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Rebecca Olivia Willoughby

May 25, 1931 September 21, 2022
Rebecca Olivia Willoughby
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Obituary for Rebecca Olivia Willoughby

A celebration of Rebecca's life will occur on

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Holy Cross Baptist Church 

1900 North 63rd Street

Philadelphia, Pa. 19151

Viewing: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Service: 10:00 a.m.

We request family and friends who prefer

to send plants or flowers,

to coordinate with one of the

following reliable local florists:..

June's Floral Design: (610) 726-4351

Overhill Flowers: (215 ) 473-1842

Simply Floral: ( 610) 622-7980

Have the florist deliver

your selection

to the church no

later than 8:30 a.m.

the day of the service.








Life Story

Rebecca Olivia Cusaac "Liv" was born on May 25, 1931, second child of Ocie and Ethel

Cusaac.  Her parents sometimes called her ‘Mut’, but she was named Rebecca after her

paternal grandmother Rebecca Perkins Cusaac Pygatt.

As a child, Olivia had juvenile arthritis, which affected her walking.  She loved to play

piano; she took music lessons for years. Her favorite time of year was the spring because

everything was so beautiful and new.

As a young girl of 7, Olivia felt the urging of the Holy Spirit, but was afraid that her

parents wouldn’t believe her. Her belief remained steadfast, and by age 11, she finally

accepted the Lord. From that time until her health no longer allowed, Olivia had been

serving the Lord.

Her service to the Lord began as a young lady as the musician for the Jubilee Choir at

Savannah Grove Baptist Church in Florence South Carolina, and as a member of the

Mutual Aid Society. With that early blessing for playing music and love for the Lord she

sang in choirs all her life.

At the age of 16, while going to school in Florence, she met a woman who thought she

was such a nice and respectful young lady, she wanted her to meet her son. As fate

would have it, one evening in 1947 they met at the Dew Drop Inn and some friends

introduced them. That young man was Willie Kelly whom she married September 22,

1950. They lived in Florence, then Baltimore, finally landing in Philadelphia.

In April 1957, they bought their first and only home at 6018 Spring Street in West

Philadelphia. In September 1962, Olivia joined the Holy Cross Baptist Church which

was just around the corner from their home at 60th and Vine. She raised all of her

children to love the Lord and they all received their Christian foundation at Holy Cross

under the pastorship of Pastor J. H. Beatty.

On July 12, 1970, Willie Kelly, Sr. went on to live with the Lord. Life for her was hard,

but through her faith in GOD, she maintained her family.

On August 18, 1973, she married McIver Willoughby Sr. whom she had known from

Savannah Grove since her childhood. They were blessed with 17 years of marriage and

on August 4, 1992, McIver Willoughby Sr, passed away.

Olivia was a faithful member of the Senior Choir where she served as president, Chair of

the Deaconess Ministry, Floral Club, Missionary Ministry, and eventually, Mother of the

church. In retirement she served on the Women’s Service Committee.

Olivia always worked hard, working many jobs from the laundry to PTC (now SEPTA)

where she was a detective, to more than twenty-five at Sears before retiring. Many in the

family benefitted from the employee discount and the employee store.

Olivia leaves to celebrate her life…

Her pride and joy, her children; Willie Kelly (Pamela), Pastor Louis Kelly (Sheila),

Gregory Kelly (Tanya) and Michelle Kelly-Gumbs (Vincent), Cheryl Willoughby,

McIver Willoughby, Jr. (Dorothy) and Darryl Willoughby.

Her beloved grandchildren, Vincent Willoughby, Allen Willoughby, Daria Willoughby,

Allen Minnick, Andre Hunt, Adia Cobb, Justin Lee, Vincent Gumbs, Jr., William Kelly,

Jordan Kelly, Enam Kelly, Christian Kelly, and Jordan Willoughby.

Her amazing great-grandchildren; JhaNasia, Justin, Eli, Journi, Kennila, Kennedy, Kori,

Remington, Benjamin, Jr., Lennox, Solange, Vincent III, and Skylar.

Sisters Helen McKeither, Gwendolyn Gibbs (Ernest) and Betty McDaniel and brother-in-

law, Harvey Willoughby. A host of nieces, nephews, and friends. A special thank you to Renee Edwards, who was

the only one in the family to get mom to eat!

Spring Street neighbors, we are grateful for you watching over her and keeping a caring

eye out for her. 6018 Spring Street will forever be home to us.

A special thank you to Betty Warsaw, Ms. Mary, Anna Belle Hopson, and Mary Tuck for

befriending and loving on Mom by doing puzzles and sitting under the tree while living

at 56th and Race. Also, thank you, Mother Ella Pearl Downs, for your constant concern

and prayers.

Finally, we are grateful to the amazing team at Saunders House and Main Line Hospice

who cared for our mother, known to them affectionately as “Ms. Rebecca,” with so much

patience and grace.

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Cemetery Details


Fernwood Cemetery Final Resting Place

6501 Baltimore Avenue
Fernwood, PA 19050

6501 Baltimore Avenue Fernwood 19050 PA
United States

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