Emma Leola Williams was born on July 25, 1927 in Norfolk, Virginia to James Madison and Annie Marie Williams. She was raised in Norfolk and attended Second Calvary Baptist Church, her home church Rev. Calvin A. Madison presided.
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E. Leola attended Booker T. Washington School. At the age of fourteen, she moved to Harlem, New York. Later she met and married Alphonso D. Hicks, Sr. in 1944 on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City. She then made her residence in Switchback, West Virginia, where she raised four of her five children. In the early 50s, she moved back to New Jersey, where her youngest daughter was born. She worked various jobs including, Bamberger’s (Macys), Bury Biscuit Company, and the US Postal Service. After her parents retired and left New York, they moved to Ole Road on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Leola followed.
“Leola,” as she was affectionately called, truly loved music, cooking, canning, making wine, and quilting. She also enjoyed traveling by car with all her children from North to South and East to West. However, most of all, FAMILY was extremely important to her. Leola saw six generations in her lifetime and she was “Nana” to everyone.
Leola leaves to cherish her memories: five children, Gloria Verneuil (Patrick), Beverly Drake, Alphonso Hicks, Jr., Theresa Hicks, and Gwendolyn Hunt; seven grandkids, Paula, Bernadette, Maurice (Patrina), Alphonso, III, Ronald, Sydney, and Adrienne (Jason); twenty-five great-grandkids, Monique, Genil, Shawn, Brianna, Keith, Maurice (Danielle), Marquis, Marquel, Martinique, Ronniece (Danielle), Robert, Jessinia (Sam), David, Corrine, Chantasha, Janiya, Stykeem, Nasir, Yanee, Zakir, Kamal, Amhara, Makonn, Nile, and Xho; eighteen great, great-grandkids, Niah, Imani, Shakil, Jr., Sajada, Shafeeq, Azad, Azar, Prince, Raiden, Aiden, Halo, Justice, Zyaire, Leah, Khole, Kash, Kayla, and Autumn; two great, great, great-grandkids, Akease, Jr. and Sekani; two sisters-in-law, Gloria Jean Hicks “Blondie” of NY and Bobbie Jean of WV; and a host of nieces and nephews, with a special mention of Ramona Hopkins (Chester).
Leola was preceded in death by one sibling, Bernard Crump; nephew, Bernard Crump, Jr.; grandsons, Shawn Drake and David Davis; granddaughter Linette (Drake) Johnson; and step great-grandson Deandre.