Delores Capers, 76, social worker, program coordinator

DELORES CAPERS didn't have children of her own. So she looked out for her nieces and nephews by taking them on cultural trips and finding them summer jobs.

Her generosity extended beyond her family to other children who she ensured got better opportunities too, a niece said.

"She did everything for her nieces and nephews," said Elaine Jefferson, a great-niece. "She did for us and our children and for other kids who weren't in the family. She helped a lot of kids get scholarships for college."

Ms. Capers, 76, of Wynnefield, a former social worker who was also a program coordinator at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died Saturday, Nov. 26, at Kindred Hospital in Havertown.

"I was like a daughter to her," Jefferson said. She said her aunt took her on skiing trips to the Poconos and paid for horseback-riding lessons.

"We grew up as inner-city kids, and she wanted us to be exposed to things outside our environment. She wanted us to be well-rounded," Jefferson said.

"She was definitely a humanitarian. I think of her as an amazing and a phenomenal woman."

After her nieces and nephews became adults, Ms. Capers began taking their children on trips to places such as Washington, to see the monuments.

She also took the children on charitable missions, such as feeding the homeless.

"Not only did she want us to be exposed to the finer things in life, but she wanted us to always remain humble and give back to people who didn't have the same opportunities we had," Jefferson said.

A Philadelphia native, Ms. Capers was born to Theodore and Irene Capers in March 1940. The fifth of seven siblings, she grew up in South Philadelphia.

Ms. Capers graduated from Murrell Dobbins CTE High School and later earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Temple University. She continued her academic studies at the University of North Florida and Valdosta State College in Georgia.

Early in her career, she worked for the Philadelphia Anti-Poverty Network and served as director of community and social services and planning for Mercy Douglass Human Services Corp.

Her most recent position before retiring was at CHOP.

Ms. Capers was a member of the Alliance of Black Social Workers Inc. and Women's Attitude Adjustment and was also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

She enjoyed listening to jazz and inspirational readings, studying African American history, traveling the world and spending time with friends and family.

She became affiliated with the Laura Sims Skate House in Cobbs Creek Park, designed by her late brother, Theodore Jr., who had been a principal architect of Saxon & Capers.

Margaret Jones, a cousin, said she and Ms. Capers grew up together and called themselves "sister-cousins."

Their fathers were first cousins who were raised together as brothers, Jones said.

"Delores was always the kind of person who was looking after other people," Jones said. "Even as a child, she was always making sure other people had what they needed. Social work was a natural for her."

In addition to her great-niece and cousin, Ms. Capers is survived by a sister, and nieces and nephews.

A viewing will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 W. Johnson St. Funeral services will follow at 10:30.

Burial is at Northwood Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Laura Sims Skate House, 210 S. 63rd St., Philadelphia, 19139.

russv@phillynews.com

215-854-5987 @ValerieRussDN