Biography: Delores S. (Dee) Rhem was born on July 14, 1945 in New York City, the daughter of Mattie M. (Whitfield) and Alonzia L. Rhem. Dee attended the local public schools and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in 1963. After graduation, she attended Nancy Taylor Secretarial School and graduated with distinction in September 1964. Dee worked in business offices in downtown Manhattan. Years later, she worked for the Tishman Construction Corporation while attending college and in April 1990 Delores received a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) with distinction from the Audrey Cohen College for Human Services. She then went to work for Graham-Windham Services for Families and Children. In time, Dee embarked on a career path in education and became a substitute elementary teacher for the Board of Education of the City of New York.
Delores was a member of the Mother AME Zion Church from early childhood and took part in the various programs offered by the Church including summer Vacation Bible School which many years later she would also teach. Over the span of decades, Dee served in numerous capacities in the Church. In addition to her membership on numerous committees, she was Vice President of Class #13 under the leadership of Bertha Rogers. She was also a member of the Memorial Choir and an active missionary. Delores was an official greeter in Sunday services and she initiated and then served as co-chair of a social action ministry as part of the Church’s community outreach program.
Dee was a life-long resident of Harlem and was well-known in her community. In 1967 she and her parents were among the first cooperators to move into Esplanade Gardens. There, Delores worked on several committees over the years. She also served as a floor captain and, as part of the Building#3 Committee, she worked with others to help shape some of the policies which governed the community of cooperators.
Delores never married, and had no children but she enjoyed her friends and traveled with them on occasion. Over the years, Dee would suffer a series of debilitating health issues which affected her mobility and eventually capped her ability to be actively involved in community affairs. Nevertheless, she continued to read and study the scriptures and maintained her membership in Mother Zion to the end.
Dee was well-liked by those who knew her. She was known for her kindness, her willing spirit, and for standing up for what she felt was right; these things were a matter of principle with her.
For her, they formed the basis of the Christ’s teaching that we should ‘do unto others what we would have them do unto us’. For a life-time, she tried to live by this Golden Rule.
Delores was pre-deceased by her mother, father, two brothers, George and Stanley, and a niece, Kimm. Although she left us suddenly, Dee impacted the lives of many who will mark her passing. She leaves to rejoice in her transition to the Eternal: Doris (her twin) and Loretta, the oldest sister; eighteen nieces and nephews; and a host of grand nieces, grand nephews, cousins and friends.
Please pray for the soul of our dearly beloved sister, aunt, cousin, and friend.