SYLVANUS T. "VANNIE" WILLIAMS
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SYLVANUS T. "VANNIE" WILLIAMS, 36, departed this life on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Fort Wayne. Born Nov. 21, 1976, in Fort Wayne, he attended Eastern Star Church, Indianapolis. He is survived by son, Cornelius Lee; daughter, Jada Roberson; mother, Aldora Russell; brothers, Marvin Patterson Jr., Bruce Russell Jr. and Jermaine Russell; sister, Kawanya Green (Brian) Muhammad; and a host of other relatives and friends. Service is noon Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at Kingdom Door Worship Center, 1004 E. Pontiac St., Fort Wayne, with visitation from 10 a.m. to noon. Arrangements by Nelson Memorial Gardens, Inc.

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Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Nov. 8, 2013.
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40 entries
December 8, 2013
Vannie, the small amount of time I've got to know you seemed like a lifetime. I think about that weekend we all kicked it, man I had a ball I never laughed so hard. And them burgers you made lol we thought you set a fire up in there...they was bomb tho.I enjoyed every bit of your presence. The love you had for my friend goddaughter and your family showed every min I was around there is no doubt the love you had for them. Thank you for being that Great Father to J. Thank you for being there for Eb lol that girl know she crazy bout you that's all she ever talk about "Vannie". Watch over them help her continue to let that light shine. You are truly missed 1 GREAT Son, Father, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Provider, Friend!
Yolanda Dixon
December 8, 2013
Jerry Wise, MA, MS
December 8, 2013
Jerry Wise, MA, MS
December 8, 2013
Jerry Wise, MA, MS
December 7, 2013
Wow.....I don't know where to begin with trying to put any of this emotion into perspective. I have been down with Vannie and family for a long, long time. The one thing I can say first is that Vannie was real. He was such a genuine and sincere person which is so rare. I remember him at maybe age 10 with his pretty eyes and patch of gray hair and I always asked Marv about his patch of gray. He always stood out as being his own person. He didn't want or need to be a follower. I remember back in the day when Vannie and Kawanya would fuss over the TV channels or who's turn it was to have the remote control and Marv, big brother, would huff and puff to go intervene and make an executive decision......this was before Uverse and recording on the DVR!! Nonetheless, Vannie was always just naturally a funny person and everyone loved his semi East Coast accent. I can remember like yesterday the time when he came home before this last time and Momma Russell lived in the apartments off of Anthony and Paulding and he hugged everyone like he always did and you could feel his hug down to your soul. He would always hug you and embrace you and just hold on to you with real love wrapped in his arms. And on this particular day he went outside from being away for years and just held his arms up and out and lifted his head up to the sky and just stood there silent absorbing the sun, the sky, the trees, the birds, and God. I just felt something that day in how deep his appreciation was for the love of family and appreciating life. He adored his mother, his brothers and sister, his children, and his nieces and nephews. I will miss you so much, but God's plans for us will be carried out based on His will. I will miss cooking you lasagna, and salad, and baked chicken or any of you favorites!!! I have so many memories that I will forever hold dear to my heart, because I will always love you as my brother Vannie. RIP.
Lisa Patterson
December 7, 2013
I still can't believe your gone, I've been waiting on your text and still haven't receive it. To have a friend/brother like you was very special, you was always there when I needed to talk and you alway gave the best advice possible. I want to thank you for all the fun times we had growing up, we truly had some good times on plaza when my mom was at work. You will always have special place in me and my family heart. Thank you for your words of widsom and your heart of GOLD. I will never find another friend/brother like you, the pain that I feel right now I just wish I could here your voice to let me know you ok. Boy oh boy I would give anything just to have that last conversation with you. RIP bra you will be truley missed and always LOVED!!!! I'll TAP YO JACK LATER in my Vannie Voice!
Quanikah Macon
December 7, 2013
i didn't get a chance to know u very long but everytime i saw u everyone around u was happy... ur little sayings was always the funniest... and i will never forget about all the times i was taking pictures of the family how u always made me take 20 different pictures cuz u didnt like the one i took previous. even tho most of the time the one u picked was the first one. u was a very respectable man and loved ur kids dearly... RIH Vannie ur missed in our house and lots of others alot
Tiffany Shannon
December 7, 2013
I wanted to be like you when I was a kid, yo homeboys called me little Vannie until sir was born....I been a father to your children like u asked me years ago treating them as my own children....I feel an emptiness knowing I will not beable to see you grow old....when u departed apart of me left this earth with u...its hard to except the reality that u r gone from this earth....my life will not be the same without you.....I love you big brother
Bruce Russell jr
December 7, 2013
My uncle Vannie was an awesome uncle! I remember how much he loved Keisha Cole, my moms chicken, his family, and saying "is that right". He had the longest dreads ever that everybody loved. Although he's gone now, I know he knew we all loved him and we all know he loved us.
Maya Patterson
December 7, 2013
I always asked Sylvanus why he didn't smile more...so he sent me a photo of him smiling..., I know he liked sour hard candy too, so that was his Christmas present, I'm sad I cannot give it to him...
Jerry Wise
December 7, 2013
"Going home" Clean...Vannie
Little bro...I remember feeling like I was too old for you to hang with me...I was like 3-4 yrs older and Mom would be like take your brother with you...I huffed puffed and stomped my feet but you would be right there with me...ironically, as we got older I wanted you to do EVERYTHING with me...I selfishly wanted all of your time even though you were a man of the people who loved spending time with ALL of your family and friends...Bro I admired how you were able to express how much love you had for your family & friends...Bro came home and reached out to EVERYONE, friends and family that we hadn't seen or spoken to in what seems like forever...Vannie touched everyone...no fake hugs he exuded real love!! Bro would do anything for his circle...and would literally give his last to you and worry about himself later...Vannie lived fast and I truly believe he lived a lifetime that it takes others 60-70yrs to fulfill...lil Bro left his mark on us... selfishly I miss him even though I know God has bigger and better plans for him...he's going home and its hard to accept because its not on my schedule...Vannie used to be like Big Brother Almighty...that touched me and it hurts thinking about him not being here...I feel like we've never been as close as we had become over the last 18 months aside from our childhood...I have too many memories to list here...but lil bro was infactuated with learning about God...family...friends...food....candy/cookies/cakes/...and new technology (lol)...I got a kick out watching him explore many of the things we take for granted...he REALLY enjoyed his last year here with us...wishing for more time with Vannie isn't going to change a thing but I know he was welcomed home by Granny and a host of family and friends and I can't help but to think he is making his mark up there...looking for all his homies and greeting them all with that genuine smile and wrapping his arms around them all...hope heaven has an ironing board and a "good" iron cause lil bro gone spend 3 hours a day ironing....love you bro
Marvin Patterson
December 6, 2013
Vannie had a strong presence. Whenever he came around he made us laugh. Before we cooked, we made sure not to fix anything with beef in it. He would always remind us that he eats “everything but beef”. I used to laugh at how him and Ebony would sit and whisper to each other and start laughing. They always had a good time with each other. I saw the love he had for my little cousin Jada. Their relationship was just how a man's should be with his daughter. One day, Vannie and I were going back and forth about directions here in the city. He tried to tell me that I was wrong and it turned out that I was. I had to ask him, are you from Indy? He knew how to get around the city better than I do and I was born and raised here! Vannie was full of knowledge and he was always respectful. If we needed help around the house he always offered to do it. Our family fell in love with him as soon as we all met him. We've all hung out together often and he was always delightful. I have two boys and he always talked to them and played around with them when he came over. My boyfriend and Vannie clicked as soon as they met, which is unusual for my boyfriend. I knew Vannie was special then. Watching Ebony and Vannie together was so cute. They always picked with each other and giggled about almost everything. Ebony talked about him all of the time and now I see why. In life we are blessed to have some people in our lives and Vannie is one that I am so thankful for meeting.
Trice Roberson
December 6, 2013
I met Vannie through Ebony. I've known Ebony since kindergarten. Vannie was always quiet but when he did talk, he was definitely heard and he was funny! We worked together and Vannie always stayed to himself. I also noticed how much enjoyed being around his family. I've been around him and his daughter and you can see the love in his eyes that he had for her. He talked about his kids all the time. I have been to family outings with him, Ebony and Jada, out to eat and many other places. We all went out and did stuff often. Whenever I needed something or needed to know something about work, this man was always there! I knew that I could call him and he would know the answer. He always worked hard and was always so full of energy. One thing I could not tell him anything about is working out and eating healthy. In my eyes, he was an expert in those fields. I've worked out with him before and his motivation and strength was amazing! I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet him. He was truly one of a kind.
Marcus S.
December 6, 2013
I'm so sad you are gone Sylvanus. I will miss talking with you. You have left us way too soon.
Jerry Wise
December 5, 2013
My daddy was a very funny guy very handsome guy also very special. He sure did LOVE his two wonderful children/kids, Mr. Sir and Ruthie (me) as he used to call us. We all have him in our hearts, mind and he is always around us playing messing around saying things like “Oh yeah!” “Is that right?” always being creative with his “crazy talk” (what I call it) making his own words or sentences.
He loved his music couldn't tell him anything when he's listening to his music. One day when me and daddy were on or way to school daddy had his music blasting while doing THE VANNIE DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!! That's when he puts his arms up and balls up his fist while they're in the air and moves his arms from side to side while bobbing his head up and down and moving his hips!!!!!=) For a man who doesn't dance he sure does get down!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He would put his arms out like he's about to hug someone and then he would rock his body from side to side while squatting down so far that his butt almost hits the ground!!!
I'm sure everybody could say daddy LOVED to speak his mind. He did NOT care what anybody thought about him. He didn't let anybody try to control him, shoot he even tried to wrap me around his finger but that wasn't going to happen and me and him BOTH knew that!!! I also used to just stare at him and he'd say “GIRL BOO” and I was like what in the world the first time he said that. We all love him, through everything and he's in a much better place now. LOVING AND MISSING YOU SO MUCH DADDY!!!!!!!! Like he used to say “I love you Ruby Ruthie” and I truly love you too Tarpeh!!!!!!!!
Jada Roberson-Williams
December 5, 2013
The first time I met vannie before I even knew his name he walked up to me and hugged me and said im your cousin vannie...... we sat and had a long conversation, he watched my daughter dance, and he laughed and played with her and all the other kids and when I would be downtown I would see him leaving from the ymca and he would say what's up cuz you lost again and he'd help me find my way I didn't know vannie as well as everyone else but the little time I did was a blessing
Sh'Lisa wilhite
December 4, 2013
There is little that I can say to express the hurt that we all feel at this time,I can only say that, this is a pain I don't wish on anyone. To me Vannie was a wonderful man he left two wonderful children that he adored and would do anything for. His smile could light up a room and he loved everybody.
Beatrice Williams
December 4, 2013
Well, it took me a long time to get here to be able to write this message. My brother, Vannie, was a big part of my life. Even when he was away, he called and wrote me letters. He understood me when I felt like nobody else could see me for who I really was... I miss him for that. We could talk about any- and everything. I didn't judge him and he didn't judge me. I feel so blessed to have had 35 years with my brother. I'll also miss the way that he never called me by my first name. He always called his siblings, Elton, Alvin, Montray, and Elizabeth. Well, except for that one time when he finally said my name...
Last Christmas, our mother made the desserts for dinner, but only made 1 sweet potato pie. After Vannie and several others had a slice of pie, Momma packed up the rest and sent it home with me. A few minutes after I got home, my phone rings... It's Vannie. Vannie said "Kawanya, Kawanya, Kawanya, so you just gonna slide up out of Momma's house with the rest of the pie, huh?" I laughed so hard that day, it took Vannie almost 35 years to call me by my name. That's just classic Vannie. Often imitated, never duplicated, there will never be another VANNIE! You can bet on that.
Kawanya Muhammad
December 2, 2013
You were always easy to talk to, even though your response may not have always been easy to accept. I miss the talks, pool games, card games, and many more! You were always a big family man. Family meant everything to you. That's what I loved about you the most. We had a special bond and knew each other so well. We used to tell you to stop making so much noise in the mornings. You were always so hyper and talkative while we were still trying to wake up. Jada said that she misses you messing with her all the time. We have so many memories of you to live by. We often had discussions about life and your responses always confused me. You were a fearless, loving, honest and very smart MAN! You were always willing to give your last and make people feel special and you were always sincere. It's so hard for me to go to all the places that we used to go to together. There are memories of you everywhere we go! I remember how certain foods would excite you and you would buy it for us to try it. We were laughing at how you used to eat peanut butter with EVERYTHING. You would always add other stuff to food that never made sense to us. You were a trend setter with a large vocabulary and everything you said was funny! You daughter had you wrapped around her little fingers and she knew it. You would always tell her no and end up doing the opposite every time. You spent $40 on Halloween 2013 for a wig and a skirt. I couldn't believe you did that but I knew she talked you into it! You were the best father that you knew how to be. She will always hold on to all of the time that you two spent together. She is having a very difficult time without you but that's when I remind her of all of the stuff that you two did together. We love and miss you so much that words will never explain. You were an amazing man that we all enjoyed having in our lives. Love you always
Ebony Roberson
November 30, 2013
More memories.....Jada would tell us how Vannie would dance through the house (or THINK he was dancing) and being funny. Two of my older children and a granddaughter, along with Vannie, Ebony and Jada would go to the Y to play "Wolleyball" every week and Vannie was very competitive. He would play the Tabu game with our family regulary and have us all laughing with the wording he would use to get us to guess the clues...too funny! He went to the Y regularly and was pretty "buff". He would surpirse Jada at school twice weekly and have lunch with her and she said her friends would say "Jada, your dad is "buff". He attended Jada's "Father/Daughter Dance"...their first. Jada was smiling so hard! He would work out at the YWCA regularly. He and Jada had special "Ruthie Tuesdays", where they went out to dinner alone. Jada would spend school breaks in Fort Wayne and Vannie called her everyday and asked her how her day was and ask what she did. The conversation would always end with Jada saying "I love you too Daddy!". When he was away, he called her weekly...again on "Ruthie Tuesday"
(Vannie gave Jada the middle name of Ruthie, after his grandmother). When he came home he did not want myself or my husband to buy anything for Jada...he wanted to buy it. I did not understand at first, but did later. He had missed out on many years and wanted to do everything for his children himself. He called me Queen Roberson...I received Birthday, Christmas and Mother day cards from him for the past 11 years. We wrote each other and he would speak his mind to me in those letters. I grew to have great respect for him. He was not perfect...but who of us is? I repsected him for being honest. A real man shows that he is a man, but can also say "I love you" and does what he can to take care of his family. When he came home he would ride the bus from 6am to 6pm trying to find a job. When we went to stores, we had to wait in the car afterwards..because he was talking to the manager...trying to find a job. He loved his son (SIR) dearly also and was probably a little hard on him....Because of his love for him. I respect him for the time he put into his children, family and friends. He lived more in a 15 months than most of us do in 15 years! Here's to you Vannie. I love you so very, very much and will always hold you dear in my heart. Thank you, Thank you so very much for loving our Jada and showing her in such a big way. My new name for you is "Fast and Furious"...because that is the way I feel you lived.
I also give Props to your mother, Ms. Aldara for raising you the best she could and it is evident she did a lot of things right. Thanks to Vannie's family for including Jada in all you do. Thanks Ebony, for insisting on taking Jada to visit her Father when he was away, so she would know him. I KNOW he loves you for that. Vannie.. know that you left many here that love you dearly. And when you stop by to visit me now..you don't have to knock things over. I know you don't talk alot...but a simple pat on my shoulder will do just fine! LOL.
Julienne Roberson
November 23, 2013
We miss you dearly, and all of the fun that we used to have! We are carrying those memories in our hearts. Love you always and forever!
Ebony and Jada Roberson
November 21, 2013
Vannie, it seems like just yesterday you were here sharing laughs and funny stories with me and Marvin! Watching you interact with Jada, and your family, made me realize you were a real Dad/Man......and it definitely came natural! Gone too soon, you are truly missed!!! R.I.H.
Michelle Bennett
November 21, 2013
i love you uncle Vannie. Watch over us.
Breon Russell
November 20, 2013
We know that you are resting now but we can't help but to miss you! We love you always and forever! Your kids know how much you love them!
November 15, 2013
The loves of my life! Your daughter loves you with all of her heart. I loved watching you two spend time together!!
November 15, 2013
We love and miss you...you will always be in our hearts!
November 15, 2013
Words cannot express how much we miss you! Although you are in a better place now, we can't help but to selfishly want you here with us. I miss al
Ebony Roberson
November 15, 2013
May God ease the pain that is in your hearts. Vannie was a very light spoken person. He had a very humble silent smile every time I seen him.
Praying for you all.
Stella Davis-Hutchins
November 12, 2013
Vannie we may not have known each other very well, but the time that you were home you made Jada a very happy little girl. For that alone I am greatful for your presence. You showered her with so much attention that she nor my family will ever ever forget. You were such a strong man and you did the best you could with what you had. All those who knew you are hurting over the loss of a very good person in this world. I love you for the way you loved my sister and even more so for the way you loved and adored my niece Jada. May you finally have peace where you are resting now.
Carla Roberson
November 12, 2013
Uncle Vannie I love and miss you. I'm proud that I got to speak at you home-going service. You touched many peoples hearts and was a very caring man. You worked hard to provide for yourself and your kids. Love you :*
Milan Patterson
November 12, 2013
Vannie, I never thought in a million years that you would leave us so soon. Although it hurts, we all know that you are in a better place now. I still remember the long conversations you and I had on the phone and I will always hold on to those memories. We all miss you so much and as I type this, my eyes are filled with tears. I will miss hearing you in the background messing with Ebony while we are on the phone! I always laughed when she would sneak on the phone like a kid because you were going to mess with her about being on it. I always told Ebony that I love how you all went to church together, you all went to family functions and just did stuff with each other period. Vannie, Ebony always told me that you woke up in the mornings before them to cook breakfast. I remember telling her that you are such a good man! Not too many men do that!! Jada is crazy about you and I could always tell that you were crazy about her. Ebony told me a while ago that she acts silly just like you! We are so glad to have you in our lives! The love that you have for Sir, Jada and Ebony always shinned and I have always admired and respected you for that. I love you cousin and you will never be forgotten!!
Lynsey Roberson
November 11, 2013
Vannie, I just want you to know I love you. I told you a few times but its been a few weeks since I've spoken to you. I just hope you left here knowing that your home girl and sister loved you dearly.. It hurts me that you're gone away and so suddenly. I was hurt and even a little mad but I understand the inevitable. I've thought and contemplated on you so much this week that its because of you that I want to reach out to those dear to me a little more often. It's because of you that I want to tell my family I love them everyday! Because as much as we talked, I don't know if you knew that and so now, brother, as you rest, I will celebrate you by doing what I should've done to you. Reach out more often and just say I love you! I love you, Vannie
Angie "Tutt" Johnson
November 11, 2013
Vannie..you were my nephew and my card partner. I am grateful that I got to spend time with you...thank you for sharing yourself with our family. You brought us much laughter and good times. We will cherish the memories of being a part of your life. Rest in peace nephew!
Sherelle Roberson
November 11, 2013
Vannie, I am glad to I got to meet you. You were a very special person and a good person. Our family will miss you at our family reunions..but your spirit will always be there and very welcomed. Rest in peace. Love always.
Shalon Goodwin
November 11, 2013
We are going to miss you. Your seat at the card table will be empty. We enjoyed your talking "smack" during the many card games and your winning all of the time and calling me a loser in my own home (smile)! You made us laugh all of the time. Thanks for spending time with us. We treasured you as part of our family. We love you!
Candace, Brittany and Shontel
The Robersons
November 11, 2013
I am Mr. Vannie's daughter Jada's best friend. I always spend the night at their house and Mr. Vannie was so much fun! He took us places and played games with us!! One day he cooked for us and Ms. Ebony and Jada teased him about it. He was a good cook too. One day Mr. Vannie called me his other daughter because I love to stay at their house. He was so much fun and he always blasted his music! He always ate lunch with Jada at our school and I always sat with them! I will always remember Mr. Vannie because he was lots of fun. Love Bri ?
Brionna Everett
November 10, 2013
There is so much that I could say and want to say. I know that you knew how much I loved you and of course I still do. We always talked about life and how you knew that your kids will be taken care of no matter what! RIP baby, you do not have to worry about anything. Watch over us with your father and grandmother. We miss you here but you are at peace now. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH VANNIE!!! ?
Ebony Roberson
November 10, 2013
Vannie shared a lot of love and lived fast the year he was home, as if he did not have much time and was in a hurry. He left a lasting impression on those that only had one or two encounters with him. He was an intelligent young man. He was not always a talker, but I knew his mind was always working. I enjoyed his "every now and then" smile. I got a great laugh at watching him play Tabu with my family. I hear he was a good card player. Our family enjoyed and loved him immensely. He was a family man. He was a man. A Man wants to and does what he can to provide for his family. He showed more love for his children in one year than most men do in a lifetime. For that I often gave and still give him "props". His love for his family and our love for him will never end. I strongly believe that he ran so hard and fast this past year that in one instant he became so tired and asked God for help...and God responded by relieving Vannie of any earthly regrets/burdens and decided to remove him from any further pain and negative influences. Let us not get this "twisted". God is not cruel...the spirit/soul in Vannie (and us)...will not stop him from being around us. We will feel him and he will give us signs that he is around. Watch for it...expect it...and embrace it. It is God's gift to those that loved him.
Julienne Roberson
November 8, 2013
May God rest your soul. May God watch over your family and give them peace.
willie mae austion
November 8, 2013
In memory of my loving, compassionate, hilariously funny cousin Vannie. I miss you, but I take comfort in knowing that you gave, and received love unselfishly. God had a plan, and a purpose. RIH Vannie.
Lateefa Shabazz
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