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Bernadine A. Jackson-Williams

July 30, 1945 – March 5, 2024

The wife of Pastor Henry D. Williams, Bernadine Alice Jackson-Williams died on March 5, 2024.

Bernadine Alice Jackson came into this world like a cosmic force on July 30th, 1945, just days after the delivery of components for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. She is a part of the Baby Boomer generation. She is a product of the South, born from the purposeful collision of William Wallace Jackson and Winniefred Harvey. Her parents met in New York and from this union, Bernadine A. Jackson Williams entered the world endowed with the spirit of the living God and enveloped in the spirit of endurance, wit, tenacity, and pride.

William Wallace came from one-fifth of the Cotton Kingdom, also known as Alabama, and part of the tobacco road of North Carolina, which was home to her mother, Winnifred Jackson, a graduate of Hampton Institute (now known as Hampton University). Bernadine’s father, a Millwright, forged a life and legacy for his children. Bernadine and her brother William Wallace II grew up in the historic Boston-Edison district of Detroit and were baptized at St. Matthews St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. Additionally, she has two half-brothers, Eric and Denis Jackson. Bernadine has always been exceptional on many fronts She graduated from Commerce High School at the age of 16.

Bernadine would become a champion for social justice and serve at The Poor People’s Campaign that came to Detroit in May 1968, making many calls and contributions towards being a voice for those at the margins. She was recruited from the City of Detroit to work at GM as part of an integration initiative. She was a lover of travel, having visited Latin America, Europe, Jamaica, The Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, just to name a few. Before the phrase “Black Girl Magic” ever appeared, Bernadine Alice Jackson-Williams gave the world a radiant example of the phrase personified. She later became a graduate of Marygrove College with a degree in Business Administration, but always had a passion for the law and education.

Epic love and the source of good love songs and poems were what she prayed for and got. On March 1, 1975, she wed her husband and love of her life, Henry D. Williams, Jr.

Their love not only endures to this day, but that union brought Tonia Lee Williams into her life and produced two children, Ber-Henda Nicole Williams and Bryana Michelle Williams, who have both pursued careers in creativity, civic engagement, and spiritual connection. Bernadine was multifaceted and a deep thinker. She was very private about her inner world. She was a prolific writer and avid reader. She was intuitive and intelligent. Multifarious, she was not one to go along to get along but allowed people to have their perspectives.

She had a personalized faith with God. She had an undying love for her girls. Her life could be best understood this way:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”  John 16:13

Bernadine was a phenomenal woman of God: kind, gracious and loving.

In addition to her loving husband and daughters, she is survived by family and friends, her niece Danielle Jackson­Garda, nephew Denzel Lamar Jackson, and grandson Marcus. Some spirits are bigger than a body can hold, and Bernadine is that kind of spirit.

A memorial service will be held at St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202 on Saturday, March 30 at 11 AM.

Last Updated on March 27, 2024

The Michigan Conference