Theme: Love of Mankind Love and Love of Family Ida L. Brown: A Life of Faith, Service, and Community Engagement Early Life and Education
Ida L. Brown, the eldest of fourteen children, was born to Leola King and Edward M. Brown, Sr. in Bridgeport, CT. At the age of four months, her parents moved to Philadelphia, where she received her education at the public School of Philadelphia. She later graduated with a degree from Community College. Ida grew up in a Christian home where she had her earliest Christian experiences at Union Baptist Church at 19th and Fitzwater. Her family later attended Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church at 21st and Tasker Street, where her grand aunt, Viola Bonneau, was an original member. Family and Faith Ida married Samuel Louis Wilson, and they shared 62 years of marriage until his passing on June 29, 2002. Together, they had three sons, Louis Ronald, Samuel Hicks, Steven Maurice Sr. When she married Sam, they moved into her mother-in-law's house and began attending Highway Church of Christ. In At the age of nineteen, she was baptized by the late Bishop Melvin Robinson. In 1953, Sam and Ida rented a home in South Philadelphia and started attending James Varick Memorial AME Zion Church. Ida became a member and remained dedicated to the church for 70 years. Ida joined the Abbie Clement Jackson Missionary Society as a young adult and remained an active member throughout her life. Ida served as the President of the Missionary Society and held roles such as superintendent of the Buds of Promise, choir member, and class leader responsible for a certain number of members. Since 1990, she served as the President of the Parent Body Missionary Society. Ida supported her family in every way. She would often call on the younger people to participate in programs at her church or pray at her block parties. She wanted her family involved in everything she was doing.
On July 22, 1973, Ida became a founding member of the Herrington-James Family Reunion and served faithfully as secretary for most of that time. Spiritual Journey and Personal Achievements In 1957, during fellowship at another church, Ida experienced a transformative moment when she received the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues. Alongside her spiritual growth, Ida and Sam purchased their family home in Southwest Philadelphia. Ida worked for the Federal Government for 25 years, starting at an entry-level position and eventually being promoted to section head before her disability retirement. She received numerous awards for her outstanding performance during her government career. After retirement, Ida found spiritual healing while watching the 700 Club and returned to part-time employment as an assistant Archivist at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, where she contributed to preserving the history of women in medicine for ten years. Community Involvement and Civic Leadership Ida's dedication to her community was evident in her involvement with various organizations. She served on the Board of Friends of Kingsessing Library and was active in the Mayor's Reading Program, where she volunteered to support children's literacy. Additionally, she contributed her time to the Homework Club at Southwest Philadelphia Community Center, providing assistance to students in the after-school program. Ida's dedication to her neighborhood extended beyond her church and workplace. In 1958, she helped organize her block, serving as secretary, treasurer, and ultimately, as a block captain for 35 years. Together with her neighbors, Ida initiated efforts to beautify the block and participated in the citywide yearly contest for the most outstanding clean block. Their accomplishments were featured in a local newspaper, bringing upliftment to the community for many years. Additionally, their block became known for hosting an annual Labor Day party, complete with games, drill teams, and DJ music. Ida's commitment to education and community engagement led her to serve as secretary, treasurer, and later Vice President of the Friends of Kingsessing Library. She organized an annual essay contest for local schools, including public, Catholic, and charter schools, involving elected officials from the area. This event became one of Ida's fondest memories as it inspired young minds and fostered civic engagement. She also served on the Kingsessing advisory council, playing a crucial role in guiding the community's development. Grassroots Activism and Advocacy Ida's passion for community reform led her to become a charter member of Philadelphia ACORN (Association Communities Originations for Reform Now) in 1978. She remained a devoted member of this nationwide grassroots organization until 2007. Ida actively engaged with city officials in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA, and Washington, DC, advocating for positive change in her community. Her dedication was exemplified when she welcomed Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton to Philadelphia during a meeting held at the Kingsessing Library. Honoring a Life of Service Ida's commitment to serving others and making a difference in her community did not go unnoticed. On October 6, 1985, she was honored as the recipient of the Legion of Honor Citation from the Chapel of Four Chaplains, recognizing her exceptional service and selflessness. Ida cherished her role as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Ida L. Wilson was preceded in death by her husband Samuel Louis Wilson, and two sons, Louis Ronald Wilson, Steven Maurice Sr. Ida leaves to mourn her son Samuel Hicks Wilson (Elsa-D), former daughter-in-law Celita Wilson, and Goddaughter, Gayle Marie Watkins, and her Godson, Douglas Taylor. Her Grandchildren, Corrine (Marcus), Maurissa (Samuel), Lisa, Steven (Janell), Alana. Grandchildren: Kennedy, Joshua, Courtney, Dean, Lauren, Sophia, Zoe, Harper, Steven Maurice III, who will mourn her loss deeply. Her memory will be cherished, and her legacy of faith, service, and community engagement will continue to inspire and impact those whose lives she touched. We celebrate her remarkable life and the lasting contributions she made to her family, church, and community. She will be remembered fondly as a beacon of compassion, dedication, and leadership.