Cleophis Williams was born on April 30, 1926 in Muskogee, Oklahoma to Raymond T. Hill and Lena (Beasley) Hill, parents also to her only sibling, Ethel Mae Tucker who preceded her in death. She is survived by her nephew, Alonza Council Jr.
Growing up in the small town of Muskogee, Cleophis was an avid reader and a star pupil becoming fluent in both American Sign Language and Spanish. Adventurous by nature, she set out on her own destined for Las Vegas, Nevada at the young age of sixteen. Later, she met and married Tom Williams on November 12, 1945. To this union of 52 years, nine children were born: Tom Peter Williams (deceased), Joan Colbert, Barbara Williams (deceased), Jacqueline Williams, Marjorie Lindsey (deceased), Carl Williams, Ray Williams (deceased), Cheryl Williams and Ivan Williams.
She was a self-taught cook who prepared hand crafted fried fruit pies, peach cobbler, pineapple cake, sweet potato pie, an award-winning pound cake and everyone knew to expect freshly made ginger-bread whenever rainclouds approached. And “everyone” was EVERYBODY, because Cleo never met a stranger. She would often continue to enjoy the company of her children’s and grand-children’s ex-“friends”, exclaiming when caught, “You broke up with them, I didn’t.”
Cleophis joined Zion United Methodist Church in 1969 where she was a committed member of the Women’s Choir, the UMC Chancel Choir and the Gospel Choir. She held a special place in her heart for the elderly members of the congregation, transporting many of them to and from church for both services and choir practice. She was an upstanding member of the United Methodist Women, a ministry dedicated to the concerns of women the world over.
As the matriarch of an impressive family tree, she was a talented storyteller, sprinkling family lore with comic relief and lighthearted banter. Her wit, her uncompromising truth, and her love will be missed by her five surviving children, her 32 grandchildren, her 49 great grandchildren and her 15 great-great grandchildren along with a host of relatives and friends.
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