Mary Theriot Williams, 96

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Mary Theriot Williams

Mary T. Williams, an Oakland Educator and social leader died peacefully among family and friends on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. She was 96 years young.

Mary T., as she was affectionately known by many, was an educator’s educator. She loved her students, the public education system and the rigors of Science. She also loved The Lord.

Mary fought tirelessly to bring excellence to Oakland Public Schools. In the 1960s, she knew Black folks needed to be a large part of the education process. Quietly, she and others started S.E.D.G.E. in her living room. S.E.D.G.E stood for Sunday Evening Discussion Group on Education.

From this modest attempt to bring social justice to the school system and beyond; the ranks of Black teachers, administrators and elected officials began to develop and flourish.

Mary T. Williams was vivacious, outspoken, kind, disciplined and loved the blues. In her 70 years as an Oakland resident, she formed partnerships, carried the torch throughout the community and marshalled many to fight for better schools and administrative integrity.

From the board room to the playing field, Mary T. advocated for the youth of Oakland and the needs of her community. Mary received a special congressional recognition from Rep. Barbara Lee, the Oakland Black Educators Award, Epsilon Phi Zeta (of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.) Woman of the Year and many other awards.

She will be missed. The quiet hour will be held at Fouche’s, 3665 Telegraph Ave., Oakland on Thursday, April 18 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at North Oakland Missionary Baptist Church, 1060 32nd Street, Oakland on Friday April 19 at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Rolling Hills Cemetery, 4100 Hilltop Dr. in Richmond.

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