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Solonia Dora Ayers

June 25, 1934 ~ July 24, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Solonia Dora Ayers, born June 25th, 1934, to the late Oceia Anna Armstrong Ayers and the late Edward Charles Ayers, is a native Philadelphian.  The union of Edward and Oceia Ayers produced 4 children of which Solonia was the only girl. Because she was only girl, Oceia honored her sisters, Solonia and Dora, by naming Solonia after them. She had 3 brothers, Edward, Alfred, and Robert (Bobby) and 1 son Raymond whom all preceded her in death.

During her primary years, Solonia, along with her 3 brothers were raised in the Richard Allen Projects. She was living there during the same time as the legendary entertainer Bill Cosby.  In 1945, the family moved to 2031 Ellsworth Street where Solonia continued to reside until moving to Georgia to live with her daughter in April 2021. 

Solonia was educated by the Philadelphia School System. She attended Landreth Elementary School, Barrett Junior High School, and BOK Vocational High School where she received technical training as a power machine operator. Being certified to operate a power machine, Solonia used those skills to work in clothes making factory.

In 1953, Solonia began working for the University of Pennsylvania.  She managed to work her way from working in the soda grill to being the team leader for the cafeteria.  Solonia was regarded by her bosses as being a dedicated and dependable employee.  After 47 years of service, Solonia retired to care of her elderly mother. 

For 75 years, Solonia has been a constant presence on 20th and Ellsworth.  Solonia was known around the neighborhood for being a good dancer who wooed the crowd with all her fancy dance steps. She has been there to watch the children on the block grow up, go to proms, graduate, get married and have children and grandchildren of their own.  Many of those people still come by and check on her.  She has witnessed the neighborhood go from thriving, to abandoned houses and now through regentrification.  She is the self-proclaimed “Neighborhood Watch” because she sat at the window and watched everything that went on in the block.  Nothing was going to happen on the block without her knowing it!  There was never a time that a person could walk through the block and look up and not see her face as she affectionally yelled, “hey baby” to all the people she knew. 

Solonia Ayers may not be a hero to many but to the people who lived and grew up on 20th and Ellsworth, she is legendary.

October 9th, 2022, Solonia rededicated her life back to Christ and joined New Life Community Church.  She was a dedicated member who attended service every week via YouTube until she was called home to be with the Lord.

On Monday, July 24th, 2023, at 5:01pm, the Lord called her home to be with Him. Solonia’s physical presence will be missed, but her spiritual presence will remain with those whose lives she touched.

She leaves to cherish her memory: her daughter Michelle Ayers Johnson, one son-in-law Byron Johnson, one daughter-in-law Carol Ayers, one sister-in-law Julia Ayers, 3 grandchildren: Raymond Ayers, Christopher Johnson, and Jordan Johnson, 3 great grandchildren: Alana Ayers, Raymond (Little Ray) Ayers, Elijah Ayers and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

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August 5, 2023

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Holy Temple Church
2240 N. 29th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132

Celebration of Life
August 5, 2023

10:00 AM
Holy Temple Church
2240 N. 29th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132

Earthly Resting Place
August 5, 2023

12:00 PM
Rolling Green Memorial Park
1008 West Chester Pike
West Chester, PA 19382


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