Her Life

Millicent Gail Minor arrived late on April 4, 1951 in Roanoke, Virginia.  Within a few years she moved with her mother, Martha, and her grandparents to Manhattan—early enough that she thought of herself ever afterward as a New York City girl.

            She left only to attend Cornell after two years at Borough of Manhattan Community College, then promptly returned to the city to complete her Master of Social Work degree at Hunter College.  Millicent had always known she would become a social worker, specializing in adoption and foster care, but she soon found another focus for the love and care and wisdom she had always shared with others.  She began assembling her own family, first by marrying Dennis Williams, whom she had met at Cornell, in 1976, then by adding Margo in 1979 and David in 1986 and later a granddaughter, Makayla Clay, in 2007.

            For the sake of her family, she left her beloved New York City for an extended stay in Ithaca, NY and then to settle in Silver Spring, MD. But she never stopped doing the work she loved, helping to assemble and strengthen other families. From the Association of Black Social Workers Child Adoption and Referral Service in Harlem to the Child Protective Services Training Institute in Ithaca to the Child Welfare League of America in Washington, D.C., and in her work as an independent consultant, she made a permanent difference in the lives of children and families.  Her legacy continues through the organization she adopted, the Foster and Adoptive Parents Advocacy Center.

            On a daily basis, Millicent had the same healing and nurturing effect on everyone she met.  Longtime friends and perfect strangers felt that they could tell her anything—and often did.  She listened without judgment and gave just enough advice to help them see things differently, feel better, make good decisions for themselves.  That was the gift she shared with a vast network of diverse and devoted friends dating back at least to middle school.

            Millicent could also cast spells.  Although her body was weakened for years by chronic illness, few could ever see her pain through the cloak of indomitable strength she projected.  Instead, they saw only a smart, funny, competent and caring woman who loved people and her life.  She left us early on April 27, 2016—quietly, so as not to bring attention to herself, as was her way.