Vashtie Jefferson Pounds, legendary cook and devoted churchwoman

Posted: January 31, 2014

ONE OF Vashtie Jefferson Pounds' greatest pleasures in life was feeding people.

"She loved to cook and loved to watch you eat," said her husband, Oscar E. Pounds, a retired Greyhound bus driver.

Not only family and friends cherished her cooking, but the parishioners of her church, Thankful Baptist, also enjoyed her culinary skills at many church events.

Her sweet-potato pie was a legend, but so were her pork chops, fried chicken and just about anything you could get onto a stove.

Vashtie Pounds, an ordained deaconess at her church, a 40-year employee of the Masonic Nursing Home, and dedicated traveler, died Jan. 21. She was 78 and lived in Germantown.

"She could be feisty," said her husband of 51 years. "She didn't take any guff. She could cook, fuss and fight."

Vashtie was born in Cheraw, S.C., to Sarah Bittle Jefferson and Collins Jefferson. She graduated from Gary High School in 1957 and the same year moved to Philadelphia. She lived with her uncle Daniel Redfern and cousin, Vera Redfern Logan.

She enrolled in the nursing program at Methodist Hospital, and got the job at the Masonic Home.

She joined Thankful Baptist Church shortly after arriving in Philadelphia and remained a faithful and active member. She served in the Cooking Ministry and the Young Adult Usher Board.

Vashtie, known as "Nana" to family and friends, loved her job as correspondence secretary for the church Deaconess Ministry.

"She had a fun-filled life, traveling all over the country," her family said.

Vashtie also enjoyed shopping, TV soap operas, local basketball and football teams - "especially her Philadelphia Eagles," her family said.

She treated her daughter's friends as if they were her girls, too.

Besides her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Cathy Lynne Pounds; a brother, Sanko Jefferson; a sister, Dorothy Jackson; three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Services: 11 a.m. today at Thankful Baptist Church, 1608 W. Allegheny Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

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