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Raymond Burrell Special to The Skanner
Published: 12 April 2010

Longtime Portland African American religious leader, civil rights advocate and resident had died at 90. She was the wife of the founding pastor, the late Reverend O. B. Williams of the historic Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland.
Mrs. Willia Ida Jackson Williams was born February 4, 1920, in Winnsboro, La., to the late Deacon W.M. Jackson and Mother Eliza Doyle Jackson. She was the fourth child born to the family and the only girl. Funeral services will be held, Monday, April 12 at the Vancouver Avenue Church in North Portland.
Mrs. Williams was educated in the public schools of Winnsboro, and continued her education at Grambling University where she received her B.A. degree in Education. She taught elementary school in Louisiana and soon after met her future husband, the Rev. Dr. Oliver Booker (O.B.) Williams. They were married on Jan. 23, 1944.
Dr. and Mrs. Williams joined the prayer band of people who were praising and worshipping God in Burton Homes under the leadership of Pastor James Brown in 1944 and in March 1945 they became the Pastor and First Lady of this small group of Christians who later moved from Burton Homes in Vancouver, WA to Portland.
Mrs. Williams affectionately referred to as "Madam" by Dr. Williams, was an integral part of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church. She served in a variety of capacities over the years in roles such as: Superintendent of the Beginners Department of the Sunday School; Director of the Senior Choir; Youth Ensemble Choir; Williams Choralers: Junior Women's Mission Department, and President of the Music Department.
She taught Religious Education at the Highland Baptist Church for more than 30 years, received her Teaching Certification for Elementary and Jr. High School in 1953, and served as a Community Counselor at King School.
She was the Vice President and Fitness Leader for Church Women United of Oregon for three years. She also served as a Fitness Consultant in a variety of other capacities. In the State Convention Mrs. Williams served as President of the State Mission II Department. In the National Convention she served as Supervisor and Consultant for the National Junior Women's Auxiliary, President of the National Minister's Wives Auxiliary, and attended the International Women's Conference for six consecutive years.
Mrs. Williams was also instrumental in supporting the following activities: Children's sponsorship in foreign countries; Mother's Day Tea; and established Mission Encounter Day as a way of discussing the Bible in Small Groups and having a larger group meeting with feedback sessions.
Mrs. Williams received a variety of awards and recognitions throughout her life. She was recognized for her tireless service and determination to serve God, her church, her family, her community, and the world well. She was also known for providing excellent care for her mother, Mrs. Eliza Jackson until her death.
Mrs. Williams was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. O.B. Williams who passed away on May 18, 1993. She joined him in leaving this earthly life on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 11:50 p.m. She leaves to mourn her loss several relatives: Bessie Green, her niece who was also a tremendous care-giver, of Portland; Alexis Jackson of Atlanta, GA; Melvin (Hattie) Jackson of Baltimore, MD; Felton (Leotria) Jackson and Elsie (Johnnie) Sims of Winnsboro, LA; Alicia (Don) Buford, Eddie (Janice) Jackson, Lynn Jackson, Sheila Jackson, and Sylvia Jackson of Los Angeles, CA; a host of great-nieces and nephews; and a number of very loving close friends too numerous to name.

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