Grace Williams Ridgley, affectionately called "Queen", was born in Danville, Virginia, the 16th child of Sallie and James Williams. As the baby of the family, she was surrounded with love and attention. She received. her early education in Danville and was baptized in Bellview Baptist Church. When she was 12, her mother passed and Grace moved with her sister, Sallie to Washington, DC. Throughout her life Grace was the center of her family, celebrating special occasions and caring for her siblings during illnesses and other difficulties in life. Her last brother, Joe, passed in October 2007.
Grace's caring and loving spirit transcended to neighbors and the numerous friends she encountered throughout her life. When someone was ill or had a tragedy or death in the family. Grace was always there with a helping hand. Because of her loving and generous spirit, Grace was endeared to so many and children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of her friends and many unrelated young people called her "Aunt Grace". Grace was a licensed beautician and always epitomized the latest styles. She worked at a number of restaurants and cafes .over the years and was very popular in Washington society.
In October 1989, Grace married James Ridgley and they enjoyed so many activities, especially supporting and traveling with James' singing group, :The Royal Harmonizers". Grace lovingly cared for Jimmy during his long illness until his passing in February 2005. Grace's outstanding hostess skills were enjoyed by so many locally and nationally. Many celebrities of the 50's and 60's were guests in her home such as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis, Jr. Nat Cole, Joe Lewis and Redd Foxx. Grace was also enthusiastic about working with the Civil Rights movement and often said one of her most memorable. events was driving and chatting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife from the airport to their hotel when they came here for the March on Washington.
Grace leaves to mourn her passing, her nieces, Minnie Roy (Wilson) and Angela Penn, (Robert), nephews Les and Leval Edmonds, many other nieces, nephew, cousins and a host of friends who will always cherish her memory.
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