Linwood Mclahan, Ex-officer, Volunteer

Posted: November 02, 1994

Linwood J. "Mack" McLahan, a retired Philadelphia police officer, businessman and community youth volunteer, died of cancer Friday. He was 52 and lived in West Mount Airy. McLahan served on the police force for 23 years, retiring on disability last September. For the past 12 years he had worked in the Detention Unit at the Police Administration Building. He previously had been assigned to the 22nd, 25th and 17th districts.

He was also an entrepreneur. Sixteen years ago he bought a coin-operated laundry and within a few years had five of them, mostly in North Philadelphia.

At the time of his death, McLahan was an adviser to Alpha Phi Beta, a fraternity for high school-age youth. He had been a member when he attended St. Thomas More High School but the organization became inactive. About five years ago at a class reunion, McLahan and a few others decided to reactivate it.

When McLahan was in his early 20s, he organized a neighborhood football team - the "Green Devils" - and collected money from businesses in the area to buy jerseys and equipment.

"He would take some of our own money to have a banquet and buy trophies. He did that for several years," said his wife of 30 years, the former Brenda Chambers.

"He wanted to be a positive influence for young men to go to school and be involved in positive activities. Sometimes they would just call and talk to him. He was able to communicate with young people."

He could communicate with anyone as Brenda found out when she was in her teens.

"He's the only man who has ever been in my life," she said.

They were 14 and 15 when they met at a mutual friend's house in the neighborhood and he fell for her right away.

"I really didn't like him much at first. He was a little on the loud side and I'm quiet," she said, "but he won me over in December 1957 and we started going steady. We've been a couple ever since."

He was a presence in any gathering and loved to have people over to his home. He had a 100-inch TV projection screen and hosted Superbowl parties. People always liked his humor.

"He could be impish at times," his wife said with a laugh. "He would warm up my side of the bed and then move because he knew I didn't like to get into a warm bed."

McLahan was raised in West Philadelphia. After graduating from St. Thomas More, he worked for the Postal Service before joining the police force.

He went to school at nights and received a degree from St. Joseph's University.

Last May, McLahan was able to see his son, Craig McLahan, graduate with a degree from Cornell University.

He was diagnosed last December and was due to go into the hospital the day after Labor Day. Brenda McLahan said he refused to cancel the cookout he had planned. She said he told her he didn't think he would get another chance to ''do this for our friends."

"He loved to have people over and see them eat and have a good time," she said. "He cooked 45 pounds of ribs for 55 people. We just had a ball . . . He was the love of my life."

McLahan was a member of St. Madeleine Sophie Roman Catholic Church and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He was a Shriner and 32nd Degree Mason.

There were no other immediate survivors.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Madeleine Sophie Church, 6440 Green St., where friends may call two hours before the service. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Avenue above Easton Road, Cheltenham.


William H. "Bill" Muldowney, a retired longshoreman and devoted sports fan, died Sunday. He was 59 and lived in Yeadon.

Muldowney had worked on the Philadelphia waterfront from 1959 until last January when he retired. Originally from 2nd Street in South Philadelphia, he lived in Yeadon since the mid-1970s. Muldowney was a graduate of South Catholic High School.

"He was always smiling, always happy. He treated everybody the same whether they were a millionare or a person off the street. He'd smile and have a beer with them and talk to them like they were his best friend," said Robert "Bobby" Muldowney, a brother.

"He was very proud of being Irish and very proud to be a union member," his brother said.

"He was always there when you needed him," said Colleen Muldowney Copeland, his daughter.

An avid sports fan, Muldowney had been a season ticketholder to Sixers' games since 1975 and held season tickets for the Eagles since the 1950s. He was also a strong fan of the Phillies. He had served in the Army Reserve.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Niblow; a daughter, Colleen Muldowney Copeland; a grandson, Kevin William; two other brothers, James and John, and a sister, Nanci Fitzpatrick.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church, 3rd and Wolf streets. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Avenue above Easton Road, Cheltenham.

Friends may call between 7 and 9 tonight night at the Murphy-Ruffenach Funeral Home, 3rd and Wolf streets.


Nathaniel M. "Nate" Croston Jr., a programs analyst for Bell Atlantic, died of cancer Sunday. He was 45 and lived in East Mount Airy.

Croston had worked for Bell for 27 years and was at its facility at 18th and Arch streets when he left on sick leave a year ago. "He had a great sense of humor and was a devoted husband and father and grandfather, a real family man," said his wife of 24 years, the former Joanne Stokes. "He was liked by everyone. He liked his job and they loved him there."

His mother-in-law, Mabel Stokes, added, "I could not have hand-picked a better son-in-law."

Croston enjoyed dressing up in clown costumes and visiting children at area hospitals.

Raised in Germantown, he was a graduate of Germantown High School and attended Coombs College of Music. He was a member of the Sunday School, the Men's Club and the Parking Lot Security Team at Grace Baptist Church. Croston was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.

Survivors also include a daughter, Kim; a son, Nate; his mother, Isabelle Croston; five brothers, Cordell, Stephen, Paul, Jerrick and Mark; three sisters, Valerie, Deborah and Pamela, and a granddaughter, Brianna Coston.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Grace Baptist Church, 25 W. Johnson St., where friends may call two hours before the services. Burial will be in Ivy Hill Cemetery, Woolston Road and Wadsworth Avenue.


Edward G. Guetens Sr., a retired shipyard worker, died Monday. He was 83 and lived in Gloucester City, N.J.

Guetens had worked at New York Ship Yard in Camden and was a member of Boilermaker's Union Local 801. He was originally from Runnemede, N.J. He was a member of the Gloucester City Senior Citizens Club.

Survivors include his wife, the former Matilda M. Szychowski; two sons, Edward G. Jr. and Ronald M.; a daughter, Kathy Eckels, and six grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Gardner Funeral Home, 126 S. Black Horse Pike, Runnemede, where friends may call 90 minutes before the services. Burial will be in Chews Methodist Cemetery in Glendora, N.J.

Contributions may be made to Chews United Methodist Church, 319 Black Horse Pike, P.O. Box 152, Glendora, N.J. 08029.


Elder Elisha Frison, founding pastor of Macedonia Church of God in Christ, died Saturday of cancer. He was 64 and lived in Millington, Md.

Formerly of North Philadelphia, Frison worked for the Department of Sanitation from 1967 to 1987. He was ordained an elder in the church in 1964. His first pastoral assignment was at Antioch Church of God in Christ where he served for one year.

In 1965, Frison founded Macedonia Church of God in Christ where he served for 14 years. He also served as superintendent of the Schuylkill Valley District of the church. Before working for the city he had worked for the Kaplan New Model Baking Co. in Philadelphia.

Survivors include his wife, Louise Frison; four sons, Elisha Jerome, Elder Gregory, Deacon Andre and Elder Leon; a daughter, Rozella Frison; two brothers, George and Roosevelt; a sister, Josephine Frison, and four grandchildren.

Services will be at 8 tonight at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, 60th and Callowhill streets, where friends may call two hours before the services.

A second service will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Asbury United Methodist Church in Chesterville, Md., where friends may call two hours before the service. Burial will be in Asbury United Methodist Church Cemetery.


Services were held Monday for Theresa Blair Smykal, formerly of South Philadelphia, who died Oct. 18. She was 73 and lived in San Diego, Calif.

Smykal had worked as a civilian employee for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Frankford Arsenal. She was a 1938 graduate of Bok Vocational-Technical High School.

Survivors include two daughters, Angelina and Sophia; seven sons, Shernon, Eric, Carl, Barry, Vincent, Dominic and Mark; her father, Abraham Turner, 21 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and a number of brothers and sisters.

Services were held at Mount Moriah Temple Baptist Church. Burial was in Mount Moriah Cemetery, 62nd Street and Kingsessing Avenue.


Pat Bruno "Tony" Sama, who sang and played guitar with Frankie Avalon during the early 1950s, died Saturday. He was 60.

Sama, who spent most of his life in South Philadelphia and had lived in Northeast Philadelphia since 1975, played with Avalon at South Philadelphia High School.

He performed with small groups during his early career, playing at clubs and dances in the Delaware Valley and in and around St. Louis and Chicago. In his later years, he performed as a solo act, singing and playing ballads and popular songs.

Sama began playing the guitar and singing when he was 14. He joined Avalon's band when he was 16. He served in the Army during the Korean War.

Survivors include his sister, Kathleen Sama-Theuer; a niece and nephew.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Katherine of Sienna Church, Frankford and Grant avenues. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham.

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