For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Timothy 4:6-8
Sister Emma Lou Williams-Martin, affectionately known as Sister Martin, was a living testament of faith, love, and thoughtfulness. Born on December 2, 1928, in Early County, Georgia, she was the sixth of ten children born to Sylvester Williams and Emma Wade Williams. She carried her radiant southern charm and unwavering faith into her heavenly home on the 25th of July, 2023, in Cleveland, Ohio.
From her humble beginnings in Georgia, Sister Martin understood the importance of faith, family, and community. As a young girl, she confessed her faith to Christ and joined New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Arlington, Georgia. Her commitment to faith was not only profound but also infectious, impacting everyone she encountered.
In the pursuit of personal growth and new opportunities, Sister Martin bravely relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. Here, she carved out a fulfilling life for herself, both professionally and spiritually. She worked diligently as a laborer at Union Independent Towel Company and later as a cashier in the local school system.
Sister Martin's life was one of service and devotion, not just to her work but also to her faith and fellow beings. She found love in Reverend Lonnie Martin, and though they didn't have children, their union was blessed with shared devotion and mutual respect.
Her love for spreading the word of God led her to become a Sunday School teacher for the Adult class at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church. She also served as a member of the Ohio Progressive Baptist Association’s Women’s Missionary Auxiliary. Her dedication to her faith and community was recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the Moderator’s Award from the Ohio Progressive Baptist Association, The Blue Ribbon Award from the United Methodist Baptist State Convention of Ohio Women’s Auxiliary, and a Proclamation from Cleveland’s Mayor, the Honorable Michael R. White.
In the later years of her life, Sister Martin moved her membership to Saint Timothy Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland. She continued to serve her community with the same passion and dedication, embodying the essence of a true servant of God.
Sister Martin leaves behind a legacy of love, faith, and compassion. Her memories are cherished by her sister, Josephine Williams of Cleveland, Ohio; friends, Marie Wimberly-Martin and Michelle Malone of Cleveland, Ohio; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She is also welcomed in heaven by her siblings: Rosetta Williams, Lonia Pelt, Fessor Williams, Maynard Williams, Arvester Williams, Callie Williams, Lonnie Williams, and Sylvester, Jr.
As we remember Sister Martin, we are reminded of the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr., "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Sister Martin's life was a testament to these words. Her journey wasn't without challenges, but she faced each one with faith and grace.
Sister Martin's life was a symphony of love, faith, service, and resilience. She was a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength to all who knew her. Her legacy will continue to inspire us all to live with faith, serve with love, and persevere with unwavering determination. Sister Emma Lou Williams-Martin, your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure, you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.