Obituary of Vicki Williams
Professor Vicki Maria Camilla Gardine Smith Williams
Vicki Gardine Williams, age 73 of St. Croix, USVI, passed away on Friday March 1, 2019 in Nashville Tennessee after an extended battle with cancer. She was born on November 19, 1945 to Cyprian and Juanita (Forbes) Gardine, Sr.
Ms. Williams graduated from the St. Mary ‘s Catholic High School. She received a BA degree from Morgan State University in 1965, a Masters’ degree in Social Work from Howard University in 1970 and an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree from Morgan State University in 2015.
Ms. Williams taught and served as a program director of social work education for 37 years and was a professional social worker for 48 years. Most recently, she served as Director of the Social Work Program, College of Public Service and Urban Affairs at Tennessee State University. Her sense of social justice and equity for all people began in her home community and expanded to regional and national civil rights issues and social work licensure policy and legislation. Ms. Williams began her social work career in Head Start, transitioned to child and family services, maternal and child health and medical social work. These positions fostered her sustained interest in programs for the adoption of black children. This interest included educating communities on diversity issues through curriculum and program development, research, consultation and training, while at the same time developing policies to ensure black children in foster care had opportunities to be raised with families, regardless of their racial background. In addition to her leadership role as director of social work educational programs, Ms. Williams served as vice-president of BPD (National Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors) and the NASW-TN (National Association of Social Workers – Tennessee ) Board of Directors; chair of Michigan Baccalaureate Social Work Educators; and secretary (vice-chair) of the Tennessee Department of Health Board of Social Work Licensure. She was a moving force on the NASW-TN Chapter Board of Directors and worked with the legislature to pass multi-level social work licensure including licensure for baccalaureate social workers – which had never been attempted in the history of the state.
Ms. Williams has been recognized nationally with many awards for her “unique dedication, commitment, and determination to improve social and human conditions.” The latest award was on October 27, 2018, when she received the National Association of Social Workers, prestigious Social Work Pioneers’ award.
Ms. Williams was a regular and enthusiastic patron of the arts and an active member the Gaiete de Coeur Art and Study Club and the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Ms. Williams is survived by her two sons Earl Smith and Troy (Lamieshea) Smith and two grandchildren Troy, Jr. and Elijah, brothers Dr. Cyprian (Judithann) Gardine Jr. and Richard Gardine and sister Letitia Gittens, nieces, nephews and many loving relatives and close friends. The family wishes to thank all of those who expertly cared for her during her final days.
A funeral service celebrating her life will be held on Saturday, March 16, at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, 615 Sixth Ave South, Nashville, TN 37203. The viewing is at 1:00 PM and the funeral service begins at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Nashville Symphony, National Public Television (NPT) or Alive Hospice in her name.
Lewis and Wright Funeral Home of Nashville, TN and James Memorial Funeral Home of St. Croix, USVI, are entrusted with the funeral arrangements.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vicki Williams, please visit Tribute Store
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