Anthony Womack, a life of service & song

Womack
Womack
Posted: October 24, 2012

TONY WOMACK was a teenager when he started harmonizing with friends on 29th and Dover streets, in North Philadelphia, grouped around a bonfire in winter, belting out popular R&B songs to the appreciation of passers-by.

His parents, including his police-officer father, thought that that was a fine way for Tony and his pals to stay out of trouble.

And it worked. Music, especially gospel, became a vital part of Tony's life.

Anthony LeRoy Womack, who was a tenor with Philadelphia-based gospel groups, including the popular Eugene & the Voices of Glory, and who drove for the Red Cross for 12 years, died of lung cancer Oct. 15. He was 55 and lived in Willow Grove.

A focus of Tony's life was his desire to be of service to people. It was one of the reasons he went to work for the Red Cross and then on to provide security for entities dedicated to helping people.

It was also why he coached basketball, football and boxing at a North Philadelphia recreation center. He felt a need to show youngsters the value of sports as a way to fulfill themselves as citizens.

"He would do anything for anyone," said his wife, the former Kimberly Carey. "If you needed something, he would be there."

Among the challenges that Tony faced was how to live happily with as many as 10 children in a house with one bathroom.

"We finally moved to a house with three bathrooms, and that was a lot better," his wife said.

She had six children when they married in 2010, and he had seven. Not all 13 were present at the same time, but enough were to make a loving but complicated situation. Eight were girls.

"He would say to his son Kevin: 'Come on, let's go to our men's cave and leave these women,' " his wife said. "But he was known for his dedication to his family. He was an amazing father."

Tony was born in North Philadelphia to LeRoy Womack, a Philadelphia police officer, and Evelyn Spearman. He attended John Bartram High School, where he excelled in sports.

While singing in a church choir as a teen, Tony was recruited by the gospel group Resurrected. He and his brother, Rodney, formed and managed another group, the EverReady Gospel Singers.

His favorite song was "Don't Get Left Behind":

I would love to show you

If you'll try to understand

You need someone to lead you

To the heaven in your hands ...

Don't get left behind.

"He was all about giving back," his wife said. "That's why he was a coach. It was why he worked for the Red Cross.

"He was a very special man. He had the best sense of humor. He always tried to make people laugh."

Besides his wife and son Kevin, he is survived by five daughters, Phenise Stanford, Tonisha Womack, Angelique Womack, Pecola Womack and Aigner Womack; another son, James Anthony Davis; three stepdaughters, Krystie Smoot, Kaitlin Yarnall and Alyssa Yarnall; three stepsons, Justin Smoot, Ian Smoot and Kenny Yarnall; and seven grandchildren.

Services: Memorial service 11 a.m. Saturday at Episcopal Church of Our Savior, Homestead and Old York roads, Jenkintown. Eugene & the Voices of Glory will perform.


Contact John F. Morrison at morrisj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5573.

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