Nashville Mourns McDonald Williams, a Great Educator and Humanitarian

Dr. McDonald Williams

NASHVILLE, TN — August 15, 2019 — Born on November 13, 1917, Dr. McDonald Williams passed away August 11, 2019 in Atlanta. He was 101 1/2 years old.

His life was a triumphant, rich story of family, religion and academic achievement. He passed away as he lived – peacefully and with love ones nearby.  His kind heart was  well known to all who ever met him. He is already missed by everyone who knew him, but especially by those included in McDonald’s extended family. 

Dr. Williams was a lifelong educator with over forty-five years of experience teaching English at the university level,  he held a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University.  Dr. McDonald Williams became director of the Honors Center at Tennessee State University in 1966 and held that position until his retirement in 1988. He was a 30 year distinguished  English professor at Tennessee State University and The University Honors Center was named the McDonald Williams Honors Center on October 31, 1995 in his honor.  After his retirement, he served as Assistant Editor of The African Church Review and as a consultant to the African Methodist Episcopal Church  General Board Commission on Seminaries, Universities, Colleges, and Schools.   Additionally, he consulted on a variety of literary projects ranging from government documents to academic dissertations and religious works.

He was active in numerous civic organizations and received awards and recognition for his community involvement, He also served on the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. While living in Nashville, he was a member of St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church working with in the local Lay Organization and serving for many years as Vice-Chair of the Steward Board.  After relocating to Atlanta in the early 2000s, he joined Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church  and was  a very active member of that congregation.  

Dr. Williams was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.  

He is survived by his loving wife of 75 years, Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, a retired General Officer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The late Dr. McDonald Williams and Dr. Jayme Coleman Williams have been life  members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church which grew out of the Free African Society established by  Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others  in Philadelphia in 1787.

Also mourning his passing is  devoted daughter Donna M. Williams, grandson Douglass P. Selby (Pam), two great-granddaughters Jamye and Payton Selby; niece Freida Minga and a host of extended family and close friends.

ATLANTA: Visitation with the family of Dr. Williams will be on Thursday, August 15 from 5:30-7 pm at Murray Brothers Funeral Home, 1199 Utoy Springs Rd, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30331. 

Funeral will be held on Friday, August 16, at 11 am at Big Bethel AME Church, 220 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303. The Rt. Rev. William P. DeVeaux, eulogist and the Rev. Dr. John Foster, Ph.D., is the pastor. 

NASHVILLE ARRANGEMENTS: Public viewing for Dr. Williams will be held on Sunday, August 18, 2019, 1-4pm at Lewis & Wright Funer al Directors, 2500 Clarksville Pk, Nashville, TN 37208. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s Omega Service will be at 5 pm at St. John AME Church, 1822 Formosa St, Nashville, TN 37208. Chi Boule’s Memorial Service will follow, the Rev. Lisa Hammonds is the pastor. Visitation with the family will commence until 7 pm. Internment on Monday, August 19, 2019 at 11 am at Historic Greenwood Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in honor of Dr. McDonald Williams to Wilberforce University, 1055 N. Bickett Rd., P.O. Box 1001, Wilberforce, OH 45384 or online at https://wilberforce.networkforgood.com/projects/71637-wilberforce-unite.

Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors, 2500 Clarksville Pk, Nashville, TN 37208, 615-255-2371.

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