Memorial service held to honor the life and legacy of Marie K. Williams
Friends, family and admirers of education advocate Marie K. Williams celebrated her life and legacy during a memorial service in her Mount Vernon hometown, Saturday, March 17, at Macedonia Baptist Church. Senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, the Rev. Dr. Darren M. Morton, officiated the service.
Some of the guest speakers included Joe Parisi, publisher of the Mount Vernon Inquirer, former Mount Vernon mayor Clinton Young, Linda Nigro and many others.
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, Williams became the first of her siblings to earn a high school diploma after graduating from John Hawkins.
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.
As a Mount Vernon resident and school advocate she worked tirelessly with the community to foster and 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.
Former Mt. Vernon mayor, Clinton Young, speaking at the memorial service
Marie Williams with Opra Winfrey and family members