Wichita Falls community bid final farewell to legend Arthur Bea Williams

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Family, friends, and community members gathered at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church to bid a final farewell to Wichita Falls legend Arthur Bea Williams.

A North Texas legend remembered for her grit, compassion, loyalty, and dedication to her community was celebrated by friends and family before being laid to rest Saturday morning. A light that will continue to shine for so many in Wichita Falls.

A Wichitan since she was nine years old, Williams dedicated her life to serving others in Wichita County and broke many barriers.

Her cousin Jackie Green said family always came first to Williams. She made sure she was there for those most important in her life.

“She loved family, she set the bar for all of us to achieve and always told me and the rest of my cousins that we could be anything and we could do anything we wanted to do,” Green said.

Her public service began as a Wichita Falls City Councilor, from there she became the first black mayor of Wichita Falls during its recall election and the first black female justice of the peace. Williams’ trail then led her to where she would become the first black female judge.

“I really truly feel like she had that vision to be the change that she wanted to see and she exceeded that,” community member Anndrea Harris said.

Making monumental history within Wichita Falls, something Harris said sets the tone for future generations aspiring to serve their community.

“She has been just a huge legacy for our community and not only for women but mostly for African American women because she has truly paved the way for us to be able to be leaders just like she was,” Harris said.

Williams spent a great deal of time volunteering. She served on the board of Child Care Partners for nearly 40 years and was a long-time member of the League of Women Voters in Wichita Falls.

Decades of service friends said is due to her admiration of this city and its people.

“She meant a lot to this community. This community meant the world to her and she lived here, she loved it here, she fought for this community, she wanted great things for this community and anyone who knew her, everyone who knew her knew that,” friend of Arthur Bea Dr. Dolores Jackson said.

Her many years of service to Wichita Falls led her to receive countless accolades. In 2019, the Museum of North Texas History named her a legend of North Texas.

She was also inducted into the North Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and named Wichitan of the Year in 2001. October 15 is Arthur Bea Williams Day and August was declared Arthur Bea Williams’ Month.

A great deal of recognition for a woman who gave a great deal of herself to her beloved city.

“She has really made an impact for people to make sure that everyone is included or that we have representation from all walks of life,” Harris said.

Those who want to honor her can follow in her tracks and serve their communities with the love they have for it.

“Remember to love each other and to support each other in our communities. We’re one community not separated by boundaries or street addresses but we’re one community and that’s the way she felt,” Green said.

If you are looking to honor Williams’ memory, her family encourages making a donation to the Child Care Partners of Wichita Falls which was one of her favorite organizations.

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