Ervinstene Harrell, 68, gender-issues and AIDS counselor

Ervinstene Harrell
Ervinstene Harrell
Posted: July 07, 2013

Ervinstene Harrell, 68, a gender-issues and HIV/AIDS counselor, died Sunday, June 30, of pancreatic cancer at her home in Mount Airy.

Mrs. Harrell was born in Philadelphia and never left.

Her life's work was doing research on adolescents struggling with their sexuality at her alma mater in Wilmington. She worked as a counselor for SILK, a support group for women with identity issues, and provided crisis counseling and HIV/AIDS counseling and intervention services.

She obtained her certification as a counselor from Women Organized Against Rape five years ago and was active with the group.

Mrs. Harrell graduated from Jameson Christian College, Philadelphia, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical theology in 2000 and from Springfield College School of Human Services, Wilmington, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2009.

For the last seven years, she worked as a crisis counselor. Before that, she was office manager for Harris Insurance Services in Philadelphia.

She was a passionate gay-rights advocate and activist. In her spare time, she enjoyed music, dancing, collecting fine art, and volunteering with children.

"She was a lively spirit," said her granddaughter Felicia D. Harris.

Surviving are her life partner, DeBorah Rucker; daughters Chris Harris, Audrey Jones, and Robin Harrell; six grandchildren; and her former husband, George Harrell.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 6, at Emmanuel Johnson Funeral Home, 6653-55 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. Burial is private.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8102 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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