Arnetha N. Williams, 91, of Philadelphia, a longtime educator in the city's public schools and a dedicated church member, died Friday, July 22, at home of complications from an earlier stroke.
Born to Luther and Lula Bates-Williams, Ms. Williams received religious training at a very early age. She was 8 when her mother died. She turned for solace to Miller Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, where she participated in Sunday school and the Baptist Young People's Union.
Later, she joined the church choir, raised money for scholarships, planned the women's group lunches, and researched and wrote the church's history.
"This document is still used as a point of reference by the church," her family said.
Ms. Williams received her 50-year church membership commendation in 1999, and stayed active until the spring of 2003, when she became ill.
Ms. Williams graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls. She earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Wilberforce University in Ohio, a master's degree in education from Temple University, and her administrative certification from Cheyney University.
Her first teaching experience was with Faith Tabernacle Congregation, a private school on North Fifth Street in Philadelphia. Five years later, she joined the public school system and was assigned to teach at Vare Junior High School in South Philadelphia.
"Her involvement with the students as a classroom teacher and student government sponsor proved to be both gratifying and inspirational," her family said.
Over the next four decades, Ms. Williams served as a teacher, reading specialist, reading supervisor, and vice principal at various city schools. Former School Superintendent Constance E. Clayton recognized her work with a special commendation.
During her leisure time, Ms. Williams enjoyed sewing and traveling the world.
She was active in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and the Wilberforce Alumni Association.
Although she never married, "Aunt NeNe," as she was called, often served as a surrogate parent to her niece and nephews after the death of her brother. Besides her niece and nephews, she is survived by many cousins.
A viewing starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, July 30, will be followed by a 10 a.m. funeral service at Miller Memorial Baptist Church, 1518 N. 22nd St., Philadelphia 19121. Burial is in Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler. Donations may be made to the Miller Memorial church at the address above.