Ernest L. Williams
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Portsmouth - Ernest Lafayette "Lafay" Williams of 8 Early Drive Portsmouth, and a resident of Parsons residential Care Center, Chesapeake went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, February 2, 2013. He was born July 18, 1922 in Holland, Virginia to the late Henry and Arie Bell Williams. He was a member of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Suffolk and a graduate of Nansemond County Training School, class of 1941. Additionally, he received training and licensure as a barber, commercial truck driver, taxi/limousine operator and motion picture operator. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1946.
Mr. Williams relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 1947 and retired from the New York Transit Authority as a Mechanical Engineer. He worked over 11 years as a Rigger in the Naval Shipyards of Norfolk, VA. and Brooklyn, NY. Over the course of his career, Mr. Williams worked as a taxicab driver, postal driver and barber. In his later years, he moved to Portsmouth at his son's urging and insistence. Throughout his life, he enjoyed countless hours of any and all major league baseball, especially the New York Mets and Yankees. Some of his most fond memories include attending multiple baseball games in one day and a chance meeting with Jackie Robinson at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn.
Mr. Williams loved every peanut he ever met and ate them on the regular. He enjoyed reading the Bible, devotions and was known as a righteous man whose prayers availed much. In 1959, he met the prettiest girl in Brooklyn, Helen Bernice Holmes and chose her to be his bride. They enjoyed 49 years of marital bliss until her death in 2009. To this union, two children were born.
Mr. Williams loved the Lord and worked diligently in church throughout his life. As a young boy, he attended Mt. Sinai Baptist Church where his father, the legendary "Uncle Henry" was a deacon. Upon moving to New York, he joined Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Brooklyn. He remained an active member of Mt. Lebanon serving as an usher, deacon, mini van driver, member of the Men's Brotherhood and Sick & Shut-In Committee, Men's Day Chairperson, and volunteer handy man for a period of 50 years. After moving to Portsmouth in 1999, he became a member of St. John Baptist Church, serving as deacon. More recently, he returned to his home church, Mt. Sinai, Suffolk. Mr. Williams was a lifetime member of the NAACP and a Master Mason of Widows Son Lodge No. 11, Prince Hall Affiliation, State of New York for 62 years.
Mr. Williams was predeceased by his parents and was the last of sixteen siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Ernestine and son, Portsmouth Fire Fighter Edwin (Evette). "Let it be known that we thank God for giving us the greatest Dad in the world." He leaves to cherish his memory two granddaughters, Courtney Leigh and Michelle Nicole, great grandson Little Mike and great granddaughter Mikaela. The love of family was important to him and he served as patriarch of the Williams Family for many years. There are cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends who will mourn his loss.
A wake will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 8, at Fisher Funeral Home, Effingham Street. A celebration of life with the Rev. William L. Lang officiating will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 9, at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Suffolk. Interment will be at the church cemetery. The body will be at the church one hour before the ceremony. The family would like to thank the staff of Parsons Residential and Drs. Zahan Zev and Leonard DiLeo.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Feb. 8, 2013