Anne Garrott, Y leader

Posted: August 22, 2013

Anne Marquess Garrott, 98, of Langhorne, who helped save the Southwest Belmont YWCA, where she had taught since she was a teenager, died Monday, Aug. 12, at Chandler Hall in Newtown, Bucks County.

Ms. Garrott worked with the YWCA in the Philadelphia region for 65 years, including serving as the first African American executive director of the Bucks County YWCA.

When Ms. Garrott was chair of the board of directors of the Southwest Belmont YWCA, she helped rescue the center from financial collapse.

The YWCA of Philadelphia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the early 1990s, imperiling the local affiliates. But the Southwest Belmont YWCA broke from the national organization, and Ms. Garrott raised the money for the branch to buy its building at 16th and Catharine Streets, which had been constructed in 1922. It is now called the Southwest Belmont Community Association.

"This facility was the heartbeat of the black community in the Philadelphia region," said Francine Cheeks, a board member of the organization. "She always talked about what her responsibility was to maintain that legacy."

The Southwest Belmont YWCA had been part of Ms. Garrott's life since her teens, when she taught swimming and tennis there.

Ms. Garrott moved to Philadelphia when she was 9 from Langston, Okla., where her father was president of Langston University. She grew up in South Philadelphia.

In 1948, she married an Air Force officer, James Garrott. They had met at a USO social in St. Louis, where she had brought young women from the YWCA and he had brought his fellow servicemen.

Ms. Garrott is survived by a nephew and three grandnephews. Her husband preceded her in death.

A viewing will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, 750 S. Broad St. A funeral will follow at 11 a.m.

Contributions may be made to the Anne M. Garrott Leadership Endowment, c/o Southwest Belmont Community Association Inc., Box 27274, Philadelphia 19118.

Contact Theodore Schleifer at 215-854-5607,, or follow @teddyschleifer on Twitter.

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