2:16 AM / Friday February 23, 2024

4 Feb 2022

Personal recollections of my friend: In memory of Leah Fletcher, SUN Operations Manager (part 1)

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February 4, 2022 Category: Local Posted by:

“It’s a promise that I made to Jerry Mondesire that I would always do as long as I could for the Philadelphia Sunday SUN”…Leah Fletcher, Operations Manager, Philadelphia Sunday SUN

By Monica Peters

In January 2022, The SUN lost a beautiful soul, an invaluable treasure to our organization — Leah Fletcher.

Leah, who was our operations manager at the time of her unexpected passing, was committed to The SUN.

“It’s a promise that I made to Jerry Mondesire that I would always do as long as I could for the Philadelphia Sunday SUN,” said Leah at the October 2021 street renaming ceremony in honor of late SUN founder and publisher J. Whyatt Mondesire. 

Photo: left TO RIGHT–SUN publisher Catherine Hicks, SUN Social Media Editor Monica Peters, SUN Operations Manager Leah Fletcher. (Photo credit Robert Mendelsohn)

Leah and Jerry met over 35 years ago when they were both starting their careers as young Black journalists. 

Leah, originally from Boston, was a writer at the Boston Herald American. Jerry was at the Philadelphia Inquirer. They met on the set of a groundbreaking Philadelphia-based public affairs show called “Black Perspectives” on channel 12 hosted by Acel Moore and Reginald Bryant.

That meeting would lead to a lifelong friendship between Leah and Jerry. Leah was retired. But Jerry convinced her to come out of retirement to work for The SUN in Philadelphia. 

Leah worked for The SUN for 16 years.

She first began as The SUN copy editor for a couple of hours a week. She then became the publication’s special projects director of advertising. In 2017, she was appointed chief operations officer, by Joseph Mondesire and Catherine Hicks, who now both lead The SUN as co-owner and publisher of The SUN since late founder J. Whyatt Mondesire’s passing in 2015.

Publisher Catherine Hicks and myself would refer to The SUN office as “Leah’s Place.”

She was always there to greet you and handle any SUN related questions or matters at hand.

She was the woman who ensured that the advertising dollars and revenue kept flowing so “The SUN” could keep on shining (smile). 

She especially loved handling the concert and movie ticket giveaways and taking photos with our SUN contest winners. She also loved entertainment gossip and had all “the tea.”

Leah had a style all her own. She was graceful, elegant and fashion forward. It was always known if Leah was in the office before you physically saw her. The jingles of her beautiful bracelets and sweet calming aroma of her fragrances greeted visitors.

Inside the office, Leah would always have a personal story to share and wisdom to impart. It wasn’t uncommon for Leah to chat with youth or even publisher Catherine Hicks’s adult children and young grandchildren for hours.  

Leah always made sure everyone in her presence ate well. She would often make me a humongous salad as we prepare for our sometimes daily hours-long after work conversations about life, love, money, the quality of life for Black women and more. We also laughed a lot.

Outside of The SUN, Leah lived a full life. She was blessed with three sisters and a circle of friends that loved her.  

Leah was an avid traveler and did so frequently. She traveled the world including Paris and Dubai. She loved vacationing at her beach timeshare in New Jersey and driving to Boston to visit her three sisters.

Her best friend Beth Johnson was her partner in crime — her “sister from another mother” as they say. 

Later, Leah would include me into her circle of friends outside of The SUN. Spending Thanksgiving Day with Leah, Beth and her family eventually became a tradition for us. We spent our most recent Thanksgiving Day together in 2021.

Over the years, Leah became one of my closest and best friends in life.

Over the past few months, we seemed inseparable, checking in on one another. Our conversations became much more frequent, in-depth and life-changing. Perhaps God knew something we didn’t.

Cathy mentioned that you told her you really enjoyed our conversations. You were my blessing, Leah.

Leah, I will miss our conversations, your guidance, our legendary trips to Oregon Diner, and that winter camping trip we were planning at the time God decided to call you home.

You are an angel now and I know you are watching over us.

-Monica Peters

Part 2 Tribute Pages; Staff, friends and colleagues pay tribute to late SUN Chief Operations Officer Leah Fletcher

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