Margaret O'Rourke Hoch, 73, a mother of nine who took a stand against drug dealers in her Frankford neighborhood, died of lung cancer Friday at home.
Mrs. Hoch lived on Tackawanna Street for 50 years. She was a founding member in 1990 of Tackawanna Against Drugs and was past president of the East Frankford Civic Association.
She led protests against street-corner drug dealers. "She was stubborn and fearless," her daughter Susan Waldron said. "When she was threatened, she called the police and then called the media. She knew the dealers didn't want to be in the spotlight."
She had great respect for the police, her daughter said. "Any information we get, we turn right over to Narcotics," Mrs. Hoch told a reporter in 1998. "If you don't work with the police, you might as well give up."
She and two other activists raised $3,000 from local businesses to buy three mountain bikes and equipment and uniforms for police patrols. She was a member of the 15th Police District's advisory council and every year helped organize a holiday dinner for the district's officers. Though quite ill, she attended the event again last month, her daughter said.
Mrs. Hoch campaigned to have nuisance bars closed in Frankford and worked to improve the appearance of the neighborhood. In the early 1990s, she lobbied to have a deteriorating building at Waln and Tackawanna demolished. "I tormented the city to death until they tore it down," she told a reporter.
She and her neighbors developed a vest-pocket park on the lot and named it the Dr. Welsh Memorial Garden in honor of a Frankford physician. She also planted gardens with the assistance of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Mrs. Hoch graduated from St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in the Northeast. While raising her children, she operated a cake-decorating and candy-making business from her home.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Hoch is survived by sons Michael, Glenn, Stephen and Jeffrey Reeves; daughters Neva Miller, Margaret DuBrier, Theresa Martin and Sharon Tetlow; two brothers; two sisters; 15 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Her husband Roy Reeves died in 1975. A year later, she married Frank Hoch. He died in 2006.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joachim Church, 1527 Church St. Friends may call after 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Nulty Funeral Home, 4292 Frankford Ave.
Memorial donations may be made to the Officer Gary Skerski Fund, Polonia Bank, 3993 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006.