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Matriarch

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NEWS
July 20, 1998 | by Joe Clark, Daily News Staff Writer
Services will be held today for Stephanie Jesiolowski, matriarch and community "cornerstone" who didn't fear taking a chance and, along with her husband, opened what might have been Bridesburg's first flower shop almost 50 years ago. The lifelong resident of Bridesburg died Thursday. She was 79. The Jesiolowskis opened their business, Ideal Florists, in 1950 in their home on Thompson Street near Orthodox, just a half block down the street from where "Stephie" was born and raised.
NEWS
October 18, 2010 | By JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
SOME MIGHT find a kind of irony in the fact that Mary Coleman's first job was at a school for the blind, because later in life she, too, lost her sight. Being visually challenged did not stop Mary from leading a full and long life, much of it devoted to serving her Baptist religion. Mary Coleman, a matriarch who could be counted on to provide spiritual sustenance to family and friends, died Oct. 8. She was 93 and lived in Southwest Philadelphia. She and her late twin brother, Joseph, were born in Robeson County, N.C., the last of the 10 children of John David and Sarah Currie.
NEWS
April 2, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jane Higgins Hurley, 90, the matriarch of a large Bryn Mawr family, died Saturday, March 28, of cardiopulmonary arrest at Waverly Heights, Gladwyne. The pillars of Mrs. Hurley's life were faith and family: She was baptized and married at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Bryn Mawr; her Mass of Christian Burial will be held there Wednesday, April 1. A homemaker, Mrs. Hurley and her husband, Joseph J. Hurley, reared 12 children in Villanova and then Bryn Mawr. "She raised her children with a gentle and loving touch," said her family in a prepared statement.
NEWS
September 16, 1995 | By Martha Woodall, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Mae E. Forman, 86, who immigrated to Philadelphia from Russia with her family as a child and became the matriarch in her large extended family, died Tuesday in Los Angeles while visiting her daughter. A longtime former resident of the Northeast, she had lived for the last few years in Jenkintown. Mrs. Forman, who was the youngest of seven children, lived first in South Philadelphia. She attended South Philadelphia High School for two years and then enrolled at a commercial school and became a bookkeeper.
NEWS
December 14, 2010 | By JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
HOW DO you live to be 106? Well, follow the lead of Viola Waters. She shunned greasy foods, concentrated on fresh vegetables and had a daily drink of hot tea, which she believed removed impurities from the body. She certainly must have done something right, because not only did she live nearly seven years beyond the century mark, she was healthy and alert almost to the end. "Last June, she visited me in Strawberry Mansion and didn't want any help walking," said her granddaughter Donna M. Stoney.
NEWS
February 24, 2000 | by Jim Nicholson, Daily News Staff Writer
Lucille Summers "Dootsie" Singleton, a former private duty nurse and seamstress who enjoyed her role as family matriarch, died Saturday. She was 75 and lived in North Philadelphia. "She enjoyed being the matriarch. Everyone loved Mrs. Dootsie. She'd give you her last, literally speaking, she'd borrow to help you," said Jessie Gaymon, a daughter. "My mother was outgoing and loving to all who knew her and she gave until she couldn't give anymore. " She said that once a friend of her mother's said there wouldn't be enough to outfit her eight-year-old for Easter.
NEWS
May 21, 1999 | by Scott Flander, Daily News Staff Writer
There was no doubt who ran Rita Cermele's family. She did. "Momma enjoyed being in the role of the matriarch," said her son, Dominic, a former Traffic Court judge who now runs the city's Office of Administrative Review. "She was the boss. She controlled her family, though she did it kindly. " Cermele, a strong-willed woman in the South Philadelphia tradition, died yesterday at the age of 78. She was classic South Philly in other ways, too. She baked pies and bread, and took great pride in her "gravy," the downtown term for spaghetti sauce.
NEWS
December 30, 1998 | by Jim Nicholson, Daily News Staff Writer
Mattie Adams, a retired seamstress and family matriarch, died Saturday. She was 98 and lived in Sharon Hill. "She was really a sweet person and friendly with her neighbors," said Mary Adams, a daughter-in-law. A resident of Sharon Hill since 1942, Adams had previously lived in West Philadelphia. Born in Atlanta, Ga., the former Mattie Butts graduated from high school in Macon. She married Ernest Martin in 1918 and was widowed at an early age. She married Matthew Adams in 1928.
NEWS
June 23, 2011 | By JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
ANYBODY WHO needed a place to stay knew that Joyce A. Dickerson would take them in. "She raised a lot of people, friends and family," said her great-granddaughter Verona "Rosie" Martin. "She was very loving, compassionate and feisty. " Joyce Dickerson, the loving matriarch of the Dickerson family, a former dietitian for the school district and an active churchwoman, died Sunday. She was 79 and lived in North Philadelphia. She was born in Philadelphia to Frank and Reola Dickerson, and attended public schools.
NEWS
July 19, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
A GUY digging a grave might not seem the kind of man to catch the eye of a pretty girl. Didn't girls back in the 1940s dream about being carried off by a knight in shining armor? Or was that too corny even then? Whatever, Mildred Mae Hamilton must have seen something in Donald Nelson, as he toiled away with pick and shovel in the Eglington Cemetery in Clarksboro, N.J., when she was in the eighth grade at the school next door. She would hang out the school window to try to catch his attention.
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NEWS
December 18, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Staff Writer
W HEN CATHERINE BEST was growing up in the Philadelphia of the 1920s, she could have had her pick of suitors. "As she grew in grace and charm, she attracted many," her family said. But she settled on a young postal worker named Amos Johnson, from Havre de Grace, Md. They were married in 1936 and enjoyed 44 years of wedded bliss until his death in 1980. Catherine Johnson, as she became after her marriage, died Dec. 10 at the age of 98. She lived in West Oak Lane. The 1930s were probably not the best time to start a family in Philadelphia.
NEWS
November 4, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
PAT NOLAN'S HOME was the scene of typical old-fashioned South Philadelphia values - dinner on the table every night, big family get-togethers, excursions to Wildwood and Atlantic City, church on Sunday. And the one ingredient that was always present was family love. It filled the rooms with warmth, good humor and laughter. The matriarch who kept the family intact and the love and goodwill flowing was Sarah Frances Nolan, known as Pat, a talented, hardworking, God-fearing woman who gave her children the foundation on which to build meaningful lives.
NEWS
August 6, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
NETTIE BELLE WALKER was strolling along Germantown Avenue with a girlfriend one spring day in 1950 when she spotted the handsome young man who would be her husband. The chance encounter with Woodville Jackson - she would have called it fate - led to a "whirlwind romance," as her family described it, and marriage just two months later on April 29, 1950. Their 55-year marriage produced five children before his death in 2006. Nettie Belle Jackson, a former practical nurse, a savvy businesswoman who invested in real estate and ran her own child-care center for a time, a devoted churchwoman and loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died July 27 at the age of 84. Nettie was a busy community activist, serving as a block captain, Girl Scout leader, judge of elections and reading specialist, among others.
NEWS
July 3, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
MARY MILUS YOH, matriarch of the family that owns Day & Zimmerman, the worldwide service company that is one of the Philadelphia area's major employers, died June 28 at the age of 78. She had been living in Key Largo, Fla., but had lived in Bryn Mawr most of her life. As the wife of Harold L. "Spike" Yoh Jr., retired chairman and chief executive of Day & Zimmerman, Mary was always an active participant in the company's activities as it grew from a local engineering firm to a diversified entity with projects all over the world.
NEWS
June 17, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
LOUISE FAIRLEY CLAY was serious about entertaining, as evidenced by the 20 sets of china she accumulated over the years. But the dinners she loved to host featured more than good food. They featured laughter. "Laughter was a distinct feature of her dinner parties," said her granddaughter, Leah Smiley. "No games, no drama, no arguing, just good old-fashioned jesting. "It was easy to get offended at those family functions, but Louise would gracefully direct our attention and laughter toward herself.
NEWS
April 9, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
ANNIE LEW JACKSON knew something about raising children. She had more than a dozen children of her husband's late parents to help raise before she even started having her own. It all began when Annie Lew married Leslie Jackson in 1939. His parents died, and she and Leslie were called upon to raise six of their 13 children - at a time when Annie was pregnant with her first child. Later, she gave birth to seven more children. Annie Lew, an active churchwoman and devoted family matriarch, who enjoyed tantalizing family and friends with her Southern-style cooking skills, died March 27 at age 95. She was born in Bishopville, S.C., to Loula Michelle Smith.
NEWS
April 2, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jane Higgins Hurley, 90, the matriarch of a large Bryn Mawr family, died Saturday, March 28, of cardiopulmonary arrest at Waverly Heights, Gladwyne. The pillars of Mrs. Hurley's life were faith and family: She was baptized and married at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Bryn Mawr; her Mass of Christian Burial will be held there Wednesday, April 1. A homemaker, Mrs. Hurley and her husband, Joseph J. Hurley, reared 12 children in Villanova and then Bryn Mawr. "She raised her children with a gentle and loving touch," said her family in a prepared statement.
NEWS
February 12, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
IT WAS HARD for Hattie Belle Gillis to quit working. And so she didn't - not until ill health finally slowed her down. Until then, Hattie put together three careers, starting with 25 years as a police matron, the first black woman to have that job, at Police Headquarters, first in City Hall and later at the Roundhouse. She worked mostly with female suspects. She tried to retire in 1985, but couldn't stand being idle. She took a job as a kitchen aide for the Cheltenham School District.
NEWS
December 17, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
IF ANYBODY in the Gallo or Barone families needed information about current events, sports, medicine or any number of other subjects of interest, they didn't go to the library or the computer. They asked Grace. "Ask Aunt Grace," nephews and nieces would say. "She'll know about this. " And very often she did know, because Aunt Grace was a news junkie who not only kept up with what was going on in the world and the city, but also checked out the latest advances in medicine, and knew who was doing what to whom on the basketball courts, ice rinks and football gridirons.
NEWS
December 12, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
CHESTER WAS a bustling port city on the Delaware River 103 years ago. It built sailing ships for the Navy. Horse-drawn wagons clattered over the streets. There were no airplanes in the sky; few cars on the streets. William Howard Taft was in the White House. And Ada Elizabeth Dawson was born. She was the fourth of the nine children of Samuel P. Dawson and the former Mary Johnson. She lived long enough to see men land on the moon, jet planes fly faster than sound, streets clogged with traffic - and a black man in the White House.
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