Biography: Our beloved mother, Viola “Galzey” Washington was born into this world on January 16, 1921 on John’s Island in Charleston, South Carolina. Viola is the only daughter of Rose Smalls and Cain Ryan. Viola lost both her parents at a very young age and was raised and cared for by her aunt Irene Smalls and her husband George “Bubba” Myles . She had two brothers, Tillman and Elijah (also known as Uncle Son), both of whom preceded her in passing.
Viola split all her adolescent years between attending school and working the land on the family property on John’s Island. In 1943 at the age of twenty-two, she moved to New York and soon met her life partner, Edward D. Washington. Out of their union came three children: Dianne, George and Leon, in that order, each born three years apart.
Not long after arriving in New York, Viola took a job assisting Dr. Leo Mayer, a prominent New York Orthopedic Surgeon. She would go on to work for his private medical practice for the next forty-five years.
More importantly, Viola was one of those super sweet mom’s who was basically everyone’s mom. If you showed up at our house, you were sure to be welcomed with open arms, treated with warmth and kindness and you left with a big smile, genuine memories and a full stomach. She enjoyed having family around, she loved a good laugh and the sweet taste of a good watermelon.
Ms. Viola Washington enjoyed her life. All ninety-seven years, six months and two weeks of it. The Good Lord chose to guide her safely through all the dangers and pitfalls that this world could ever throw at a black woman, and with His blessing, she stood strong and loving, right up until her last breath.
With Viola’s passing she leaves a lasting legacy of a loving family; three children (mentioned above); five grandchildren: Shan’ee, Monay, Leon Jr., Jazmin and Iziah; four great-grandchildren: Alauna, Aliya, Davon and Jabari Jr.; and a whole host of relatives and dear friends.