“Children are a gift from God; they are his reward. … Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” (Psalm 127:3,5 TLB)
God gave a gift to Julius and Hattie Williams with the birth of their beautiful, vivacious daughter Josiepearl. The first of nine children (five boys, four girls), she unexpectedly departed this world on May 30, 2021, at age 90. Immediate family who preceded her in death include loving and devoted husband, Marcus; her talented and beautiful daughter, Marcuselle; parents, Julius and Hattie Williams; brothers, Thornell Williams, Sr., Julius D. Williams, Jr., and Rudolph Williams, Sr.; and infant sister, Nadine Williams.
Josiepearl’s mother, an accomplished church pianist taught her how to read music as well as play by ear. Josiepearl often joked about how there was no place to hide from this instruction. By age 9, she was singing, directing choirs and accompanying others. No matter how poor or how great a soloist was, she could assist them. As the number of siblings grew, her parents formed the Williams Family Singers, a gospel group that performed at a variety of secular and sacred venues. Quite often, Josiepearl was the star attraction.
Her exemplary character was shaped by her parents, who were devout Christians. At an early age, she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Throughout life, this commitment was her primary motivation, and she passed this strong faith on to her own children, both biological and spiritual.
Informal and formal learning were highly valued in the Williams family. Josiepearl attended school in a one-room schoolhouse, where her mother taught children from grades K-8. An avid reader, accomplished gymnast and “tomboy”, she loved to tag along with her father as he worked on the family farm. He used those opportunities to teach her inventiveness, honor, wisdom and razor-sharp critical thinking skills. Because their home didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing, Josiepearl and her sister, routinely performed chores such as tending fires; milking cows; attempting to pick cotton; boiling water for washing dishes, baths and laundry; and mentoring younger siblings. Many evenings were spent studying by lamplight.
In high school, Josiepearl ‘s charisma led to selection by her peers as homecoming queen during senior year. She followed in the steps of her mother by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, class of 1953. As a college student she pledged Delta Sigma Theta. She also learned alto saxophone and met and fell in love with the assistant student director, a handsome young man named Marcus Harold Whitfield. After college they went their separate ways but Divine intervention brought them back together. They got married in August 1959 at the Tougaloo College Chapel. There were no musicians available to play for the wedding ceremony. In true Josiepearl style, she recorded herself on reel-to-reel tape performing all the music and enlisted her brother-in-law to play back the recordings on cue from the organ loft of the chapel.
After marriage, Marcus and Josiepearl earned graduate degrees from Oklahoma State University, but when children arrived, they agreed that she’d would become a stay-at-home mother. Josiepearl coined the term “home engineer” to describe this choice and used it as a chance to showcase her creativity and household management skills. She enjoyed growing houseplants and vegetables, invented unique hair and fashion styles and was legendary for re-purposing unlikely items as flower pots. She and Marcus continued the Williams family tradition of formal and informal education to impart life lessons to their daughters and instill a strong sense of individuality, moral compass and faith in God.
In 1970, Josiepearl and Marcus moved from Mississippi to California where they raised their three daughters and encouraged them to develop their own musical talents. Josiepearl was their most vocal, loyal supporter and always attended their performances and tours. During the 1980s, she chaperoned for an overseas tour with the Oakland Youth Symphony and shook hands with the queen of Jordan. She also traveled to Europe to watch the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra win an international competition and receive a key to the city of Vienna Austria. Her warm personality prompted many friends and acquaintances to call her “Mom.”
She and her husband became partners with Kenneth Copeland ministries. Josiepearl commenced learning and studying the word of God with the same gusto and drive that had formerly been applied to academics and music. She quickly became known as a faith, praise and prayer warrior. Her faith was always front and foremost in her interactions with others. After the deaths of husband Marcus in 1995; and daughter, Marcuselle in 1998, she served as a pillar of strength, joy and hope and often ended up comforting and preaching to people who had come to comfort her.
Family members, who loved and cherished her presence, offer exultations of praise to God for the legacy and inspiration she left behind. Josiepearl is survived by two daughters, four siblings, three sisters-in-law; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and honorary children.
Funeral Services will be on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Peoples Funeral Home Chapel, 886 North Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi with burial at Williams Family Cemetery, Ridgeland, Mississippi.
The services will be Livestream by way of Peoples Funeral Home, Jackson, MS FaceBook page which can also be obtain through this website by going to our home page and clicking on the FaceBook Icon.
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