Donna C. Coleman: Rest In Peace

I attended a Homegoing Service for Donna Cristina Coleman on Saturday, June 16th, 2012.  She was born into the Sutton Family on January 16th, 1968.  She was the youngest child in a family of five children that I affectionately refer to as my Brothers and Sisters.  Between the Sutton's, Wallace's, Taylor's, Bell's and Beattie's there were at least 35 children.  When we went to fireworks on the Parkway or cookouts in the park, we would have a tribe of children and parents.  I think Donna was the baby of us all.  She passed away too soon on June 11th, 2012.

We all attended St. Rita's Elementary School.  It is now closed as are many of the Catholic schools in South, Southwest and West Philly.  It provided a nurturing place for many of us who have become lifelong friends.  It is located on Carlisle and Ellsworth Street.  We used to play on the 'little street' until I was at least in 6th or 7th grade.  The memories of handball, buck buck, cootie and just hanging in a safe place were priceless.  Many of us congregated at the Sutton house because it was centrally located on the street.  I don't exactly remember when Donna arrived but I know her brothers and sisters, including the families mentioned above, all welcomed her with open arms. 

Many people remember her beautiful smile.  I totally agree with that assessment.  She was a pleasant person who was outgoing and friendly.  It was a shame that the Suttons lost their Father and Mother at an early age.  Mrs. Sutton, aka Pink Ann, was a selfless person who would offer something cold to drink in the summer and a warm place when we visited in the winter.  My brother Gary used to have to drag us along for visits most of the times when he met with Howard.  These visits would also include the Mike Woodford, Rodney Alston and Kim Burwell.  We had excellent role models.

Donna grew into a beautiful woman.  I last saw her at a block party on the 1600 Block of Ellsworth Street that was organized by Mom Wallace and populated by the Taylor family and many others.  I am almost 50 and we are still tight.  Your children will miss you Donna.  Your Brothers and Sisters, including adopted ones like me, will miss you also.  I was impressed with the Fire and EMT officials that attended your service.  Your work ethic must have been great!!  Rest in Peace my Sister.  You lived a productive life and will be missed.

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