Thelma W. Anderson, 89, of Chestnut Hill, a jazz aficionado and founder of the Council of Jazz Advocates, died Oct. 6 at Keystone Hospice.

Ms. Anderson founded COJA in 1991 as a way to support young musicians, music education in the public schools, jazz programming and airtime, and jazz-based social gatherings. The organization also created and produced the Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival, and awarded scholarships to college-bound graduates of the Mt. Airy Cultural Center program.

Ms. Anderson also helped organize an annual outdoor jazz festival at the historic Cliveden property in Germantown. Although production of the festival was turned over to the Mt. Airy Cultural Center in 1998, COJA still produces the annual Tony Williams festival.

Born in Suffolk, Va., and raised in North Philadelphia, Ms. Anderson was a graduate of Philadelphia Girls High School and Morgan State University. After college, she worked for national magazines in New York, and later was deputy managing director for the City of Philadelphia from 1969 until 1990, working under seven managing directors.

She headed the Clean Philadelphia Program and was a member of the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee.

Ms. Anderson is survived by a son, Dean; a daughter, Tracy Andrews; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

A jazz memorial will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, at Oxford Presbyterian Church, Stenton and Gowen avenues in Mt. Airy.

  • phillyrich50

    I worked with Thelma in the 1980’s. She was a wonderful lady and a true lover of jazz. God rest her soul.

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