Mabel Williams celebrates 80th

Mabel Williams celebrated her 80th birthday on Sat. June 4 in Detroit. Her birthday was actually on June 1st.

Mabel Williams has worked in human services since moving to the Lake County Michigan area in 1972.  She held positions with Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service, working with low income families; with FiveCap, Inc as Project Director of the Senior Nutrition Program; with the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Inc., as Coordinator for the National Congregate Senior Housing Project: Oakwood Manor and with St. Ann ’s Senior Services as Project Director.  She retired from that position in 1996 after thirteen years of service.

Mabel has been an active member of St. Ann’s Church since the early seventies.  She helped organize and worked with a Lake County inter-faith youth group, “Umoja” for several years.  She was one of the fifteen delegates, headed by Fr. Bernard Hall from the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese to attend the Black Catholic Congress held in Washington, D. C.

Mabel was an officer for the Ruby Nelson Defense Committee which later became the People’s Association for Human Rights, a community organization dedicated to seeking equal justice in the courts.

She served on the Community Round table for area human service agencies, the local Council on Aging and was appointed by Governor Milliken as a delegate to the National White House Conference on Aging in 1982.  She served on numerous boards and participated in local, state and national conferences, serving as advocate for minorities and poor people.

Mabel was one of the founding members of the Lake County Community Foundation and served as a Trustee on its Board of Directors from 1993 until 2003.

Though retired since 1996, Mabel continues to actively serve the community through her many volunteer activities.. She sits on the Lake County Enterprise Community Board; St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Services Governing Board and is President Emeritus of the Lake County Merry Makers, Inc. a civic organization dedicated to providing history, cultural enrichment and business training to the young people in the community.  She now sits on the governing board of FiveCap, Inc., (serving Lake, Newaygo, Mason and Manistee Counties).

She is actively involved in the historic revitalization efforts of the Idlewild, community.  In February, 2008, she was appointed to the Idlewild Centennial Commission by Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Mabel is the widow of noted civil and human rights fighter, Robert F. Williams of Monroe, North Carolina and as such lectures on their travels and the civil rights struggles they engaged in.

These struggles led to their being forced out of the USA for eight years from 1961 until returning to Michigan in 1969.

They lived in exile in Cuba for five years and China for three years.