ERVINA WHITE Beauford was amazed.
She had never seen such an outpouring of love and respect as she witnessed on Friday at the funeral home she operates at 7224 Ogontz Ave.
They came by the dozens, most in wheelchairs or shuffling with walkers; some who were unable to speak wrote their messages on scraps of paper.
Their mission was to honor the memory of Beatrice Sylla, a woman who had given many years to volunteer work for the handicapped, a woman who was confined to a wheelchair, but who never let her own disabilities interfere with her duties.
Beatrice died on May 29. She was 64 and lived in Logan.
"She used her skills to help and teach others," her family said. "She let nothing stop her from helping through her volunteering."
Beatrice was a trained practical nurse who worked at hospitals and nursing homes in the city for many years. After her retirement, she began doing volunteer work for Liberty Resources and the Workplace Technology Foundation.
In 2007, Beatrice was participating in a course given by Liberty Resources in which caregivers and their clients met to discuss problems that can arise. She told a story about how a woman she had hired to be her caregiver suddenly quit and left her in her wheelchair in 30th Street Station, her oxygen tank dangerously low.
Beatrice survived to tell the story, using it to illustrate the sometimes tense relationships between patient and caregiver.
The course, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, was designed to prevent such happenings.
She was a program coordinator for the Abilities Ministry at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ.
"She was faithful to that ministry as she served the church in her motorized wheelchair," her family said. "She was an upbeat person full of joy and happiness." She is survived by a son, Darryl Roberts; two stepchildren, Danielle and Matthew Cook; a brother, Henry Roberts, and two grandchildren.