Ivory Lee DeWitt Jr., 53, sales and marketing manager

Posted: August 15, 2014

IVORY DEWITT had a special interest in the needs of urban young men.

As a leader of Project Alpha, Ivory helped to educate young men on the responsibilities of fatherhood, relationships with others and their connection with the greater community.

"It was an effort to motivate young men to make decisions about their goals and values," his family wrote in a tribute.

Ivory felt a strong responsibility to help others. At Thanksgiving, he was distributing food baskets to the needy. At election time, he was organizing voting drives to encourage people to accept their responsibilities to the community.

Ivory Lee DeWitt Jr., who worked in sales and marketing for USA Today and the company that formerly owned the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com, a staunch churchman, active Mason and loving family patriarch, died Monday from complications of a stroke. He was 53 and lived in Blue Bell but had lived for many years in Darby and West Philadelphia.

He could be forgiven for being an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Ivory was born in Philadelphia to Ivory Lee DeWitt Sr. and Elizabeth Christian. He graduated from Lansdowne-Aldan High School in Delaware County in 1979. He was active in sports and played varsity football.

He went on to Temple University, where he received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He then went to Wilmington University, where he received a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing and management.

Ivory worked as district sales manager for USA Today, where he received the highest sales award for six consecutive years. He became district sales manager for Philadelphia Media Network, encompassing distribution of the Daily News, Inquirer, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

While a student at Temple, Ivory was initiated into the Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He later joined the Omicron Lambda Graduate Chapter and then the Zeta Omicron Lambda Chapter.

He held various positions in the fraternity, including dean of pledges and sergeant-at-arms.

He was a member of Masonic Order Lodge No. 52.

Ivory married Mary Tyler in 1990. She died in August 2000. He married Katrina Durham on May 7, 2011.

He began his spiritual journey at Monumental Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. He later became a member of First Baptist Church of Darby, where he was a member of the trustee board.

After moving to Blue Bell in Montgomery County, Ivory became an active member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House.

Friends and family gave him the nicknames "Soap" and "Beanie."

"He had a warm, welcoming personality, making him a trusted friend and confidant," his family said. "He would go the extra mile to support his family, friends and fraternity brothers, and he was a person who you could always count on. He was a devoted man of faith."

Besides his wife, he is survived by his father; a daughter, Ivy Lea DeWitt; a son, Ivory Lee DeWitt III; a sister, Lisa Eley; and two granddaughters.

Services: 10 a.m. tomorrow at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 712 Penllyn Pike, Spring House. Friends may call at 8 a.m. Burial will be at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

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