Naomi L. McCrary, 93, retired educator

July 14, 2017 GMT

Naomi L. McCrary, a retired educator, died on Thursday, June 22, 2017. She was 93.

She was born on Sept. 15, 1923 to the late Frank and Theresa H. Lewis in Columbia, S.C. She was the third of 11 children. McCrary graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia. After graduation she attended Dillard University in New Orleans for one year.

The family relocated to Philadelphia when she was 19 years old. She began working at the Philadelphia Shipyard as a payroll clerk. It was there that she first encountered Henry T. McCrary Jr. They were married in March 1945 and two children were born to their union. They were together for 58 years until he died in 2003.


McCrary worked for a while at the Curtis Publishing Company but opted to return home as a stay-at-home mom until her children graduated high school.

She was later hired as an adult education teacher for the school district of Philadelphia. When the adult education program was phased out, McCrary went to work in elementary education at Lingelbach Elementary School. She remained at Lingelbach until her retirement.

Always eager to expand her knowledge, she continued her college studies at Temple University, taking courses in education.

McCrary was a woman of many talents. She was an excellent cook and she loved to sew. She had a knack for decorating, making much of the beautiful decor in her home like window curtains, slip covers and table cloths. She also did pottery, glass design and floral arrangements. She used her gift for sewing to make clothes for herself and her daughter.

McCrary also enjoyed traveling. She visited places all over the world including countries in Europe, Brazil, Hong Kong, Morocco and all of the Caribbean Islands. She loved the arts, music and the theater and passed these loves on to her children.

McCrary had many long-lasting friendships. She remained close with her best friend from high school, Rachel Spann Kennedy, and her first friend in Philadelphia, Lois Floyd. She was a lifelong member of the Spurs social club.

Adventurous by nature, McCrary had her younger brother teach her to drive when her husband refused. She got her own car in 1963.

Determined to conquer her fear of water, she learned to swim when she was in her 40s and was a lifelong member of the YWCA, first in Germantown then in Abington. She always wanted to play the piano, so when she retired from the school district she bought a piano and took lessons at Settlement Music School and Center in the Park.


She was raised in the AME tradition and became a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown at the age of 85.

“She was beautiful, kind and wise,” her family said in a tribute. “Our loss is truly heaven’s gain.”

She was preceded in death by her husband and son, Guy McCrary.

She is survived by: her daughter, Helen McCrary Salahuddin, (Ali); grandchildren, Guy McCrary Jr. (Navae), Sonni King, Shane Giddiens, Ryan McCrary and Jessica McCrary; six great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sister, Theresa Nichols; brother, Melvin Lewis; daughter-in-law, Susan McCrary; caregiver, Karen Francis; and other relatives and friends.

A memorial service will be held July 24 at 10 a.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown, 41 W. Rittenhouse St.