A Celebration of Life
Elmer Herman Williams was born on April 20, 1923, in Kiomatia, Texas on the George Wright
Plantation to share-cropping parents Jerome Williams and Wordie Anderson. As one of three
children, his parents instilled faith in him and his siblings. Elmer loved the Lord and accepted
Christ at an early age.
Elmer left Texas at the age of 14 with his mother and siblings and moved to Ada,
Oklahoma. From 1938-1941, he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corp (CC Camp) in
On January 19, 1942, he married Robbie Cornelia Kenney. They moved to the Bay Area in 1943
and became and remained active members of the Beth Eden Baptist Church under the spiritual
guidance of Dr. Gillette O. James. Together they raised one son Ralph McNac-Williams and
later became parents to Berna Sadler after the passing of her mother Lynn Williams.
After arriving in California, he went to work for the Naval Air Base and joined the Union
there. He also worked for the City of Berkeley Public Works Department for nearly 15
years. He later decided to strike out on his own and started the Sequoia Trucking Company in
Oakland, California. For 20 years, he transported goods and materials throughout the State of
California. This work took a toll on his health and body and he subsequently sold the business.
Elmer and Robbie were active in the church and community as members of the Beth Eden,
Shriners, Eastern Stars and Masons. Past Master Elmer H. Williams joined the Masonic order
and received his Master Mason Degree on November 2, 1947. He served as Worshipful Master
of Walter C. Taylor Lodge 36, F. & A. M.; Prince Hall Affiliated in 1994, before joining Acacia
Lodge No. 7 in 2002. He, as Tyler (Gate Keeper) for over 15 years, trained young men to be
better Men, Fathers, and Brothers.
Elmer was ever the “Classic Man” and known as a sharp dresser. Elmer literally stood out in a
crowd with his impeccable clothing that matched his handsome face and tall stature . Upon
meeting and speaking with him, people found that he was a gentle and kind man. He had an
easy spirit, never used foul language, and was slow to anger. When talking to him, his usual
responses were “Tell me about it” or “How about that”.
Elmer loved music – especially Blues!! In his early years, he taught himself to play guitar and
was a member of a band who played at various venues in the Bay Area. Two of his favorite
artists were BB King and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. Often when someone would visit and engage
him in a game of dominoes, he would turn his Pandora on the Blues Station while teaching you
the art and skill of the game. Elmer and Robbie were encouraged to travel abroad later in life,
which is where they discovered one of their favorite destinations; the Montreux Jazz Festival in
Although he wasn’t much of a professional sports fan, he loved spending countless hours with
his friends on the shore banks, fishing for Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie and Striped Bass. He would
undoubtedly listen to Blues and play dominoes while waiting for the fish to jump on his line.
When he wasn’t fishing, he loved to follow the daytime stories. His favorite shows were ‘The
Guiding Light’ and ‘The Young and the Restless’.
Elmer was Blessed in his later years to become acquainted with, get to know and spend time
with his sons and daughter who adored him. He was able to meet and develop a relationship
with many of his grandchildren that referred to him as “Grandpa”. He loved his family dearly
and cherished the time spent getting to know them better. As his health began to fail, they all
rallied around and insured that he was cared for at every step of the way.
Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Robbie; his loving sister Lynn Williams, his
“daughter/niece” Berna Sadler-Fields-Thompson, and his son Jessie Lynn Hopper. He leaves to
cherish his memory his sons, Ralph McNac-Williams, Elmer H. Hopper (Silvia), Jerome H.
Williams, Darryl Brown; daughter Stephanie Fleming; and sister Wyomie Jones; many grand and
great-grand children and a host of extended family and friends.
In the spirit of Elmer, on the next sunny day listen to some Blues, maybe hang out at the fish
bank or play a game of dominoes and remember that Elmer lived a long and happy life,
knowing and loving all that knew him.