Katherine Joy Grantham
October 20, 1931-July 6, 2017
With a love of reading that was passed on to hundreds of children at Pastorius Elementary, Katherine Joy Grantham will be remembered fondly through your gifts in her memory. She was an avid reader and firmly believed that when children learned to read, their potential and opportunities were endless.
All gifts in her name will go toward books for classroom and independent reading libraries at Pastorius Elementary, where she was a reading aide from 1970 until her retirement in 1997.
To make a gift in Mrs. Grantham’s name online, please click here. To mail a gift, please make payable to Mastery Charter Schools Foundation with a note (or memo) that the gift is in memory of Katherine Grantham and send to Pastorius Elementary, c/o Mastery Charter Schools Foundation, 5700 Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144.
To read more about the inspiring life of Katherine Joy Grantham, see below.
Matriarch of the Hill, Howard and Grantham Families
Katherine Joy Grantham, affectionately known as Kittie, Aunt Kittie, Grandma Kittie and Gammie, was born on October 20 1931, in Harlem, New York. As a young child Kittie lived in New York City but spent summers in Opelika, Alabama. She shared many of her memories of the depression years, spent both in New York and Alabama. In New York, people stood in long lines for bread and cheese, while in the south there was plenty of fresh food on the farm. As a young girl, she made daily trips to the chicken coop to get eggs for breakfast. She learned how to cook and bake from scratch and was taught not to waste anything. These lessons served her well her entire life.
When Kittie was a pre-teen, the family moved to the East Germantown section of Philadelphia, (Blakemore Street) and became part of a community whose bonds of friendship, family and love still linger today.
It was in Philadelphia that she met and married Charles Grantham, II. As a young married woman, she continued working at the Sun Ray Drug Store but, eventually left to raise her growing family. It wasn’t until her youngest child was in elementary school, that she returned to the work force as a reading aide and office worker at Pastorius Elementary School. She loved her work and enjoyed the children. Being a member of the community, she knew many of children’s parents and grandparents. Although she was a strong disciplinarian with the children, she always gave them love, encouragement and special treats. Several times a year, she had ice cream parties and Friday afternoon movies with popcorn for her students. With the parents, she was also known for her “no nonsense” attitude; firming let them know when she felt they need to be better adults. Kittie was the same way with her many nieces and nephews, stern but loving. They all knew they had to behave or suffer the consequences. However, the grandchildren, great grandchildren and great nieces and nephews found it much easier to escape punishment.
As her own children grew up and left home, Kitty and Charles began to travel around the country with their best friends, Pennie and Henry Tucker. As a foursome, they toured Maine, Florida, New Orleans, and Las Vegas. And then there were the trips to see their children and the many grandchildren; who lived in Wilmington, Delaware; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cleveland, Ohio; Martinez, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama, Los Angeles, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cambridge, Massachusetts and Wilmington, Delaware. There were also the side trips from the Badlands of North Dakota to Tijuana, Mexico; where two young children wanted Kittie to take them home with her.
In 1989, after the death of her beloved husband, Charlie, Kittie continued to work at Pastorius Elementary for another eight years before retiring. Retired, but full of energy, Kittie returned to Pastorius as a volunteer for two days a week and filled her other days with political activities. She volunteered with then – State Representative Dwight Evans and her late brother Edgar Howard, who became the Philadelphia City Commissioner. Kittie hosted several fundraising events such as New Year’s Day Brunches and Dessert Receptions, cooking all the food and baking all the delicacies. In addition, Kittie made phone calls, stuffed envelopes and manned the polls on Election Day: she continued working the polls every election day until 2010.
In addition to her many activities, Kittie traveled rather extensively with Delores Wells, her sister-in-law; Ruth, Steven and Debbie Hill, her cousins, and her longtime friends: Pennie Tucker, Mary Coulter and the late Kitty Traverses. She also continued to visit her children and grandchildren scattered throughout the country. But her biggest trip was to Europe with her cousin Ruth and daughter Terri to visit her cousin Debbie Hill. Kittie marveled at being in a London and Berlin, where she walked streets and visited sites that were over a millennia old. In Berlin, Germany, she was amazed to visit the city she remembered from the news reels during World War II. She was also struck by how cosmopolitan and inviting it was and even visited East Germany where the wall once stood.
Beginning in 2000, Kittie often went to visit her Granddaughter, Tiffany Washington to “help raise” her great-grandchildren. Initially staying four to six weeks at a time, by 2012 she became the permanent visitor at Tiffany’s home. She took her respites with her daughter Margo in Fort Washington, Maryland attending conferences, Art shows, Social Teas, church and many other events. Eventually, she went to live with Margo for eighteen months. Always a doer and needing to be active, Kittie enrolled at the Bowie Senior Center when she stayed with Tiffany, and the Camp Springs Maryland Senior and Fitness Center when she stayed with Margo. At each of the Centers, Kittie participated in numerous activities, went on day trips and attended many seminars offered at each.
One of Kittie’s many loves was attending church. Being raised in a multidenominational family, she experienced many different denominations of the Christian Faith. For her it wasn’t what denomination you were, but whether or not you attended church and truly believed. Where ever she was, she attended church and got involved in some of the activities. This practice is something she passed on to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Kittie often conversed about the changes in life and society she had witnessed. She spoke passionately about the times when, as a child, leaving New York to go South to Alabama by train, she would have to change cars in Richmond to the one marked “Colored Only”. She relayed stories of seeing injured black soldiers returning from the war, who had to stand in the overcrowded colored Pullman car when there were many available seats in the “Whites only” cars. She hated the way young white people would call her grandmother by her first name and not Mrs. Hill. She saw how the children of sharecroppers didn’t stand a chance when they had to work the fields instead of going to school. She stressed excellence in her children, knowing they had to be twice as good to get the same job as a white person, who didn’t have the education or talent that they had. She would often tell her grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the hard-fought battles and gains of African Americans and why it was so important to be the best at whatever they chose to do.
In the spring of 2015, Kittie returned to Philadelphia to receive continuous care for health-related issues. Becoming a resident of the Germantown Home, she quickly became part of another family of residents and care givers. She stayed active and participated in all activities and attended church service daily. Her independent spirit, strong will and determination made her one of the most loved residents among all of the staff.
In late June 2017, with declining health, she was placed in Hospice Care. During the late evening of July 6, 2017, with dignity and grace, Kitty departed from us and transitioned into heaven while she was listening to the Gospel Song, “Ride on King Jesus”.
Preceding Kittie in eternal rest were her husband, Charles Grantham, II and her sons Clinton and Martin Grantham. She leaves to cherish her memory three daughters, Margo Bailey, Terri Peebles (William), Ellen Grantham-Parham (Terry); step-son, Charles Grantham, III (Kathy); daughters-In law, Gloria and Pamela Grantham; sister, Ethel Eggelston; brother, Vernon Howard (Jackie); sisters-in-law, Delores Wells and Angel Shand; brothers-in-law, Eugene and Roger Williams; grandchildren: Wendi, Mica, Linette and Brian Grantham, Tiffany Washington (Jeffrey), Jenee’ Bailey-Brookins (Dexter), Terri Gholston (Keith), Bryant, Erica, Nicole, Chasen and Nickioli Grantham, Terrance (Jasmine) and Blair Parham, Rebecca and Noel Grantham, Reginal, Michelle and Joy Peebles; great-grandchildren: Ashley, Keith Jr. and Keith J. Gholston, Aaron Grantham, Chase, Angela and Phillip Washington, Bailey Walker, Celeste, Bryant Jr. and Adam Grantham, Logan Parham, Tyrek Peebles; godson, Joseph Pierce, (Brenda); great-great grandchild, London Gholston; her “other” children Cheryl (Ralph), Johnson and Billy (Brenda) Whitlock, and a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, cousins, and her New Courtland family. A special “Thank You” to Mary Leonard for all of her love, support, and kindness.
Mastery Charter Schools is saddened to have lost Andy Gibbs, a longtime friend and supporter of high quality schools in Philadelphia. Your gift in his memory will support 13,500 students in our 22 schools.
Andrew Stuart Gibbs, died peacefully at Penn Rittenhouse on April 2, 2017; beloved husband of Michelle (nee Ellenbogen), devoted father of Justin, Evan, Alexander, and Emma. Beloved son of Alvin Gibbs (Janet) and Rita Gibbs. Cherished brother of Michelle (Kenneth Linsalata), Sheryl (Jeffrey Hutton), and Lawrence (Jaime) Gibbs. Beloved son-in-law of Alan Ellenbogen (Nancy) and Ruth Ellenbogen. Andrew is also survived by many nephews, nieces, family and friends. Andrew is preceded in death by his brother Stephen and his daughter Stephanie Gibbs. You understand if you knew him. Brilliant, kind, loyal, funny; a modern day superhero. Andrew has touched so many lives. He loved his work, had a deep passion for soccer, skiing and loved to travel. Andy worked hard and played even harder. In his 50 years, Andy lived life to the fullest.