Former Philadelphia NAACP leader J. Whyatt "Jerry" Mondesire, died Sunday night at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. This news comes shortly after reports of Mondesire being taken to Chestnut Hill Hospital last Friday due to complications of a brain aneurysm.
His family released a public statement that did not say how he died but offered their thanks for everyone’s “love and support.”
Mondesire was central figure in Philadelphia media and activism circles. He started his career as a reporter and editor with The Inquirer, and was later the publisher of the Philadelphia Sun. In 1991, he became the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP.
In 2014, after an NAACP national council investigation over allegations of misuse of local chapter funds, Mondesire and three other local board members were suspended.
Upon hearing of Mondesire’s death, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson took to social media to describe him as “leader and giant in the City of Philadelphia who will be missed.”
Known for his signature cowboy hats and pointed shoes, Mondesire had an outsized persona — and strong opinions about Philadelphia life, which he expressed openly.
In 2005, he wrote a Philadelphia Sun op-ed about former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, calling him “a mediocre talent.”