PEARL LEE WORTHAM was a devoted church member famous in the congregation not only for her strong faith, but also for her collard greens.
Whenever there was a church event, Pearl was called on to cook. And don't forget the collard greens, she would be advised.
Pearl Lee Wortham, who worked for more than 30 years for the Foam Air Co., a Philadelphia packaging firm, and who still found time to sew clothing for herself, her large family and friends, died Friday. She was 79 and lived in Southwest Philadelphia.
She was born in Waycross, Ga., the first of the six children of L.C. and Larcynthia Hill. The family moved to Lake Wales, Fla., where she attended E.O. Douglas High School in Sebring.
She came to Philadelphia in 1946 to take care of an aunt and shortly met and married William E. Wortham Sr. He died in 2004.
In 1963, Pearl joined the Lily of the Valley Bibleway Church under the leadership of the late Bishop Levan W. Graveley. She was a member of the Gospel Singers, the Senior Choir and worked in the missionary department, as well as the kitchen.
She attended the Christian Academy Bible College in Darby and received a certificate in "teaching techniques" and "understanding people."
"There has never been nor ever will be a more virtuous woman than Mother Pearl Lee Wortham," said her daughter Brenda. "We learned by watching her as she was a true example of the believer.
"She taught us the importance of family and the significant role a woman plays within the family. We learned from her how to love our husbands and children.
"She was an early riser for work, took care of the home, helped anyone in need and fulfilled her duties in the ministry, never saying no and never complaining.
"No matter what the situation or circumstance, she never judged or showed partiality toward anyone. She always gave of her resources, never expecting anything in return. She knew how to make everyone feel special, from the oldest to the youngest."
Besides her daughter, she is survived by four sons, William Jr., Kenneth, Joseph and Eric; two other daughters, Cynthia and Gwendolyn; a brother, Lokay Hill; a sister, Annie Robinson; 49 grandchildren, and 44 great-grandchildren.