Dorothy Mae Reid, 93, beloved matriarch of four generations

Posted: June 20, 2014

HAVING EIGHT children was not enough for Dorothy Reid.

She loved children, and mealtimes at her North Philadelphia home could be a scene of barely controlled chaos, featuring not only her own brood but also their friends and neighbors, all happily feasting.

"Our house was always full of children," said her son Robert. "Mom may have given birth to eight children, but there were always other children at our house at mealtimes. She fed all who were visiting. She loved children."

Dorothy Mae Reid, matriarch of four generations, a power sewing-machine operator for Philadelphia clothing manufacturers and an active churchwoman, died June 11. She was 93.

"Mommy was known throughout North Philadelphia for her baking, especially her German sweet chocolate and Virginia pound cakes," said her daughter Beatrice. "She used to bake cakes for most occasions at Foster Memorial Baptist Church and many community activities. After she baked one time, she would receive continuous orders for subsequent events."

A big family was nothing new to Dorothy. She was the sixth of the 13 children of Emma and James Glasgow, born in Newberry, S.C.

She got her early education there and started her spiritual journey at Old Beaver Dam Baptist Church.

She met her husband-to-be, Willie Reid, at a country fair. They moved to Philadelphia in 1943 and started the family that would grow to eight children.

Despite the pressures of raising so many children, Dorothy usually worked outside the home. After first moving to Philadelphia, she worked as a domestic, but she wanted something better for herself. She took classes to become a power sewing-machine operator.

She worked for several apparel companies, and retired in 1987 from Good Lad Clothing Co.

Dorothy continued her church membership at Abyssinian Baptist, which she joined shortly after arriving in Philadelphia. She served on the Usher Board.

In 1952, she and her husband bought their first home on Bouvier Street near York in North Philadelphia. She then moved her church membership to Foster Memorial Baptist. She was one of the first two women appointed to the board of trustees.

"I was blessed to have Mommy with me after the hospice facility determined that she did not need their specialized care," Beatrice said. "She was glad to be in a place where family and friends could stop by readily.

"She was always gracious, happy to see people, and never complained. Her wide-open smile will be remembered by all who knew her. We thank God that our mother was with us for so long."

Her husband of 58 years preceded her in death.

Besides her daughter and son, she is survived by four other daughters, Annabelle, Doris, Emmalee and Brenda; another son, Willie Reid Jr.; two sisters, Luecreasie Elmore and Cleathie Rikard; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by another daughter, Claudette Osborne.

Services: 11 a.m. tomorrow at Foster Memorial Baptist Church, 2401 N. 18th St. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Mount Peace Cemetery.

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