ROBERTA ERNESTINE RAIFORD WILLIAMS was born on June 8, 1926 in Smithfield, North Carolina. She was the second of four children born to Sylvester "Jack" Raiford and Lillian Sanders Raiford, Roberta attended the Johnston County Training School. Upon graduating from High School, she matriculated at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina as a Home Economics Major graduating in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science degree. As a student at Shaw she was known to be one who possessed academic excellence and a high moral character. On the campus, she gained the reputation for being "The Lil' Matchmaker." She enjoyed giving the young ladies in her practice cottage the "hookup" with the young men in the Shaw University School of Divinity. One such couple who reaped the benefit of Roberta's matchmaking antics while attending Shaw University was the late Rev. Dr. James and Mrs. Bertha Everette, Dr. Everette was the former pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church of Turners Station. She fondly calls their son Daniel, her Godson.
Roberta accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at the tender age of twelve. During a time when churches held service once or twice a month, every Sunday she would find herself in worship at either Galilee Baptist Church or St. Peters Disciples Church of Christ.
Her professional career as an elementary school teacher began in the schools of Rutledge, Georgia, Years later, her love for children led her to work as a substitute teacher for the Baltimore City Public Schools and later organize and direct the "Little Angels Day Care" which was housed in Zion Baptist Church. She also taught Pre-K students at the faith Presbyterian Church on Loch Raven Blvd. Roberta's love for children and music led her to direct the Junior Choir at Zion Baptist for fifteen years.
While in Rutledge, Georgia she met and later married the Rev. Robert Moses Williams.
Her marriage to Rev. R. Moses Williams, placed on her the responsibility and honor of serving as the First lady of First Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, in Lexington Tennessee; Zion Baptist Church and The Prince of Peace Baptist Church of Baltimore Maryland. She was a pro at balancing the responsibilities of church and home while still being able to participate in various religious and civic organizations. At the Prince of Peace Mother Williams has served as a member of the choir and assistant musician, member of the Adult Sunday Class and group At the Adult Sunday Class, and group leader of the Missionary Ministry for more 25 years spearheading evangelistic outreach efforts and the Holiday Clothing and Food Basket Drive. She diligently toiled in God's vineyard with her best friend, confidant, help-meet and partner in ministry, until God called Pastor Williams home to eternal rest in August of 1991.
Roberta devoted her life to helping others wherever there was a need. As a missionary, she carried the word of Salvation and the message of God's love at home and abroad. Foreign mission trips included, Haiti, Guyana and Jamaica Caracas Venezuela.
Roberta Williams served as a Clean-Block Captain, one of Mrs. Santa's helpers, March of Dimes Block Captain, American Heart Association Block Captain and Kidz Night Inn Volunteer.
Her hobbies included bowling, singing, knitting and crocheting, spending time with her family and friends and traveling. The trip of her lifetime was to Rome, Italy and the Holy Land. The highlight of that trip was to see the Vatican and be baptized in the Jordan River just as Christ had been baptized. She states that she had a glorious time coming out of the water, praising and thanking God for saving that twelve-year old little girl so many years ago.
Her love for her family and for the Lord were her compass for life. Her generosity of spirit, selfless service and a soul motivated by love will live on through the lives of those she leaves behind. Left to cherish her memory and perpetuate her legacy of love are: her devoted daughter, Ramona Dianne; her sons, Moses, Jr. (Denise), Samuel Bruce and Marcus Alan; six grandchildren, Cameron, Christen, Robyn, Robert Michael, Kimberly and Christopher; one great-granddaughter, Cheyenne; two sisters, Mrs. Beatrice Jackson of Chattahoochee, Florida and Mrs. Lucille Jones of Bronx, New York; Dr. Alfred C.D. and Dr. Lillian Vaughn and family who have been a part of our lives for fifty years; Godson, Dr. Daniel Everette; a special daughter, Antoinette Phillips; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and The Prince of Peace Baptist Church Family.
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