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Brenda Varonia Ricks Williams

On Feb. 11, 2019, Heaven opened its gate and welcomed an angel into Jesus’ arms, Brenda Varonia Ricks Williams, of Petersburg. Born Oct. 27, 1942, in Suffolk. Brenda was the youngest of four children born to Luther and Varonia Ricks. She was preceded in death by her father, Luther, and mother, Varonia Ricks; brother, Roosevelt Ricks; and an infant sister.

She was educated in the Suffolk Public School System and graduated from East Suffolk High School in 1960. From childhood, she always wanted to become a teacher. Brenda continued her education at Elizabeth City State Teacher’s College (now Elizabeth City State University) and graduated in 1965. Brenda began her teaching career with Surry County Public Schools, then Suffolk Public Schools and L.L Beasley Elementary in Prince George County, where she taught fourth grade for 32 years. After retiring, she continued life as an educator working in Petersburg Public Schools, where she was an aide at Vernon Johns Middle School.

Brenda was a longtime member of Zion Baptist Church, of Petersburg, where she was a faithful member until her health began to decline. She was a member of the Petersburg Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Petersburg Chapter of CHUMS Inc. and Les E’toiles Civic and Social Club.

She loved and adored her two grandchildren. Her eldest grandson would routinely greet her “Hello Grandmother,” and Brenda would affectionately return the greeting with “Well, Hello Grandson.” Her youngest grandson would cordially greet her with an astounding “Granny.” She was very proud of her two grandsons when they graduated from college, after she stressed the positive virtues of education from a young age to them both.

Brenda was firm, classy, quiet and a noble woman, while also an observant and loving person with an immense heart. She was a great cook, loved to read, loved children and loved her family unconditionally. Brenda had a signature look that commanded attention. Her family and friends will forever miss her great smile, kind ways and her jokes.

Brenda leaves to cherish her legacy and memories, devoted and loving daughter, Cheryl Challise Williams; two devoted grandsons, Azikiweh Hall, of East Orange, N.J., and Kevin Hall Jr., of Raleigh, N.C.; devoted sister, Marian Godette (Matthew), of Suffolk; niece, Lisa Kirkland (Donovan), of Kennesaw, Ga.; nephew, Wayne Godette (Rycy), of Virginia Beach; great-nieces, Logan and Blake Kirkland, of Kennesaw, Ga., and Channing Kirkland, of Hampton; a host of cousins, two who always kept in touch, Loistene Monger-Mason, of Laurel, Md., and Susan Monger Jordan, Murfreesboro, N.C., and Laketia Ransom, daughter of her childhood best friend, Arrie Ransom.

Over the course of her teaching career, she touched the lives of many, including some special friends of her daughter, whom she claimed as her own children.

Brenda was so fortunate to have a host of great friends that are too numerous to list.

She believed in the African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but she and Cheryl were truly blessed to experience the love of the village effect prior to and when her health began to decline. She had a such a village: Nancy Pitt, Florence Goodwyn, JoAnn Thomas Wilson, Elaine Cooper, Linda Brown, Hazel Hill, Debbie Lockhart, Louise and Melissa Johnson.

Service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at Zion Baptist Church, 225 Byrne St., Petersburg. Pastor Michael E. Shannon Sr., officiating, and the Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White Sr., eulogist. The interment will follow at Dinwiddie Memorial Park.
The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Omega Omega Service will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, at the funeral establishment, with family visitation to follow.
J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg. (804) 732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.