Ethel Lean McNair Williams
Published 3:27 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Ethel Lean McNair Williams, my mom, was born on January 3, 1938 in Sontag, Mississippi, to her loving parents Clarence McNair and Lucille McGee-McNair. Ethel was the fourth daughter and was a caring and giving child from the very beginning. My mother loved helping her mother Lucille with the cooking, the cleaning, and caring for her siblings. Mom attended Friendship School in Brookhaven, Mississippi and Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Ethel came to Los Angeles, California in 1956 with her entire family. They all left Mississippi after Emmett Till was murdered and found a new home in Watts that Grandpa Clarence and uncle Robert found for them to live. On December 12, 1957, Mom gave birth to her first daughter Patricia and was married to Bobby Williams.
How many of y’all know by a show of hands that Ethel was 6 feet tall and slender in her younger days? So what did she do? She would model clothes for her sister Eloise and they would go out together wearing outfits that Eloise designed. In her 30s she met James Williams and they had a daughter, my sister Kimberly. That’s when mom decided to move to Baldwin Hills adjacent. She lived in that nice big two-bedroom apartment over 40 years.
Everybody knew Ethel and Ethel knew everybody, yeah she was just like Benita Butrell on In Living Color, sitting up in that window playing her signature role “just don’t say anything about Ms. Jenkins.”
Mom was also like the Tyler Perry character in his hit show Madea, she was stern and would whoop your behind. As a teenager, I had to patch holes in the wall because she would shot her gun through her bedroom wall.
Mom made the best sweet potato pies in my lifetime! Mom was a great cook she used to bake cakes and sell them. She would cook dinners and sale plates. Everybody in the building loved her cooking. She would sit in her walker and cook up until she was 84 years old. Amazing how all her sisters were great cooks but mom made the best sweet potato pie.
Mom became a caregiver in her later years and was loved and respected by everyone she knew. Well, God decided to take her suddenly and unexpected to be with her siblings, parents, cousins and friends.
Ethel was preceded in death by her mother Lucille, father Clarence Sr., brothers Robert (RC), Joe Walter (JW), Clarance Ray, and sisters Mildred, and Eloise.
Ethel leaves to cherish her memories to her daughters Patricia Hébert, husband James of Los Angeles and Kimberly Levi of Hesperia, California.
Grandchildren Latrice, Dom, Lakisha, Tawny and Ricky, great-grandchildren Teo, Tajah, Malachi, Madison, Amillionaire, Kamarea, Quanico, Dani, Korbel, Brooke and great-great-grandchildren Rylan and Rayne!