The Rev. Reuel Williams, assistant pastor of Praise Tabernacle in Jamaica, passed away at his home on March 3, following complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 83.
Williams enjoyed success as a businessman, entrepreneur and military service member, before devoting his life to God and teaching others the message of the Bible.
Born into a religious family, then living in Harlem, Williams had the desire to learn and educate others from an early age. He attended both Manhattan Bible Institute and Bethel Bible Institute.
He became an ordained minister after graduating from the Virginia Seminary in 1988. He served at Amity Baptist Church in Jamaica and then Joyful Heart Baptist Church in Hempstead, NY, before coming to Praise Tabernacle, where he became the assistant pastor and served for the last 18 years.
Williams was selected to mentor youth as well as adults. In addition to his role as assistant pastor, Williams was vice president of the Te’Hillah School of Urban Ministry, coordinator of the Couples Fellowship Ministry, minister of Building Operations, overseer of the Deaconate Board and a member of the Praise Tabernacle Gospel Chorus.
Williams’ formal education began in city schools in Harlem. He later attended Cooper Junior High and Rice High School and then went on to Queensborough Community College in Bayside.
Following seven years of service in the Air Force, Williams worked for the city Transit Authority. Then, for 11 years, he served as assistant manager at the Rochdale Village Management Office, where he was responsible for the supervision of 140 maintenance employees and 35 office workers.
Williams continued his education at several business schools and worked for the Alberto-Culver Co. for 18 years. His job required that he travel throughout the country and the Caribbean teaching classes and seminars on the use of a popular line of hair care products for women of color. He later founded and operated the Sir Gemini Hair Salon with his cousin, Kenneth Williams, in Rochdale Village.
Williams is survived by his wife of 26 years, Mozelle; sons Derek, Erroll, Wendell and Reuel Jr.; daughtersStacey Bobb and Tanika Taliferao; and their husbands Marcus Bobb and Harlan Taliferao;grandchildren Shanan, Shaniece, Shakea, Jasmyn, Josiah, Imani, Mia, Mateo, Heru, and Brandon; mother-in-law, Lucille McKethan; sisters-in-law Emma Williams, Saundra Williams and Deborah Williams; and one brother-in-law Larry Gordon. He is also survived by his cousins Kenneth Williams, Mae Grant and Benjamin Williams as well as nieces, nephews, many friends, and a large church family.
A funeral service for Williams was held on March 8 at Praise Tabernacle, and he was buried the following day at Calverton Cemetery in Calverton, LI.