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Pembroke honors its eldest resident

Family says Williams helped raise a community

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POSTED: April 22, 2011 8:00 a.m.
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Roxie Williams, 101, is surrounded by family members, left to right, Sarah Smith, Javonna Hardy, Mary Hardy, Alphonso Hagan, Jaylen Prescott, Carolyn Hagan and Johnathon Prescott. (Al Hackle)

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As a kickoff to Georgia Cities Week, city officials presented flowers, a gift and a proclamation to Pembroke’s eldest citizen, Roxie Williams, 101.

Originally named Roxie Rawls, Williams was born in the Brooklet area of Bulloch County on Jan. 18, 1910. She moved to Pembroke around the age of 15.

One of around 18 sisters and brothers who lived to adulthood, she was used to a big family. That could help explain why – after she had three daughters of her own – she raised another 18 or so children, including nieces, nephews and neighbor kids

“She adopted me when I was about 3 years old and raised me ever since,” said Alphonso Hagan. He calls her his mama, although biologically she is his great-aunt.

“Before she would see a child homeless, she took them in and she raised them,” added Alphonso’s wife, Carolyn Hagan. “Many of them have great careers ... law enforcement, nursing.”

Alphonso Hagan, for example, worked 25 years in law enforcement with the Pembroke Police Department, Bryan County Sheriff’s Department, state Probation Services and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He is now in business for himself as a polygraph examiner.

The Hagans and a number of other of Williams’ relatives gathered at her home Sunday afternoon, when Mayor Judy Cook, Mayor Pro Tem Johnnie Miller and Marilyn Page, executive director of Pembroke’s Better Hometown Program, came to bestow the city’s honors on the centenarian.

Family members present included her daughter, Mary Hardy, also called Macy, who lives with her mother as her primary caregiver; great-granddaughter, Javonna Hardy; great-great-grandsons, Jaylen Prescott, 10, and Johnathon Prescott, 14; and Sarah Smith, a niece who also calls Williams “my mama.”

In addition Mary Hardy, Williams had two other natural daughters, Robena and Mildred, but has outlived them. Her husband, Philmore Williams, died about 30 years ago.

For more, pick up a copy of the April 20 edition of the News.

 

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