Rev. Mamie Althea Williams (Courtesy photo)

By Joseph Green-Bishop
Special to the AFRO

The Rev. Mamie Althea Williams was an angelic servant of God who during nearly a half century of ministry profoundly and selflessly improved the lives of people throughout the world.

A powerful orator and effective church and civic leader, Rev. Williams, who died recently in her Baltimore County home, performed a major role in progressive social change movements in the United States, Africa, Europe and in the Caribbean.

A graduate of Claflin University in her native South Carolina, and the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., there was little Rev. Williams did not do to help others during her lifetime.

It almost seemed as if she never slept. Her energy and her compassion were boundless. At the root of her work were faith, prayer and an intense belief in the goodness of people. 

Annually, she organized a reception for the widows of ministers who had pastored United Methodist churches in the Baltimore-Washington area.

While some had forgotten these women, Rev. Williams insisted on acknowledging the roles they played in ministry.

She helped raise money to build and open Africa University in Zimbabwe, recognized as one of the finest academic institutions on the African continent.

When the AIDS epidemic first arrived in this country she worked closely with health organizations, and with medical professionals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Levi Watkins to educate members of the public about the disease.

Among her friends and mentors were Bishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Dorothy Height, the Rev. Frank L. Williams, the Rev. Alfreda Wiggins, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Congressman Parren J. Mitchell and others too numerous to list in this writing.

She was born into a God-centered family in Sumter, South Carolina. She and her surviving sister, Mary Mayhan, spoke by phone each evening.

“Mamie was my rock,” said Mrs. Mayhan, a resident of Georgia who like others said the world will miss Rev. Williams immensely.

Nearly two hundred people viewed a memorial service in Baltimore at the Howell Funeral Home honoring the life and deeds of Rev. Williams.

Written tributes were presented to the family by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Rep. Kweisi Mfume and the city of Baltimore. Numerous faith organizations and individuals also presented tributes.

“Her life was a sermon,” said the honorable Robert M. Bell, former Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

“Rev. Williams was a true servant of God who took her religion seriously,” said Judge Bell, whose mother and brothers had been eulogized by Rev. Williams.

“She helped those she encountered in life,” Judge Bell said. “The life and work of Rev. Mamie Williams will be forever celebrated in the hearts and minds of those she touched. She shall live on.”