Erma Birdell Miller Williams was blessed to spend 100 years of life with family and friends. During that time, she loved, served, prayed, studied and mentored. She also taught, led and adopted children. In many ways, she saved lives. She gave wise counsel and even underwrote the tuition on behalf of promising students.
Williams was born on March 20, 1921 to father, Officer Napoleon Skinner and mother, Lillie E. Miller. She was then raised by her grandparents, Ellis and Minerva Green in Hillsboro, Texas.
In lieu of working on her family's farmland during the day, her grandparents gifted her a formal education at the nearby elementary school. Williams took that time to excel in track and field, math and reading. Her love of education also led her to earn the title of salutatorian of her high school class.
Those closest to Williams would describe her as no nonsense, funny, charming and practical. She could also be very soft and loving through her letter writing and love of holiday cards.
Erma Birdell Miller Williams would often receive gifts from loved ones and refuse to open them because she liked the gift wrapping. She found beauty in the simplest things.
Her noted accomplishments and memberships include faithful membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated and forty-eight illustrious years of membership of St Mary’s Cathedral Catholic Daughters of the Americas and a Founding member of St Mary’s Cathedral Egg Ministry. She was also a founding member of the JJ Seabrook Neighborhood Association.
Williams retired from a stellar thirty-two year career as an educator through Austin Independent School District. Her ongoing passion for education led her to then volunteer as a substitute teacher at the Cathedral School of Saint Mary’s located in Austin, Texas.
Her educational accomplishments include a bachelor's degree in Home Economics and Elementary Education from then Tillotson College, located in Austin, Texas and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Prairie View A&M University, located in Prairie View, Texas. In addition to teaching, she also served as a principal on the elementary level in the most rural parts of Texas.
Because of her wisdom and experience as an educator, mentor and parent, Williams was featured in the Austin American Statesman’s history section twice by writer and historian Michael Barnes. The article was written in 2015 and spanned her then 93 years of life and legacy.
Michael Barnes went on to feature Williams in both of his books, Indelible Austin and Indelible Austin -More selected Histories.
She was also tapped to participate in an audio interview with non-profit organization, Story-Corps. The interview spanned her life and legacy and also included jewels of wisdom. Ujima Magazine recognized her for her contribution to rural Travis County education.
Erma Birdell Miller Williams is survived by
Son: Willie G. Williams and his wife Mary, Austin TX , Daughter, Linda K. Williams, Austin TX and two Goddaughters Patricia Ann Davis and husband Willie Davis Jr. both of Aurora CO and Eleanor Perkins, Austin TX. and Grandsons William Fredrick Houston and Hebert Graffin both of Houston TX, Sister -in -law Bernice Miller, Nieces Margret Linnen, Pflugerville and Damita Shanklin, Austin and Adopted Granddaughter Carmen A. Tucker, Taylor, Texas;
She is preceded in death by Father: Napleon Skinner, Palestine, TX., Mother: Lillie Miller, Palestine, TX., Grandparents: Ellis and Minerva Green both of Hillsboro, TX. , Brother: Tommie Lee Miller of Austin, TX. , Brother: Willie Miller of Hillsboro, TX. and Sister: Dorothy Hearn of Hillsboro, TX.; Erma Kennedy, Egin TX.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to: Huston-Tillotson University’s WWW. -----Brick Campaign
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