Biography: Lela Mae Williams Heyward was born August 13, 1941 in North Charleston, South Carolina to the late Edward (Eddie) Williams, Sr. and Hattie Williams Knight, and stepdaughter of the late
Samuel Knight, Jr.
On Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 11:20AM, Lela ascended into the outstretched hands of Jesus from the waiting room area of the Bronx Montefiore Hospital Optomology Clinic with her husband Reverend Nathaniel Heyward, Sr. by her side. She’s singing with the angels now in the heavenly choir.
Lela graduated from Bond Wilson High School in 1961. While there Lela played the clarinet in the band, played softball and joined the home economic club. Lela also wrote her class song. Upon graduating high school, Lela relocated to Brooklyn, New York where she enrolled in Computer School and acquired a key punch operator certificate. She worked as a key punch operator at the Chilewich Brokerage House on Wall Street until she retired in 1989.
Lela met Nathaniel Heyward, the love of her life at a New Years Eve Party in 1966. But, they didn't start officially dating until he slid into her one evening as he was leaving his job at 1st National City, New York City in 1967. They got married on June 22, 1968 and remained married for 52 years and 31 days.
Lela was an unusually kind, loving and giving person who would give you the clothes off her back. She was a mother to the community children. Her house was where the community children gathered. She was an untiring, supportive preachers wife and First Lady of the Church. She was beautiful and she knew how to dress and cook.
At an early age, Lela enlisted in the service of the Lord at the Old Charity Baptist Church in Dewey Hill to the New Charity Baptist Church where the pastor was the Reverend B.J. Whipper, Sr. with a love for music. Lela was a member of the Friendship Baptist Church in
Brooklyn, Tried Stone Baptist Church in the Bronx, Unity Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, St. Catherine AME Zion Church in New Rochelle, 1st CC Church in the Bronx, St. Mark AME Zion in Poughkeepsie, Clinton Memorial AME Zion Greenport and St. Francis AME Zion Church in Mount Kisco, New York.
She leaves to mourn: her devoted husband, Reverend Nathaniel Heyward, Sr.; five children: Natalie M. Heyward-Williams (Reginald), Opelika, Alabama, Leeshay Heyward Creer (Damian) of Bronx, New York, Nathaniel Heyward, Jr. (Willer) Lake Peekskill, New York, Naquasia
Heyward Charity (Timmy) Richmond, Virginia and Marcus Byrd Herbert of Lake Peeskill, New York; Six grandchildren, two sisters: Bessie M. Bateman, Goose Creek, South Carolina, Delores S Williams of Columbus, Georgia. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and close friends.