On February 10, 1930, Sophronia Woodson Williams was the sixth of eight daughters born to Miles and Truella Walker Woodson in the Mt. Zion Community of Daingerfield, Texas. When they got together, she and her sisters would talk about their life on the farm. Being in a family of all girls, these petite, beautiful young ladies had the reputation for doing the work of men, including plowing the fields with mules, planting, hoeing weeds, and harvesting.
From the first to the eighth grade, Sophronia attended the three room Mt. Zion School. She graduated from the second class to complete all four years at Rhodes High School; until then, there was no high school in Daingerfield that African American students could attend. In late 1950, Sophronia’s mother informed her and her sisters that their sister Ollie Mae was pregnant and asked who wanted to go to Kansas City to help with the baby. Sophronia said that she volunteered and was on the “first thing smoking” out of Daingerfield. She helped nurture and care for her nephew, Calvin, throughout his childhood. She worked as a seamstress in the then thriving Kansas City clothing manufacturing industry. Perhaps this was where she developed her love for wearing and collecting fashionable clothing. She married Lee Manuel Falls, on August 10, 1952; this relationship ended in divorce. On December 15, 1963, she was happily wed to Gilbert Norman Williams. He was a Mason and she an Eastern Star; to attend Lodge functions, they traveled throughout the United States, along with her sister and brother-in-law, Earnese and Bill. Sophronia was quiet with the exception of when she was engaged in exuberant conversation with her sisters. She was fun-loving and had a spirited laugh.
She loved dancing and music, especially the music of Otis Redding, Sam Cook, and Al Green. She and Gilbert and Earnese and Bill bought lakefront parcels next to each other at Truman Lake. After retiring, she and her two sisters in Kansas City worked for her nephew, Calvin for his Texiclean Janitorial Service. Calvin said that he could never get his aunts to work on the weekend in the spring to fall, because every weekend, they were headed to their place on the lake. Sophronia was widowed at the end of 2001.
After living alone for several years, she moved in with her sister, Earnese. After Earnese died in 2014, Sophronia moved in with her nephew. She passed away at the age of 90, at the home in Kansas City, KS, on September 11. 2020. She was predeceased by her husband, Gilbert Williams; both parents and her seven sisters: Luna Mae Watson, Petrolia James, Ollie Mae Coffey, Earnese Howard, Syblean Rucker, Ella Mae Grant, and Ruby Lee Edwards.
She is survived by her beloved nephew, Calvin Coffey of Kansas City, KS; her stepson, Tony Williams of Independence, MO, and his three children; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Services are scheduled for Monday, September 28, 2020, at Lawrence A. Jones Funeral Chapel at 1800 East Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and Service will start at 11:00. Interment will follow at Leavenworth National Cemetery.
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