as students at Temple University. They were introduced by a mutual friend, Terry Alford. “Sparks flew, but not of the romantic sort. We just really liked each other a lot,” said Alexia. “We were platonic friends until an inexplicable shift in our relationship took place in 2007 when we developed romantic feelings about each other. Although we were concerned about risking our good friendship by starting to date, we decided to take a leap of faith and begin dating.”
Linton thought he had it all worked out. He planned an amazing dinner date with Alexia at XIX. He suggested that they would walk a few blocks to the Ritz Carlton Hotel for after-dinner cocktails and dessert. During the walk, he planned to escort Alexia to The Academy of Music where they had shared many wonderful musical memories. Linton would pretend to be interested in peering into the doors and then he would drop to one knee and propose.
Unfortunately, his plan was altered. The night of the proposal, Dec. 23, 2009, was one of the coldest in the history of Philadelphia. High winds and minus-degree wind chills whipped through the city. Thinking quickly, Linton ushered Alexia into the car and drove to the Ritz Carlton. While they sat in the lounge area and enjoyed cocktails, Linton presented Alexia with a beautiful engagement ring. Alexia cried as Linton asked her to be his wife. The newly engaged couple shared their happy news with family and close friends via text messaging, phone calls and Facebook.
“We felt extraordinarily blessed to be surrounded by the love of our family and friends who traveled so far to celebrate our special day. Many weddings encounter several unforeseen challenges and ours was no exception. Inclement weather delayed some of our guests’ flights coming into St. Thomas and forced us to make the tough decision to secure an indoor alternate location for the wedding.
The good news was that approximately 40 minutes before the ceremony, the rain stopped and we were able to have the wedding outdoors as originally planned. Our delayed guests were present for the wedding and smiling. The other great blessing is that as we were pronounced husband and wife, the sun shone upon us brightly as if God was displaying his favor with our union. Everything truly worked out in the end,” said Alexia.
“As we reflect back on our relationship today, we know that God is God all by himself. We had no idea that our first dance as teenagers would lead to a nearly 25-year friendship that would later blossom into today’s love story. Over the years, we shared a transparency that few relationships enjoy. We have celebrated our individual victories and supported each other during difficult periods. We now know this was all in God’s plan in allowing us to grow up and grow together with the strong foundation of friendship.”
Alexia and Linton agreed upon important decisions about their wedding day early on. They selected St. Thomas for their destination wedding, created fun activities and selected delicious food that would capture the essence of the beautiful island. They chose the starfish, which symbolizes divine love, as their wedding motif and found a special way to remember their deceased loved ones during the wedding ceremony.
The couple created a gorgeous wedding ceremony “memory chair.” It was adorned with two white roses placed on the seat in remembrance of loved ones gone, but not forgotten.
Alexia and Linton opted out of a traditional “honeymoon” and had a “buddy-moon” instead. They included everyone in a fun-filled weekend celebration in St. Thomas at The Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort.
The day after the wedding, Linton took one group on a tour of St. John. Alexia relaxed on the hotel’s beach and by the pools with another group. They also hosted a large, group sit-down dinner.
“The most enjoyable thing about our “buddy-moon” was that the guests really enjoyed each other’s company. New friendships were formed that I believe will last a lifetime. A few people have asked Linton and me to renew our vows next summer so that we can have the buddy-moon sequel.”
Thirty-three guests traveled to St. Thomas to enjoy Alexia’s and Linton’s wedding weekend from as far as Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. Guests included Terry Alford, Eugene Solomon and Willie Johnson, who accompanied Phyllis Lawrence.
Other friends and family members enjoying the wedding celebration were: Marcia Brown, Yvonne Cowser Yancy, Marva Lisa Scott, Catherine Broach Peabody, Donnell Sheppard and Leah Sheppard, Valerie Kersey Dobson, Carolyn Blocker, Joseph Thomas, Courtney Young, Miles Henry, Frank Minutello and Alice Chapman-Minutello, Robert Clegg and Lillian Clegg, David Harper and Karen Harper, Rhonda Clinton and Mozelle Clinton-Butts.
Congratulations, and very best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Linton H. Ward!
The loving couple was joined by 300 family members and friends for the gala at the Normandy Farm Hotel in Blue Bell. The love and respect of their children was evident in the beautiful tributes given to the Millers by their son, Troy Miller; daughter, Bonita Haines; grandsons, D’Shawn Haines and Devon Haines; and granddaughters, Angelica Hicks and Angelica Miller.
There were also numerous, heartfelt tributes from friends and spiritual leaders who have known and loved the Millers and their family for many years.
The Millers expressed very loving and touching sentiments about how they feel about each other. Delores said, “When I first met Rube (the name she affectionately calls her husband) I said to myself, ‘Hmmm, he could be a keeper.’ Knowing that approximately 800 miles separated us. I really didn’t want to get too excited about this tall, handsome man. He promised to call me and he kept his word.”
They continued to stay in touch by mail and telephone constantly and after seeing each other four times, they married. “I truly believe we were God’s choice for one another,” Delores said.
She continued, “I can’t believe we have been married for 50 years. There is a saying, ‘Time waits for no one.’ How true! It has been a good marriage. Of course we haven’t agreed on everything but we learned to disagree, compromise and continue to love one another. I believe in the Scripture that says, ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall bring it to pass.’ For the time we have left together, I will continue to love you with all my heart and do everything I can to make you happy.”
Rube reflects upon his deep love for his wife and recalls his wedding day vividly. “To God be the glory for the great things he has done! I had not the slightest inkling when I awoke in September 1961 that I would begin the first day of the rest of my life; the day when God would allow our paths to cross for the first time and Delores and I would commence a love relationship that has flourished for half a century.
“Our wedding day, Saturday, August 19, 1962, was a sweltering, humid day when my five groomsmen and I left Philadelphia unprepared for even hotter weather when we arrived in Chicago. I survived the ceremony. I do recall my late brother Vince, taking his handkerchief and wiping the perspiration from my brow as I waited for Delores to enter the sanctuary. When she came into view I recall saying to Vince, who was also my best man, how blessed I was that God had given to me his best. Delores was absolutely beautiful in her wedding gown. Our reception was punctuated by our family friend, Wilt Chamberlain, being among our guests. We didn’t mind that Wilt unknowingly stole the spotlight.”
The anniversary program included many wonderful musical selections, heartfelt remarks by individuals who know and love the Millers, and delicious food and beverages. There was also a very special video presentation that captured memories of the Millers’ life together and a clever quiz created to determine which guests knew facts about the couple’s life together.
A host of family members and guests traveled from the bride’s home state of Illinois to honor Mr. and Mrs. Miller. They included Delores’ sisters, Ruth Bratton, Naomi Harris and Esther Henderson; niece, Nanette Holmes; her brother, Frank Rufus; Rube’s nephew, the Rev. Steven Pinkston; and his wife, Lenore, from California.
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Rhubur (Delores) Miller. You are a true inspiration and no one can steal your spotlight!
The legacy of the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan is one that we, as a city and a country, are incredibly proud of. Because of the vision of the pastor of Zion Baptist Church known as “The Lion of Zion,” the great humanitarian and founder of Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc. (OIC); the OIC family celebrated “48 Years of Helping People Help Themselves.” The Black-tie reception and dinner program was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Saturday.
According to the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, “Sullivan founded the very first Opportunities Industrialization Center in 1964. The OIC provided job and life skills training and matched its graduates up with the employment needs of Philadelphia businesses. The undertaking was a huge success, and the programs were replicated in cities across the United States. In 1969, OIC International was created to provide employment-training services on a global scale.”
President and CEO of Philadelphia OIC Inc., Robert “Bob” C. Nelson, said, “The vision, commitment and work of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan continue to impact the lives of people in Philadelphia and throughout the world. We come together each year to acknowledge this history and celebrate the successes of our graduates. Nelson has worked diligently for the organization for more than four decades.
Kristol Bryant, an accomplished chef and graduate of the Philadelphia OIC’s Opportunities Inn Program, was the 2012 ARAMARK/ SFS (Strother’s Food Service) Award recipient. Chef Bryant’s mother, Barbara Bryant, and attendees looked on proudly as David Bianco, ARAMARK general manager and Natasha Strothers, executive vice president of Strothers Food Service, presented her with the award for her distinguished achievements in culinary arts.
Kristol began her professional career began shortly after graduating from William Penn High School in 1997. Initially, she wanted to attend college but the demands of being a young mother made her rethink her goals. In 1999, she was accepted into the OIC Hospitality Inn Program where she felt that she could turn her love of cooking into a career. With determination and talent, Kristol achieved her goal.
She ultimately finished at the top of her class and represented OIC at the “Book and the Cook” Rising Star event, which featured star culinary arts students from Philadelphia.
In the beginning of 2012, she achieved her greatest professional milestone to date when she was named the Chef de Cuisine of the restaurant that she helped open. As Chef de Cuisine of XIX, Kristol handles all the managerial and creative duties of a close to four million dollar a year restaurant in the highly competitive Philadelphia restaurant scene.
The OIC’s Opportunities Inn Program is extraordinarily proud of Kristol, the person and the professional. Kristol is the embodiment of OIC’s mission.
Other highlights of the inspiring, enjoyable evening included a warm welcome and remarks by William Carter III, chairman of the OIC board of directors. Kevin Dow, chief operating officer of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce offered best wishes and support of Philadelphia OIC on behalf of Mayor Michael Nutter.
OIC has maintained its effective, institutional presence in Philadelphia with the ongoing support of local businesses, churches, other CBOs and the community-at-large. They are especially appreciative for the funding and support of companies such as PECO, ARAMARK SFS, PRWT, Quality Community Health Services, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.
Bob Nelson shared that OIC wants to expand their board of directors to help meet the challenge of decreases in funding for much needed programs such as OIC.
For more information about Philadelphia OIC, 1231 N. Broad St., and all of its training programs, call (215) 236-7700 or visit www.phildelphiaoic.org.
Congratulations and continued success to the OIC family!
Have a fantastic week “out & about,” everyone!
Grands As Parents, Inc. recently celebrated its 17th Anniversary Awards Luncheon at Temple University’s Diamond Club in North Philadelphia. Each year the organization honors outstanding leaders who have supported their efforts to raise our children in a healthy, loving, constructive environment.
The 2012 Help a Child Keep a Smile Award recipients were state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Sen. Shirley M. Kitchen and William Bergman.
“The dedication that these grandparents have given to these children is inspiring, the work that Grands As Parents does to support these folks is wonderful. It was an extreme honor to receive the Help a Child Keep a Smile Award,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes. “There are very unique and significant challenges that grandparents face as they try to parent young children for a second time, fortunately, organizations such as Grands as Parents are there to provide the critical support these folks need. I will continue to work with Grands as Parents to provide necessary resources to this selfless group of individuals.”
Hughes represents Philadelphia’s Seventh District and serves as Minority Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
Kitchen, who represents Philadelphia’s Third District and has a longstanding relationship with the organization, said, “I was honored to receive the Phenomenal Woman award this year. In many cases, when a grandparent is suddenly faced with raising a grandchild, the financial burden and stress can really wreak havoc. Many grandparents are in their golden years, having raised their own children, and look forward to spending the rest of their days relaxing.
“Grands As Parents is unique in its mission in helping caregivers and families with the resources needed to raise their grandchildren. I applaud all the good work they do on behalf of this special population and I wish Grands As Parents much continued success and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The non-profit organization, founded in 1996 under the leadership of Earnestine McCall and Eileen Brown, president, carries out a vital mission in our community. GAP assists supports and advocates for the rights of grandparents raising grandchildren or other relatives. The 2012 Census shows that grandparents as caregivers has risen alarmingly since 2008.The name of the organization, Grands As Parents, was chosen to signify the way grandparents fill the gaps of parenthood in their grandchildren’s lives.
Brown has raised six grandchildren and is now raising three great-grands. She shares Jean Hackney’s belief that more grandparents would raise their grands, not let them go into the system and provide a loving home with the necessary financial and housing assistance. Both women praised the tireless efforts of Hughes, Kitchen and Bill Bergman of Temple University and the French International School of Philadelphia. Hackney has helped raise a grandson and granddaughter.
GAP Vice President Hackney said, “We are advocating for Senate Bill 119, which supports intergenerational housing, and is sponsored by state Senator Anthony H. Williams and co- sponsored by state Sen. Kitchen. We are most grateful to these leaders for their continued support of our mission.”
“We have two retired gentlemen who help us each and every day. Mr. Thomas Hackney and Mr. Jerry Tinnina are very dedicated to our cause and work with us each and every day as volunteers.” The GAP staff is made up entirely of dedicated volunteers.
“We are fortunate to have others who help to maintain awareness of GAP’s mission such as Delores Sapp from Verizon and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. We are also blessed to have the support of many our state and city elected officials. All of us are fighting for the same thing … those smiles on the faces of our children. The reason we keep fighting so hard is because we want to keep the family unit together as much as possible so that our children will know their family roots,” Brown added.
Grands as Parents (GAP) is located in the African American United Fund Building at 2227 N. Broad St. For more information about volunteering or making a tax deductible contribution, please call (215) 236-5848 or email grandsasparents1@ verizon.net.
Congratulations, and very best wishes to Grands As Parents for continued success.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About.”
Congratulations to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) North Atlantic Region. The nation’s oldest African American Sorority held a “Community Awards Luncheon: Salute to Excellence” at Radisson Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia on Saturday.
“The mission of the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) is to pursue and promote lifelong learning. AKA and EAF recognize that it takes a village to raise a child, and as such it takes more than just the schools and traditional education methods to create a love of lifetime learning,” said Pat Augustus Gilbert.
The “Salute to Excellence” Community Education Awards Luncheon is the initiative of Alpha Kappa Alpha's North Atlantic Regional Director, Constance Pizarro, and brought to fruition by North Atlantic Regional EAF Coordinator, Alicia Tibbs Tolson.
The event is an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge members of the community who have made a positive difference through their contributions to education. The 2012 awardees represented Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
Members, referred to as chapter captains, worked diligently to make this year’s event a huge success under the leadership of the North Atlantic Regional Cluster II EAF Representative, Pat Augustus Gilbert. Ingrid Holmes, Charlene DeShields, Marian Garfield, Stephyne Walker-Hill, Vanessa Thomas Smith, Loretta Rogers and Donna C. Hunt made up this year’s team.
EAF Committee Members who also were vital to the initiative included: Jean A. Greene, Anne Smith, Cheryl Walker Davis, Kimberly Lewis, Carolyn Dozier, Doretha Green and Pasty Pipkin-Perry.
“For more than 102 years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has exhibited a staunch commitment to educational endeavors through an unparalleled focus on philanthropy by its membership. We have awarded more than $1.7 million, since 1980, through the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF), our non-profit organization. EAF allows members, supporters and businesses to make tax-deductible gifts for scholarships and community grants.”
This year’s outstanding awardees included: Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller, the first lady of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia. She is a member of the Church Education Ministry and also serves as board vice president of the Philadelphia Association of Christian Schools. Dr. Waller also serves as a board member of the Philadelphia Mennonite High School.
Other distinguished awardees were: Mr. Eric Jones, Pastor Nathaniel Johnson,
Mr. Reuben Salters, Mr. Daniel Savoy, and Councilman Justen A. Wright of Wilimington, Del.
Augustus Gilbert expressed sincere gratitude to all who attended and participated in this year’s milestone event. “As the Educational Advancement Foundation Representative for Cluster II of the North Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., I am truly pleased to have had such strong support of the Cluster II, "Salute to Excellence Luncheon" We are so happy to be afforded the opportunity to recognize individuals who have made a difference in the lives of youth and created an environment where they can grow and develop a love of life-long learning.”
“Congratulations are extended to our honorees. It is a pleasure to be among such distinguished individuals who believe children are our future and need to be cultivated in order to become contributing citizens of our society. It is also an honor to acknowledge the memory and many contributions of Marva Purnell-Greene who worked tirelessly for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Educational Advancement Foundation. I would like to thank all chapter captains and chapters of the Cluster II Region whose outstanding work ethic made today possible. Special thanks are also extended to Alicia Tibbs Tolson for her continued support,” she added.