Resident of the Month: Joseph F.
Mr. Joseph F. was born in West Philadelphia, the eldest of six children. His family soon moved to Southwest Philadelphia, where he spent his formative years. He shares that the teachers at the Alexander Wilson Elementary School (now the site of University of the Sciences, which has recently merged with St. Joseph’s University) instilled in him a love of learning, especially in the arts. It was here that Joseph learned to play the trumpet and violin.
A neighbor introduced him to jazz in 1965, a style of music which “flipped a switch” in his head and led to a lifelong passion. He also loved drawing and painting, and proudly says, “I could draw anything – animals, people, anything.” Joseph recalls playing basketball at 48th & Woodland and at Clark Park. His love of basketball led to him being on the Junior Varsity Team at the John Bartram High School.
While in high school, he was offered a scholarship to attend the Philadelphia College of Art (now called University of the Arts), but he chose to go to Howard University to study architectural engineering. Joseph dropped out after his freshman year to marry his high school sweetheart. They settled down in Washington, D.C. and had a son together, with Joseph managing a claims department at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Altogether, Joe is the proud father of four children – three sons and one daughter. Following a stroke, Joseph was living by himself in Maryland when the pandemic hit. His eldest son brought him back up to Philadelphia to be closer. Joseph has some words of advice to share: “Be open to everybody. Everybody has something to give. Everybody was created with a purpose.”