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Marcella Geneva Roane, 86, retired Veterans Administration employee

She was famous for her stylish dress and hats and loved to travel by bus.

Marcella Geneva Roan
Marcella Geneva RoanRead more

IN HER MORE mature years, Marcella Roane wouldn't be seen outdoors without being fashionably turned out, complete with a stylish hat.

In fact, her hats became a kind of trademark for Marcella, and she had a collection of them, along with the handkerchiefs she liked to carry.

"She had a collection of both for any occasion, no matter how big or small," her family said.

Marcella Geneva Roane, a retired employee of the Veterans Administration, an expert cook who inspired her daughter to open popular soul-food restaurants, an active churchwoman and a devoted family matriarch, died Sunday. She was 86 and was living in Jenkintown, but had lived most of her life in Mount Airy and Germantown.

She was also a dedicated traveler, often touring the U.S. by bus.

After retiring from the government in 1985, Marcella helped her daughter, Delilah Winder, at the soul-food restaurants she formerly operated in Reading Terminal Market and at 30th Street Station.

"She liked to sit around and talk with customers," Delilah said.

Marcella also worked with her friend Constance Baker, owner of the fashion boutique Sans Appelle in Chestnut Hill.

She also operated a day-care center "and became a grandmother figure for many children in the Mount Airy area," her family said.

"She was very supportive of everyone," her daughter said. "She was everyone's mother. She was a very strong and independent person."

Marcella always maintained a heavy social calendar. She was an avid bowler and spent many days at Stenton Lanes. She was a keen card player and enjoyed playing bid whist, tonk and pinochle with her friends.

She was an active member of Oxford Presbyterian Church, where she sat on various committees, served as a church elder and summer-school director, and organized the annual crab feast.

"It expanded every year and demonstrated her gift for bringing people together for fellowship and enjoy their family and friends," her family said.

Marcella was born in King and Queen County, Va., the youngest daughter of the 12 children of James and Nimmie Roane. She attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, and moved to Philadelphia around 1951 with husband Andrew Boyd.

Her husband was also a government worker and toured as a jazz drummer.

Marcella enjoyed traveling by bus to New York and Connecticut and once took a two-week trip across the country. She also took numerous Caribbean cruises.

Marcella also could be found watching the 76ers and "bad-talking the Eagles," her family said.

"She was a dedicated mother, who always put her family before herself. She made sure to attend every ceremony, event, recital, practice and meeting. She was an active voice in their lives and made sure to mold each of them into well-rounded, God-fearing women."

Besides her daughter, she is survived by two other daughters, Paula Hearst and Kathryn Green; two sisters, Rachel Morse and Edna Bradley; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Services: 10 a.m. Saturday at Oxford Presbyterian Church, 8501 Stenton Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Ivy Hill Cemetery.