Dolores Marie Williams was always the “go-to” person. She experienced every inch of life in the time she was here and had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica and Brazil during the later part of her life. Williams died on December 2. She was 54.
Williams was born in on June 28, 1957, in Portland, Ore., to Charles and Loretta Williams. She was described as always a happy, outgoing child. She loved to perform as she always had big dreams.
Williams was raised in North Philadelphia with her older sister Claudia and her little brother Anthony. She spent her childhood on Napa Street, creating bonds with dear friends who remained in her life forever. She was a faithful member of the Jackson 5 Fan Club.
Williams had an ability to understand how to navigate through various areas of life. She began Women Organized to Motivate, Empower and Nurture (W.O.M.E.N.) Inc. in 2004 and inspired a collective effort with her sister Claudia and sister-friends to develop and empower themselves and others.
Her family said she was a fascinating person. She had an extraordinary ability to connect instantly with people she met. She was open and honest. Family was very important to her. She believed in festive environments and celebration. She loved exquisite things and believed life should be lived to the fullest. She loved to sing, loved to laugh and was a devoted line-dancer.
She was also a part of the Phyllis Wheatley Lodge’s Top Cats Drill Team. In addition to modeling, she performed in a local production of “Hello Dolly.” Dolores played Irene Malloy and the whole cast was invited to New York by Pearl Bailey.
Williams went on to graduate from J.W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in 1974. When Williams was young, she wanted to be a lawyer and attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). However, she began working and married in 1977, giving birth to Jacquelyn Marie Tisdale in 1979 and Stephanie Joy Tisdale in 1983.
Williams was a devoted mother. She experienced the joys of motherhood early on and spent her entire life dedicating her energy to the ones she called “My Girls.”
Her family said she would sew them pretty dresses, make them fresh foods, and devote her time and energy to nurturing their spirits.
Their education was most important to her and she always supported their academic and extracurricular activities as well as their spiritual and emotional development. She had a natural ability to guide and support her children and the life they now lead is a reflection of her extraordinary character.
In the early 80s, she joined Christian Stronghold Baptist Church and began to use her gifts through evangelism and prison ministry.
Williams always wanted to live outside of the box and was determined to achieve her professional and life goals.
She went from working at Temple Hospital to working in housing and property management, helping to sustain housing opportunities for low-income families. She worked throughout the city with Tenant Action Group, Haddington Townhomes and later Montgomery and Abbotsford Homes.
While her girls were still young she began taking classes at Temple University and was determined to pursue her dreams of a college education.
She was admitted to Southern New Hampshire University’s Masters of Science Program and graduated with an M.S. in Community Economic Development in 2002. She also made Triumph Baptist Church her new spiritual home during this time and continued to study and deepen her relationship with God.
Williams organized the first holiday gift fundraiser at the Overington House, a transitional living facility for homeless women and children, and commissioned the creation of a mural of empowerment within the facility.
During this time, she also began nurturing another dream: New Beginnings Financial Services. Growing from the idea of self-transformation, New Beginnings included a framework for life-coaching, parenting-development, financial wellness, and community empowerment workshops.
New Beginnings was established in 2009, as a Credit Education and Sustainability Coaching Consultant Group, specializing in providing educational services and supporting the personal financial literacy needs of the people who are facing bankruptcy; countless clients would later testify to her intelligence and solution strategies.
Williams also began to explore her interest in real estate. She decided to move to Charlotte, N.C. and attended real estate school while living away from home for the first time.
In Charlotte, she was fearless in her new surroundings and continued to expand her network of friends and associates.
She also began to experience deeper moments of reflection and transformation. She began to study the “science of the mind” and started to learn more about herself, her past and what she wanted her future to be.
She returned to Philadelphia and began to continue on her journey of spiritual awakening and understanding. Upon her return from Charlotte, she joined Enon Baptist Church and received the Right Hand of Fellowship on her birthday in 2011.
Williams leaves to mourn: children, Stephanie Joy Tisdale and Jacquelyn “Zahrah Aya” Tisdale; parents, Charles and Loretta Williams; siblings, Claudia Gordon and Anthony Williams; sister-in-law, Pamela Williams and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and cousins.
Services were held on December 10 at Triumph Baptist Church. Lenwood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.