Saturday, March 17, 2018, friends, family and admirers of education advocate Marie K. Williams celebrated her life and legacy during a memorial service in her Mount Vernon hometown, at the Macedonia Baptist Church. Senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Darren M. Morton, officiated the service.
“Mama Marie” was the mother of PR guru, author and mental health advocate Terrie M. Williams.
The North Carolinian was born to sharecroppers Earlie Sr. and Laura B. Kearney Davis, March 18, 1932, and was one of nine children. In the early 1950s, Marie moved to Westchester County, N.Y., where she met and married the late Charles Williams. The couple raised their two daughters, Terrie and Yolanda Williams-Johnson, in the city the couple loved and called home, Mount Vernon.
Marie 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, Marie had been an active and supportive advocate for the children of the MVCSD. Her cadre of friends, 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 people to become not only educationally astute but also model citizens, wherever their careers took them. College graduates, many of whom she mentored, often stopped by to see Mama Marie for a hug or just to see how she was doing.
Over her career, Marie 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 Distinguish Citizens’ Award and the Queen of Sheba Award from the Afrikan Brotherhood.
Also featured in many newspapers and magazines, Marie 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 the community. Terrie M. Williams and Yolanda Williams-Johnson established the Marie K. Williams Scholarship for the Mount Vernon High School Graduates.
As a Mount Vernon resident and school advocate Marie worked tirelessly within the community to foster and maintain a positive image of the school system. An avid reader, she was 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.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be sent to the Marie K. Williams Scholarship for Mount Vernon High School Graduates.
For more information, contact www.madelinemccray.com.