Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Black History Month: Part of my family is gone

Today’s guest post is by Lou Ann Brown, pastor’s wife, mother of 5, RN, friend to refugees, immigrants, and international students.


This is in honor of Oraletta Williams, a woman born and raised in the coal mining areas of West Virginia. She became a follower of Christ, was a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, and was part of our missions Bible Study. She became my friend and then part of our family.

Oraletta isn’t famous in this world’s eye. She never made headline news or even made it into public tributes during Black History Month, but she was worthy of all that and more.

Oraletta was our friend, our sister, who was used of the Lord to encourage us, exhort us, laugh with us. She trained as a Biblical counselor after her retirement, and she continued to minister until her homegoing.

My son wrote this tribute on his blog:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When I was growing up, I would come home from school for dinner, and every so often, I would find Oraletta and Roosevelt Williams there. I wasn’t sure how we knew them, but it always seemed like they were just part of the family. They loved life and let it show.

It was always a joyful event when they came for dinner. I laughed more with them than with anyone I can remember. Those dinners were few and far between, but we always seemed to pick up where we left off, as if no time had passed.

Now those dinners are a memory. Oraletta succumbed to her cancer on November 2. She blogged about her “adventure,” and wrote in May 2007:

I don’t know if any of you have experienced having a second chance at life after having survived cancer twice. I must say that everything–and I do mean everything–becomes precious. You start to notice the little things that you used to take for granted.

And, oh yes! Remember those things called birthday? Oh Dear Loved Ones, when the Almighty gives you another chance at life (not just one, but two: remember the breast cancer five years ago), whatever you do, seize every moment to give him all the glory, honor, and praise.

And just remember one thing. If you never get sick a day in your life, if you have all the money you could ever want, if you have all that this earthly life can offer, just remember one thing. The Lord Jesus is truly worthy to be praised. No matter where you are in life or what you have, it is all useless without Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Her last post was titled Oraletta is Home, speaking of her return from the hospital. Now she is home, and a part of my family is gone.

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4 Responses to “Black History Month: Part of my family is gone”

  1. Thanks for sharing precious wise words of wisdom from Oraletta! May the Lord be magnified continually for the work in her life and in ours! It is His grace and mercy to exhort through her to see every moment of grace that He lavishes upon us and to not take them for granted. There is nothing more precious than Jesus! It is a wonder to glimpse Him in the broken pots of clay that reflect His glory – not to us Lord, but to you ALONE! Thank you for these sweet words of encouragement! May He give us eyes of grace that sees His hand everywhere we look!

  2. Yvonne Price Windom

    Thank you for sharing such kind words about Mom. Once again it is “Black History Month”,year 2014. It is so hard to believe that I have been without Mom for five years now. I am writing a “Remembering The Past” essay, and of course I’m remembering Mom, so I googled her name and found this. It is like a warm hug from God Himself, allowing me to hear her words. Thank you Father. Yes, she is gone, but will never be forgotten!

    • Yvonne, Thank you very much for taking me back to this piece of Mrs. Williams’ story. I’d love to see your “Remembering the Past.” Is in online?

    • Lou Ann Brown

      What a delight to see that you saw this. I think I tried to email you William’s post on his blog. We had gone over to their house her last New Years Eve with the kids home for the holidays. She had babysat when our twins were wee ones and before our daughter was born and here they were college seniors at the time. I know she love you and your family so much and often spoke of how proud she was of your sons. Knowing that you saw this and were encouraged blessed my heart. I had pulled it up and read it to Will and the family 2/29/16 as we were visiting and remembering still your dear mama.

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