Rose J. Segars, beautician, church leader

Posted: November 23, 2012

Rose J. Segars, 89, a beautician and Christian church leader, died of natural causes at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Born in Phoenixville, the youngest of six children, Mrs. Segars was educated in Phoenixville and Darby Borough. She graduated from Phoenixville High School in 1941 and lived most of her life in Darby.

She graduated from Apex Beauty School on South Broad Street in Philadelphia as a licensed beautician.

She was an entrepreneur, operating Rose's Beauty Box on Summit Street in Darby for a number of years. Then she set up a beauty shop in the basement of her home, catering to customers from Darby, Morton, Philadelphia, Chester, Exton, Pottstown, and Phoenixville.

She officially retired in 2002 after 60 years in the beauty business, but until illness slowed her in 2009, she served a few longtime customers, said a close friend, Dorothy Clark.

"She loved doing it," Clark said.

Mrs. Segars, known as "Reverend," did not attend divinity school. Instead, she graduated in 1975 with a certificate from Gospel Crusade Bible School in Philadelphia, pursuing a devotion to Christian faith she had felt from an early age.

As a teenager, she joined Grimes A.M.E. Church in Phoenixville; she felt called to preach at age 25 and delivered her first sermon in 1948 at Union Memorial Methodist Church in Darby.

An important part of her religious life was "helping pastors win souls for God," according to friends. She would help build one church's ministry, then move on to the next.

In 1972, she joined the Progressive Institutional Baptist Church in South Philadelphia, and soon became an assistant pastor under her husband, Charles Arlington Segars, and later under the Rev. Joe N. Mallory.

She and Charles Segars married in April 1943. Over the years, the two took into their home those who had fallen on hard times. Some stayed for months; one stayed for 15 years, Clark said.

Angela Carter moved in with Mrs. Segars in 2006, after Carter's husband died.

"She had emotionally ill people here. She would take in the sick until they got back on their feet," Carter said. "She would cook the meals and just take care of you, and not look for anything in return."

Called "Mom" and "Grandmom" by many, she continued to preach the gospel and show kindness to strangers until her death, her friends said.

Mrs. Segars traveled widely and loved to study acting, Carter said.

Surviving are three nephews and nieces. Her husband died in 1989.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at the Progressive Worship Center, 1140-46 S. 26th St., Philadelphia. A viewing from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, will be followed by a 9 a.m. funeral. Interment will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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