When I was growing up there was a feature in each issue of the Reader’s Digest entitled “The Most Unforgettable Person I’ve Ever Known.”
Willie Bernice Randolph, or as I referred to her as Mrs. Randolph, while others of all ages referred to her either as “Willie” or Ms. Willie, would have been included in my very short list to profile in that feature.
Mrs. Randolph passed away March 15 after a long bout with cancer. She was born in Gladys Virginia and was one of nine siblings. The Randolphs were financially poor but lived a full and rich life of love and friendship.
Mrs. Randolph worked for me as a housekeeper for many years. We became very close friends. She was as bright a person that I have ever met. I think of how far she would have gone in a career had she been afforded a good education and equal opportunity. She had the best judgment of most people I have known. She was a principled person with the greatest work ethic and exceptional values. Political correctness was not part of her lexicon. More often than not she took opposing, frequently unpopular positions, of many of her friends and gave well thought out persuasive reasons why she was known as a contrarian.
Whatever task she undertook Mrs. Randolph did so with enthusiasm and thoroughness.
Mrs. Randolph was so loved by me and my wife, Sharon, that she and the woman who introduced us and her husband were the only non-family members who were invited to and attended our wedding.
Willie Bernice Randolph is survived by her two sons, George Randolph III, Gregory Payne and a granddaughter, Ayana Payne.
Always with a smile, and a wonderful sense of humor, no one will ever forget her selling her breads each Saturday at the Alexandria Farmer’s Market. But she was particularly proud of and well-known for her homemade biscuits served either with bacon or sausage. She was a fixture on the Alexandria scene who was loved by all who knew her. Willie Bernice Randolph will be greatly missed and long remembered.
Rest in peace.
H. Alan Young