Mary Alice Foster Short, 79, church leader

Mary Alice Foster Short
Mary Alice Foster Short
Posted: March 23, 2014

Mary Alice Foster Short, 79, of Philadelphia, who was revered because of the leadership role she played at her church, died Thursday, March 6, of cancer at her home.

Mrs. Short was active, until her death, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Holmesburg. Although she was addressed as "Reverend," she did not have a doctor of divinity degree. Instead, she earned an advanced degree in Bible studies from Manna Bible Institute in Philadelphia.

Mrs. Short retired in 1988 after working for 30 years as a secretary for the Philadelphia Board of Education.

Born in Jacksonville, Fla., she graduated from Stanton High School in 1952. After graduation, Mrs. Short moved to Philadelphia, where she finished two years of study at Temple University Extension School in 1954.

In 1958, Mrs. Short married Albert L. Short. Their marriage lasted for 23 years until his death.

As part of their family, the two raised Mrs. Short's three young sisters, Dorothy Foster, Haven Foster, and Naomi Adams, after the early death of the children's parents from physical ailments.

Adams, orphaned at 3 and the youngest sister, said she regarded Mrs. Short as her mother. "I embraced her as a strong moral figure, guiding me through my formative years," Adams said.

After retiring from the school district, Mrs. Short began an ambitious program of religious study at Manna Bible Institute School.

An active member of her church from an early age, she enrolled in the religious studies program and graduated in May 1992. She did advanced study, and by May 2005, her church regarded her as "Reverend Short." She is listed on the church's website as an "associate minister."

In addition to the sisters she raised as daughters, Mrs. Short is survived by another sister, Rose Marie Foster; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Two brothers, Cleveland and Samuel Foster, died earlier.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 22, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Holmesburg, 8101 Erdrick St., Philadelphia. A viewing will start at 9 a.m. Interment will be in White Chapel Memorial Park, Feasterville.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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