12:31 PM / Sunday September 22, 2019

30 Aug 2019

Obituary: Marjorie Gilliam Chew, 90

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August 30, 2019 Category: Oasis Posted by:

Marjorie Gilliam Chew passed away peacefully at her home following a brief illness on Monday, August 12. She was 90. Marjorie was born in Philadelphia on January 8, 1929 to the late Ulma E. and Frank M. Gilliam, Sr. Marjorie, affectionately known as “Margie,” was one of five children.

She was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System and was a graduate of Germantown High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Howard University in 1950.

She loved her time at Howard and developed many lasting friendships. She also was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. during her time at Howard. Marjorie was a proud Delta for more than six decades.

After graduating, she remained connected to her dear alma mater and participated in alumni events and class reunions.

Marjorie married her teenage sweetheart, Ramsey H. Chew, Sr., on August 16, 1951. They enjoyed fifty-six years of extraordinary love and devotion. Out of this union was born a son, Ramsey Harrison Chew Jr., and two daughters, Deborah Marjorie and Diane Elizabeth. 

She was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown for most of her adult life. Her love of flowers, especially spider mums, led her to serve on the church’s Altar Guild Flower Committee for more than 30 years.

Her beautiful arrangements could be seen on the high altar the third Sunday of every month. Marjorie was faithful in her duties and was delighted to be honored by St. Luke’s Rector, the Rev. David J. Morris, in 2017 for 30 years of continuous dedication and service to the church.

Marjorie also participated in many social and community-based groups. She was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Club Jade, Capricorn Club, Birthday Girls, Just Us, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Smart Set. She also previously served as Chapter Recording Secretary for her local Smart Set chapter.

Marjorie cherished her family and friends, and loved to entertain and travel with her late husband. Known for her gracious and kind-spirited nature, many people relied on her as a trusted advisor and confidant. Marjorie also had a great sense of humor and loved to dance, especially with her grandchildren.


She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents and brothers Frank M. Gilliam, Jr. and Donald F. Gilliam. She is sadly mourned by her children — son, Dr. Ramsey H. Chew, Jr., daughters, Deborah Chew James and Diane Chew Bowser; son-in-law, I. Page Bowser, Jr.; daughter-in-law, Kristine Chew; grandchildren, Erin James, Christopher Bowser, Ramsey H. Chew, III, Rayna James, and Melanie Bowser; great-grandchild, Ramsey H. Chew, IV; sister, Muriel Patricia Gilliam Clifford; brother, James Dye, Jr.; sisters-in-law, Dorris Chew and Sherlane Chew; and a goddaughter, Dr. Marie L. Young Robinson. Along with Rayfield J. James, Jr. and Phyllis Henderson, Marjorie is also mourned by nieces, nephews, and a host of other family members and friends who admired “Margie.”

Services were held on Thursday, August 29, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church,  Germantown-5241 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144. The viewing took place from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.; an Omega Omega Service for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated took place at 10:30 a.m.; the funeral mass began at 11 a.m.

Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

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