ALICE LEE Jackmon Yancy was always conscious of looking her best when she went out in public.

"She loved fine clothing and jewelry, and through her 90s would not leave her home without applying her lipstick and powder," said her granddaughter Lisa Shepard.

"She was a true lady in every sense of the word."

Alice Yancy, a Virginia native who brought her love of good food and family from her Southern roots, a longtime seamstress with the Defense Supply Center and a woman famous for speaking her mind, died Christmas Day. She was 96 and lived in North Philadelphia.

After moving to Philadelphia in her teens, she made periodic Greyhound bus trips back home to visit friends and relatives. One of those bus trips shaped her destiny.

On her way back to Philly, she struck up a conversation on the bus with a handsome young man named Thornton Yancy Jr. Love blossomed and they were married in 1937. He was a supervisor in the Sanitation Division of the Streets Department. He died in 1972.

Alice was skilled with needle and thread, and often made clothing for her children. Her first job was as a seamstress with Coat Craft manufacturers, before she went to the Defense Supply Center in 1955.

She sewed military uniforms and later was promoted to supervising clerk in the billing department. She was frequently honored with awards and certificates for her work, because Alice was devoted to excellence. She retired in 1986.

Alice was born in Gloucester, Va., the oldest of four children of Mary Ellen Bristow and Hollis Jackmon. She attended the Gloucester Institute for Girls, in Cappahosick, Va., and was on the basketball team. She graduated from Brookfield High, in Gloucester.

She was baptized at New Mount Zion Baptist Church, in Gloucester.

She moved to Philadelphia after graduation to live with an aunt and uncle in Nicetown. She joined Miller Memorial Baptist Church under the pastorate of the late Rev. J. Luke Jones. She sang in the Fellowship Choir for 50 years.

One of her favorite hymns was "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

One of Alice's passions was shopping. She would hit the stores in Center City with a practiced eye for bargains and fashion.

"She had a keen eye and fond affection for fine clothing and jewelry," her granddaughter said.

Alice might not have been a great cook, but she appreciated the meals that her friends and family prepared at the family gatherings that she loved. She always had a healthy appetite.

Another passion was flowers and plants, and she would surround herself with them. She also enjoyed traveling, especially back to her roots in Virginia.

"She was strong-minded," Lisa said. "She always spoke her mind."

Alice also is survived by a son, Thornton Yancy III; a daughter, Joan Howell; eight other grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Services: 10 a.m. tomorrow at Miller Memorial Baptist Church, 1518 N. 22nd St. Friends may call at 9 a.m.

Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.