Esther Laverne Williams was born into this world on October 31, 1943 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to Sammie Leon and Mary Taylor Williams. At a tender age Esther confessed her faith in Christ and was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost at Tate Temple COGIC. She later united with Baring Cross COGIC where she served as Church Mother, Secretary, and Sunday school teacher and with the Minister’s wives. She loved her church family and was always ready to serve. Those she touched and those who knew her witnessed her untiring love for God. She was a believer in “treating others, as you would have them to treat you”.
Esther was a graduate of Peake High School. While in high school she met the handsome Jay Best Bailey, Jr. and a true love story began. Jay Best loved Esther greatly and he knew he wanted her to be his wife. He remembered the scripture Proverbs 18:22 that read “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD“. Their high school courtship blossomed into marriage when they were united in holy matrimony on December 30, 1962.
Jay Best and Esther completed their wonderful union with the addition of eight more important pieces, Shenetta, Michael, Stephen, Ronald, Bruce, Angela, Erica and Rhonda. The Bailey home was filled with an abundance of laughter and love. Esther was an impeccable housekeeper. Raising a family of eight children plus Jay Best, cooking became a great pastime for her.
Having raised children and grandchildren of her own she mastered babysitting and her love for children was unmatched. She knew how to discipline in love. She opened her home and would baby-sit in a small setting. She also worked at the Arkadelphia Human Development Center and Henderson State University.
Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them". Rev 14:13. Esther passed into the Lord’s embrace on Friday, January 10, 2014.
She was preceded in transition by her parents, Sammie L. and Mary Williams; three sisters, Lorene Williams, Fannie Pearl Williams, Gennetta Williams; two brothers, George M. Williams, Carl D. Williams and grandson Brandon Michael Bailey.
She leaves to forever remember her legacy: her beloved husband Jay Best Bailey, Jr. of 51 years; eight children, Shenetta Randle of Louisville, KY, Michael Bailey of Arkadelphia, AR, Stephen (Virginia) Bailey of Alexander, AR, Ronald (Myra) Bailey of Arkadelphia, AR, Bruce (Tonya Fuller) Bailey of Murfreesboro, TN, Angela Bailey of Mansfield, TX, Erica Bailey of Arkadelphia, AR, Rhonda (Tyrone) Brown of Ft. Worth, TX; twenty-seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mary (Joe) Banks of Chicago, IL, Debra (Gene) Thomas of Oakland, CA; four brothers, Sammie L. Williams, Jr., of Flint, MI, Roy A. Williams of Oakland, CA, James T. Williams of New Orleans, LA, and Jerry J. (Flossie) Williams of Arkadelphia, AR; one aunt, Gussie Taylor of Ypsilanti, MI; two god-daughters, Tamika Newborn and Shirley Nelson ; three sisters-in-law, Ruth L. White, Earline Bailey, and Hazel Bailey all of Arkadelphia, Ar. Three brothers-in-law, Eddie (Linda) Bailey of Gurdon, AR, and Earl (Belinda) Bailey of Arkadelphia; and Willie Jones of Arkadelphia;
Her first cousins and best friends, Samella Murphy of Arkadelphia; Theo Dickerson of Pine Bluff , Patricia Scott Hoskins of Atlanta, GA and special friend Linda Bailey of Gurdon, Ar. She also leaves several nieces and nephews, other relatives and countless friends.
Public visitation will be Friday, Jan. 17th from 12 noon -4:00 p.m. at the funeral home and the family will receive friends from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 16th and Caddo Streets.
A home going celebration will be shared on Saturday, Jan. 18th at 1:00 p.m., Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Supt. Leroy Williams will deliver the eulogy and Supt. Robert Davis will officiate. The interment will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Joan, Arkansas. The family will fellowship after the interment at the Community Family Enrichment Center in Feaster Park.