By Najee Ali
The congregation at Holman United Methodist Church is mourning the recent death of Bonzie Ree Williams, a member of the congregation since 1962.
Williams has a rich history in the South Los Angeles community. For more than 30 years she would go up and down the neighborhood and recruit young people to be a part of learning the arts. She gave piano lessons to the kids in the neighborhood. She taught dramatic arts and she wrote and produced several plays that were performed at Holman United.
She formed the 27th Street Youth Action Club, which taught kids in the neighborhood the love of God, love of self and respect for others. She emphasized living by God’s Ten Commandments, and she required respect from all the kids.
Then she would let them be creative and help her produce plays, dances, festivals, music events and talent shows. She merged the community with the church and would often pick up kids and take them to church on Sundays.
She also taught them work ethics and started a program where the kids did work for the elderly in the neighborhood. The city of Los Angeles supported her by providing buses and she would take inner-city kids to experience different things, such as the museum, the Ice Capades, plays and other events around town.
Born on March 15, 1927, in Jasper, Texas, Williams grew up in the church. She always did well in school and in 1946 she was was accepted into Texan Southern University where she continued to engage in her passion for music and dramatic arts.
She became a drum majorette and an expert baton twirler. She was accepted on the TSU drum line. She graduated in 1950, with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration, becoming the first person in her family with a college degree.
She served with the following organizations. Holman United Methodist Women, President of Arts, Crafts and Drama, board of directors of the Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty for Law and Order, founder of the 27th Street Youth Action Club, and CEO of Humanity Project 2000 Inc.
She also worked with Doctors Without Walls, Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP, Natural Resources Defense Council, Boys Town, Hospitalized Veterans, Southern Clergy Council, YMCA, Disabled Veterans and Los Angeles City College.
She was a devoted wife, mother, Sunday school teacher, camp counselor, a composer, a businesswoman, a publisher, and a poet.
She holds 50 or more awards for outstanding service to community, churches and schools, including recognition from the city of Los Angeles and Congress.
In 1955, Williams married Aaron C. Williams Jr, an army veteran. They were married for 56 years until his death in 2011.
They had four children: Etta, Bonzeta, Aaron lll and Neston. As the family grew, Aaron Williams decided to build a brand new home for the family in 1964. She lived in that house until her death Jan 4.
She is survived by three children: Etta Clark, Bonzeta Williams (Guillory), and Aaron Williams lll, and a host of grandchildren. Her children offered special thanks to her caregivers Eddie Kizzee, Pamela Bell, Michelle Coulter and Kathy Dyer.