Remembering Juanita Harmon, 75, who died in collapse

juanita harmon
Juanita Harmon in a photo displayed with flowers in front of the altar during her funeral service Thursday at City of Refuge Church in Grays Ferry. She died last week in the collapse of a building on Market Street. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)

At a memorial service Thursday for Juanita Harmon, killed in last week's building collapse, so many people gathered to mourn that guests had to bring in extra chairs and sit in the aisles.

Harmon, 75, was shopping at the Salvation Army thrift shop when it was crushed by a neighboring building that collapsed under demolition.

She was buried Thursday after mourners sang gospel songs and shared memories of her life as a mother of two, grandmother of nine, and a retired secretary at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

After about four decades living in her Oxford Street neighborhood, she'll be missed by the "old-timers" who knew her and her fluffy white dog, her neighbor Ida Flanders said after the service.

"She was the kind of person you wanted to talk to," Flanders said. "She was like sunshine walking up and down the block, even on a rainy day."

Harmon was an animal lover and donated to the Philadelphia Zoo and the SPCA. Flanders said Harmon had adopted the dog from a local shelter.

Harmon loved a bargain, Flanders said, and was a frequent visitor to the thrift shop in search of dolls to add to her collection and the "unique buys and rare pieces that you don't see everyday."

 


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