Mrs. Minnie Pricilla Bell Williams, a Christian woman of abiding faith and boundless enthusiasm, lived a life in vigorous service to her family, church and community. In particular, she will long be remembered in Florence, South Carolina, as a pioneering social servant and champion of human causes.
Minnie, age 92, was born November 15, 1919, in Eastover, South Carolina, to Rufus, Sr. and Susanna Bell, and died on October 31, 2012, at the Lake City Scranton Nursing Home in Scranton, South Carolina.
As a child in Eastover, Minnie attended public schools and was a member of St. Matthew's Baptist Church.
As a young woman in Florence, on January 16, 1946, she married Delaney Williams, a widower with four children: George, Cecile Mae, Cora Ella and Herman. "It was the children that won me over," Minnie would say much later in life, when she'd recall with a smile that becoming a wife had never been her priority. The union lasted 44 years, until the death of her husband on Aug. 20, 1990. And while no offspring were born to the couple, together they reared not only Delaney's two sons and two daughters, but also 14 of Minnie's nieces and nephews.
A passionate advocate of higher education, Minnie earned a bachelor's degree from Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1955. She pursued additional studies at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, Francis Marion University in Florence and the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Morris College in 2002.
Minnie was employed as a teacher in the public schools of Florence and Clarendon counties, a profession that birthed in her a zeal for helping disadvantaged children achieve their dream of going to college. She raised money for scholarships, mentored students through the minefield of college applications and entrance exams, and served as an all-around encourager and facilitator of scholastic ambition.
Throughout her years as an educator and long after her retirement, she worked tirelessly in spiritual and civic endeavors, not only on behalf of the young, but for people in general.
As a decades-long member of Olive Grove Baptist Church in Coward, South Carolina, Minnie served on the Senior Choir, Pastor's Aid Club, Missionary Society and Deaconess Board.
On behalf of her community, Minnie excelled in her duties as:
• President of the Florence Section of the National Council of Negro Women
• Past Matron of the Bright Light #188 Order of Eastern Star
• Daughter Ruler of Liberty Temple #800 (Elks of Florence)
• Coordinator of the Florence County Foster Home
• President of the Morris College Alumni Chapter of Florence and Director of the Morris College Pee Dee Region (in which she was instrumental in establishing the Luns C. Richardson Scholarship Endowment Fund for low-income students);
• Chairperson of the Pee Dee District Deaconesses
• Coordinator of the Bethune-Jones Cosmetology College
• Chairperson for more than 50 years of the Santa Claus Store for needy families, sponsored by the Florence Section of the National Council of Negro Women.
In private, among family, Minnie could be counted on to serve huge meals, tell tall tales, and be both endearing and exasperating in equal measure. But all things considered, Minnie, a woman of courage and charisma, established a legacy in which countless individuals were far better off for having known her.
In addition to her husband, Minnie was preceded in death by five sisters, three brothers, four step-children and two granddaughters.
Left to cherish her memory are: nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, nine great-great-grandchildren, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
The family especially wishes to thank Drucilla Burgess (a granddaughter) and Thomas Melvin Savoy (a nephew) for ensuring Minnie's care and well-being during the final years of her life.
Read Minnie Bell Williams's Obituary and Guestbook on idealfuneral.com.