Antique Vintage 07

Donald James Smalls Sr.

April 11, 1937 ~ June 23, 2020 (age 83)


Donald James Smalls Sr. departed his life of Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia. He was born on April 11, 1937 to the late Elijah and Elvira Smalls. He was the third (twin) born of six children. Donald received his education from the Philadelphia School District. He was affectionately known by his friends as Don.


At a very early age, Donald and his twin brother, Arnold put their heads together to come up with very creative ideas to generate cash flow. They started a business selling items for women, like scarfs, ribbons, socks, stocking etc. With their red wagon loaded and ready to go, they went door to door selling their wholesale items throughout the neighborhood Donald later began working in a Photograph Shop where he gained new skills and decided to start his own Photography business. He partnered again, with his twin brother and they set up photography stations in many night clubs and bars throughout the Philadelphia and surrounding areas. He later went on to use some of the skills he learned from his father to start a home remodeling business and to stay in great shape he joined a gym and made fitness a very import routine in his life. Donald also enjoyed entertaining people and making them laugh with his jokes and smooth moves on the dance floor. He was a Comedian by nature and was the life of any party. Donald's smile, laughter and sense of humor will be Miss by all that had the pleasure of meeting him.


He leaves to cherish his memories two daughters, Patricia Gillespie and Elvira Briscoe, two step children Maria Hodges, Alonzo Oler, three sisters, Delores Cooper (Joseph, brother in-law), Stella Brown (Willie, brother in-law), Mary Sheldon, nine grandchildren John Gillespie Jr, Jerone Gillespie, Deja Carter-Smalls, Rolland Briscoe, Sierra Maiden, Shana Maiden, Jeffrey Holden, Beaux Holden, Quae Holden, five great grands and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends one of which he adored so much, his girlfriend, Benita Cassel. He was preceded in death by his son Donald James Smalls Jr, his twin brother, Arnold Smalls and his Sister Rosetta White



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July 2, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Nicole M. Bartlett Funeral Home & Cremations, Inc.
4406 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140

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