Latanya Lucas, 49, a United Parcel Service worker and mother who battled breast cancer, died Saturday, Oct. 20, of complications from the disease at her mother's home in South Philadelphia.
Known as "Tanya," she was born to Deborah King and Frederick Wharton, and raised by her mother and stepfather, Allen King Jr.
Ms. Lucas lived in South Philadelphia and attended South Philadelphia High School.
At an early age, Ms. Lucas held various jobs before taking a position at UPS, where she worked in a warehouse for 20 years. She never retired.
In the early 1980s, she met Andre Westbrook. They had three children whom she raised as a single mother.
"She was a very supportive mother," her mother said. "She worked hard to provide for her children. She would always support any endeavors in their lives. It always made her happy to see her children's accomplishments, and she would give her last dime to see them prosper."
When her children won awards for their achievements, she couldn't wait to brag about them. "She would be the loudest in the room, shouting, 'That's my son,' or, 'That's my daughter.' Her family meant everything to her," said King.
Her relatives described Ms. Lucas as caring, honest, and very straightforward. In June 2015, she posted her mantra online. It read: "In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved. How gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."
In 2016, Ms. Lucas was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatment, and the cancer went into remission. The cancer returned more aggressively in the summer of 2018, and she battled it with courage and grace.
"She fought with every ounce of her body and stayed strong as long as she could," her mother said. "Through her trials and tribulations, she always stayed positive. Even through the darkest of times, she kept her head held high."
As her health declined, Ms. Lucas decided to spend her last days at the home of her mother, comforted by her mother's love and sitting in a comfortable chair by a window. "I'm tired," she told her mother, as the end drew near.
In better days, Ms. Lucas knew how to have a good time. She loved to party, dance, and listen to her 90s R&B music. "Her smile would light up a room," her mother said. "I'm going to miss her."
Ms. Lucas was preceded in death by a brother. Besides her mother and stepfather, she is survived by children Jamil, Andre, and Shaniqua Lucas; four grandchildren; her grandmother, Carrie King; 10 brothers; five sisters; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were Wednesday, Oct. 31, with burial in Eden Cemetery, Collingdale.