Memorial service to honor education advocate Marie K. Williams
AmNews Staff Reports | 3/15/2018, 5:36 p.m.
Friends, family and admirers of education advocate Marie K. Williams will celebrate her life and legacy during a memorial service in her Mount Vernon hometown, Saturday, March 17, 2018, at Macedonia Baptist Church, located at 141 S. 9th Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, the Rev. Dr. Darren M. Morton, will officiate the service.
Williams was born to Earlie Sr. and Laura B. Kearney Davis, March 18, 1932, in Warrenton, N.C. The Kearneys were sharecroppers and had nine children: Helen, Earlie Jr., Willa Mae, William McKinley, Mary Celeste, Marie, Bobby (her twin brother), Ethel M. and Josephine, and seven from Earlie’s previous marriage: Charlie, Essex, Lucy, Pearl, Lucille, Bessie and Ruth.
At a young age Williams realized the importance of acquiring an education. She would walk for miles to and from school each day through rain, snow and heat to attend school. May 23, 1950, Williamsbecame the first of her siblings to earn a high school diploma after graduating from John Hawkins
High School in Warren County, N.C.
In the early 1950s, Williams moved to Westchester County, N.Y., where she met and married the late Charles Williams. The couple raised their two daughters, Terrie M. Williams and Yolanda Williams, in the city the couple loved and called home, Mount Vernon.
Williams began her professional career as a community liaison worker in a dropout prevention program at Mount Vernon High School. She received her BA in Social Science from the College of New Rochelle in 1979, and her MA in Social Work from Fordham University in 1985. She was employed in the Mount Vernon City School District for 34 years before retiring in 2002.
For more than three decades, Williams was an active and supportive advocate for the children of the MVCSD. Her cadre of friends who reigned from every corner and ethnicity of the city devoted their lives to improving the quality of education in their communities. The goal was always to prepare young aspiring children to become not only educationally astute but model citizens wherever their careers took them. College graduates, many of whom she mentored, often stopped by to see Williams (affectionately known as “Mama Marie”) for a hug, or just to see how she was doing.
Over her career Williams received numerous awards, such as the March of Dimes Mother of the Year Celebration, the Mount Vernon PTA Council Tribute, the New York Chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers, the Mount Vernon Distinguished Citizens’ Award and the Queen of Sheba Award from The Afrikan Brotherhood.
She has been featured in the College of New Rochelle Magazine, Live the Legacy CNR in the 21st Century, the New York Daily News and The Journal News. Williams received letters of commendations from President Bill Clinton and Susan L. Taylor, former editor of Essence Magazine, for her tireless energy and commitment to the youth in our community. Terrie M. Williams and Yolanda Williams-Johnson established the Marie K. Williams Scholarship for Mount Vernon High School graduates.
As a Mount Vernon resident and school advocate she worked tirelessly with the community to fosterand maintain a positive image of the school system. Williams was an avid reader, a warrior who fought alongside parents to demand that their children receive a quality education. She was active in the local, county and state PTA organizations and served in numerous official capacities. Her sensitivity and warmth, her willingness to help others and her ability to relate to all the residents left an indelible legacy in the City of Mount Vernon.
Williams is survived by daughters Terrie M. Williams and Yolanda (Thomas) Johnson; her sister, Josephine (Lee) Floyd; grandson Rocky Ephraim; numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of lifelong friends.
The family states: “In lieu of flowers and in the true spirit of our dearly departed Marie, we encourage donations be sent to the Marie K. Williams Scholarship for Mount Vernon High School graduates.”
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