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Reverend Sadie Stridiron Mitchell

January 4, 1921 December 16, 2020
Reverend Sadie  Stridiron  Mitchell
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Obituary for Reverend Sadie Stridiron Mitchell

A memorial service in 2021, with the inurnment of her ashes in columbarium
within the church’s sanctuary, is pending the full opening of Sadie’s church. In lieu
of flowers, the family requests that you please mail donations to The Jesse F.
Anderson, Sr. Scholarship Fund, The AECST, 6361 Lancaster Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19151. Checks may be made payable to: AECST, with “JFA
Scholarship in memory of Pastor Sadie” written in the memo portion.

Life story
On January 4, 1921, Sadie Alberta Stridiron was born to Joseph Alphonso
Stridiron and Lucinda Clifton Stridiron. She was the second child of five. In her
early years, she and the family resided in South Philadelphia. They attended The
Episcopal Church of the Crucifixion in South Philly.
The family moved to West Philadelphia when Sadie was a teenager. They became
members of The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas (AECST), then known
as the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Thomas (or simply St. Thomas), and
located within walking distance of their new home. Sadie and her siblings attended
Overbrook High School. After graduation, she attended Temple University,
receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. In later years she
obtained her Master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and her
Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
As an undergraduate at Temple University, in 1939, Sadie was initiated into Delta
Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Xi Sigma Citywide Chapter. As a devoted soror in this
illustrious sisterhood, in the year 2020, her 81 st Deltaversary was commemorated.
Sadie had remained an active member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter until
2017 when, due to failing health, she was unable to participate further in the
sorority’s activities. She has remained a “financial” soror through the 2020-21
sorority year.

In 1946, Sadie married Charles T. Mitchell, Jr., a City of Philadelphia employee
with the Department of Recreation, a dedicated member of Holy Trinity Baptist
Church (South Philly), a lover of jazz and gospel music, and a very active member
and leader of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, O.V. Catto Lodge,
formerly located in South Philly. From their union, three children were born –
Sadye (West Chester, PA), Charlene (Philadelphia) and Charles III (N. Potomac,
MD). In the early years of their marriage, the family resided in South Philly before
moving to West Philly in 1952.

Sadie made great efforts to engage her young children in activities with groups
such as Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and The Sweet Kittens (a social group of the
daughters of friends that was formed by Sadie’s dear friend, the late Pearl
Johnson). She enrolled the girls in piano lessons at the original Settlement Music
School on Queen Street in South Philadelphia. There were excursions to live
theater, museums and much more. She gave the children the experience of
overnight camps, first at Camp Oak Hill in Nottingham. PA, then Camp Mohawk
in the Catskills, co-owned by her dear late friends, Jean and Adolphus Lewis, Sr.
and the late Sam and Edna Watts, all of Philadelphia.
Sadie learned how to drive when her daughters were very young. This was not
common for women in the 1950s. Her brother, Clifton, a Tuskegee Airman
mechanic during World War II, repaired an old Chevy jalopy (vintage 1948, with
only the remnants of a back seat), then gave it to her. She drove that car for several
years until she was able to purchase a used 1958 Rambler that handled like a truck.
But it got her around town – avoiding the need to take PTC, and enabling her to
transport her three children when the distance was too far for them to walk.
Sadie was a very active member of St. Thomas Church, even before becoming a
priest. A few of the guilds in which she participated were the Episcopal Church
Women (ECW), the Matrons’ Guild, the Jesse F. Anderson, Sr. Scholarship Fund
Committee, the Music Committee, and the St. Thomas Historical Society. She and
close friends Mary Lu Sullivan and Louella Allen co-founded one of St. Thomas’
guilds for women of the parish – The Sisterhood Guild. Until her health began to
fail, she was also involved in Episcopal diocesan affairs such as the Union of Black
Episcopalians (UBE - a national organization), and in affairs of the community-at-
large. Sadie was a former board member of the Episcopal Community Services
(ECS) and The Lincoln Day Nursery. With her community work and education
background, she founded The Black Women in Education Association (BWEA).
Throughout her years as an educator, Sadie not only taught in the classroom, she
also held the titles of, and worked as a Science Collaborator, Assistant to the
District Superintendent, and Elementary School Principal. For one year, beginning
in 1963, she was an Exchange Teacher, teaching English in Guayama, Puerto Rico,
taking with her, Charles III at age 4, while her girls continued their high school
education in Philadelphia. Sadie retired as the principal of the Joseph C. Ferguson
Elementary School located in North Philadelphia.
After retirement from the School District of Philadelphia, Sadie earned a divinity
degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia campus. She was
ordained to the Episcopal diaconate and subsequently to the priesthood. Sadie
served at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lower Merion, PA, St. Mark’s Episcopal
Church located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia and St. Luke’s Episcopal
Church, Germantown Philadelphia. In 1991, when The Rev. Fr. Jesse F. Anderson,
Jr. was installed as the 16 th rector of the AECST, Sadie returned as the Associate
Priest of the parish. The congregation referred to her as Pastor Sadie. While
serving at St. Thomas, she carried out her ministry in several ways. She guided the
Sunday School activities for the parish youth. She visited house-bound
parishioners and parishioners recuperating from illnesses at home, as well as the
parishioners in area hospitals and living in nursing homes. It is from St. Thomas
that Pastor Sadie celebrated her final retirement.
When she decided to move into a retirement community, Sadie had no intentions
of leading a sedentary life. She joined its Bridge club, and continued to get
together with her old Bridge playing buddies at designated locations within
Philadelphia and in her retirement community. Sadie joined the choir and attended
the “college” seminars that were offered. She made sure that she arrived at the
dining room well before opening time for each meal so that she could reserve the
largest table for her and “her posse.” They enjoyed their time together.
Sadie’s favorite music genre was classical. In the summer months, she and her
husband would take the family to the Robin Hood Dell in the Strawberry Mansion
section of Philadelphia to enjoy the Philadelphia Orchestra performances
conducted by Eugene Ormandy. For many years, Sadie was a subscribing patron of
the Philadelphia Orchestra. She was thrilled to learn that her retirement community
transported groups of resident subscribers to the Academy of Music for
performances. Once she stopped driving her car, giving it to her granddaughter, her
attendance at the Academy was not affected.
As an avid Contract Bridge player, Sadie travelled to various resort areas for many
years to participate in Bridge tournaments, winning trophies and other awards. She
played tennis for exercise and fun. Another source of fun and excitement for Sadie
was belonging to her Garden Club whose members were life-long friends. Every
year, the club exhibited their many entries in the Philadelphia Flower Show. And,
every year, at least one entry won 1 st Place in its category. Sadie also loved to
travel. She booked many trips to foreign countries, enjoying several educational
tours. She also enjoyed taking cruises. Some of her more memorable cruises were
the one in the Mediterranean Sea and another where she viewed the Alaskan
glaciers – before the effects of global warming.

On December 16, 2020, at the age of 99, Sadie was called home to be with her
Lord and Savior. She had suffered several falls, with the last fall resulting in hip
replacement surgery. She never fully recovered from the lasting effects of that
Sadie leaves to cherish her memory, daughters Sadye “Sarah” Archer, Charlene M.
Wiltshire and Charles “Bud” Mitchell, III (Allyson), seven grandchildren – Rick,
Charles IV “CT,” John “Johnny,” Alexsandra “Alex,” Connor, Chase and
Madelyn, four great-grandchildren, a sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, a host of
cousins and many friends and mentees. Preceding her in death, were Sadie’s
husband, Charles T. Mitchell, Jr., brothers, Joseph Stridiron, Clifton Stridiron and
James Stridiron, and her baby sister, Lucinda Harper who passed away earlier this
year at the age of 90.

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