Yarborough Williams

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Daily Press
January 29, 1999


HAMPTON – Yarborough Burwell “Y.B.” Williams Jr. was the eldest of five children born to the late Rev. Dr. Yarborough Burwell Williams Sr. and Mattie Alston Williams in Raleigh, N.C., on March 4, 1928.

Y.B. received his early education in Newport News and Eastville. He attended Shaw University and graduated from Virginia Union University with a B.A. degree in history. Later he received a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. He also served in the U.S. Army in the 95th Infantry Division with special services with the 74th Army Bands.

Professional employment included 22 years at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., where he served as vice president for community affairs and assistant to the president. Upon his retirement from the shipyard, the City Council proclaimed April 17, 1993, as “Y.B. Williams Day” in the city of Hampton. He also worked in administrative positions at John Marshall, John F. Kennedy and Armstrong high schools in Richmond. An inspiring and challenging educator, Y.B. taught social studies at Armstrong High School and music and history at Dunbar High School in Lynchburg and was president of the Richmond Education Association. He also served as adjunct faculty at Norfolk State University. A gifted musician, he shared his talent with the Richmond community through his band, the Y.B. Williams Combo.

A dedicated and committed public servant, Y.B. served a one-year appointed term on the Hampton City Council, the first African-American to serve in modern times. His untiring efforts to improve the quality of life of others included service on the boards of the Peninsula Association for Sickle Cell Anemia, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievers of Hampton Roads, National Family Service Association of America, Whitaker Memorial Hospital, Peninsula Drug Abuse Council, Peninsula YMCA, National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Urban League of Hampton Roads. A founding member of Groups Representing Organizations for Progress (GROUP), Y.B. was also a life member of the NAACP. He was founding president of the Hampton Roads Public Transportation Alliance.

He served the higher education community as a member of the Board of Trustees, Virginia Union University; Radford University; Thomas Nelson Community College Educational Foundation, and chairman of the Curriculum and Program Committee of the Virginia Board of Community Colleges. He also served on the Board of Directors of New Atlantic Bank and First Federal Savings and Loan.

Y.B. was a member of First Baptist Church of Hampton, where he was a member and soloist in the Senior Choir and the Men’s Choir. A product of a Christian home, he received his early nurturing at Union Baptist Church in Eastville and continued his faith walk at First African Baptist Church in Richmond. Both churches were pastored by his father.

Blessed with an outgoing and vibrant personality, Y.B. enjoyed service and fellowship as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Delta Beta Lambda Chapter; Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, Beta Lambda Boule; Hampton-Newport News Eppos; and the Newport News Chapter of the Connecting Links.

He entered eternal life on Monday, Jan. 25, 1999, at Sentara Hampton General Hospital. Y.B. was predeceased by his daughter, Yarvette Maxine Williams, and his brothers, Malvin and Lewis Williams. He leaves to cherish his memory, a supportive church family, a great professional, civic and social family, and a large, loving personal family which includes his devoted wife of 52 years, Shirley Custis Williams; two sons, Dennis and Craig; two daughters-in-law, Brenda and Kim; four granddaughters, Shawn Williams Fraser, Kyha Williams, Kacy Williams and Tiffany Strayhorne; a grandson, Juan Williams; a great-grandson, Joshua Fraser; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Elayne and Donald Bass, Evora and William Jones; one brother, Timothy Williams; three sisters-in-law, Gladys Williams, Myrtle Williams and Jane Stevens; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Louise Custis; a brother-in-law, Samuel Cooper Sr.; stepmother, Grace Williams; and a host of loving nephews, nieces, relatives and special friends.

A funeral service will be held at noon on Friday at First Baptist Church of Hampton, 229 N. King St. Burial will follow in Hampton Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 753 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Suite 2A, Newport News, Va. 23606; or the Building Fund, First Baptist Church of Hampton.

Arrangements by Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel.

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