WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A North Texas Legend and one of the most well known figures in Wichita Falls has died at the age of 88.
Arthur “Bea” Beatrice Williams suffered a stroke in mid-November of 2020 and returned home. Williams was later admitted to hospice care in 2021 and passed away at Hospice of Wichita Falls around 12:30 a.m. Friday, November 19.
Williams was a woman of firsts as the first black woman to be elected to public office in Wichita Falls. She was the first African-American city councilor, serving in the city councilor at large position, the first African-American Wichita County Justice of the Peace, and the first African-American female mayor of Wichita Falls, when she served as interim, filling the slot after the city’s first recall election. She also served as mayor pro-tem during her time on the city council.
Over the years, she also served as a devoted volunteer, organizing the Eastside Community Quilts project. She also worked with Child Care Inc and was a Texas Master Gardener.
Known lovingly in the community as “Arthur Bea.” she was inducted in the North Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and was named 2001 Wichitan of the Year. In 2019, she received the North Texas Legend Award from the Museum of North Texas, the first African-American recipient of the award. That year, the city of Wichita Falls signed a proclamation naming October 15 Arthur Bea Williams Day.
In an interview with KFDX in 2019, Williams explained what the city of Wichita Falls meant to her.
“Wichita Falls has been really good to me,” she said. “I hope that when I am no longer here everybody can remember me and say she has been good to Wichita Falls.”
Funeral services are pending.
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