Bonnie writes the life stories of the movers and shakers in the Philly area and South Jersey who have died.

Latest Stories

Zachary Alf, 3, and Ryann Marie Meo, 7, who brightened the neighborhood, died in Grays Ferry fire

The two siblings were lively figures in their Grays Ferry neightborhood. Zachary Alf was always on his bike, his mother said. Ryann Marie Meo loved to dance and dreamed of being a doctor.

Elias S. Cohen, Pa.’s first commissioner on aging who later advocated for the old and disabled, dies at 93

Mr. Cohen passionately supported the elderly, and didn't mince words when testifying before government committees. At one point he was called a 'wild jackass.' He was delighted with the insult.

Jeffrey Ostrowski, leader in the field of physical therapy, dies at 58

"Jeff was an enigma wrapped in a blue shirt, a sharp blazer, and skinny jeans,” his partners said. He had a knack for making people around him feel — and be — better.

Thomas K. Cloetingh, a Chester County entrepreneur and philanthropist, dies at 67

Mr. Cloetingh was founder and CEO of the Wayne-based Signal Holdings LLC, a provider of protection programs and repair services for cell phones.

Samuel A. Nalbone Sr., a decorated World War II Army veteran, dies at 97

Mr. Nalbone received the Bronze Star Medal for valor in battle. In 1944, he walked through a minefield to get help and rescued 12 wounded Army comrades, saving their lives.

Patricia Carlin Sperling, early proponent for equality and social justice, dies at 98

While in high school, Ms. Sperling skipped classes to attend a demonstration at the Baldwin Locomotive Works, her family said. She supported progressive causes and acted on her beliefs.

Ralf E. Gilbert, a Bucks County lawyer and an outdoorsman, dies at 87

Mr. Gilbert enjoyed hosting a family party at Christmas. Another favorite pastime was going to deer camp with his male relatives during deer season. He also loved fishing.

Graham Smith, actor at People’s Light in Malvern, dies at 65

Mr. Smith performed in 130 plays up and down the East coast, 33 of them at People’s Light in Malvern.

John J. Lombard Jr., lawyer and adviser to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, dies at 85

One of his clients said Mr. Lombard "had a quiet, intelligent way about him that went well beyond the black business briefcase he carried." He almost seemed like a member of the client's family.

Eleanora L. Cheney, an educator and a philanthropist in South Jersey, dies at 97

Mrs. Cheney didn't begin teaching until age 40, but loved it. By all accounts, her former students loved her, too. They would call out greetings when she went out in public.