Gertrude Roszettae Williams-Foster was born on May 31, 1916, in Hannibal, Mo., to Howard and Frances Williams. “The seventh child of the seventh child,” (maternal), is how she would fondly and often identify herself as one of 11 siblings from a large loving family with strong Christian values.

Gertrude Roszettae Williams-Foster was born on May 31, 1916, in Hannibal, Mo., to Howard and Frances Williams. “The seventh child of the seventh child,” (maternal), is how she would fondly and often identify herself as one of 11 siblings from a large loving family with strong Christian values.

Gertrude was an exceptional student, and graduated with honors from Douglass School in Hannibal, Mo. After her high school graduation, she enrolled and graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., became a teacher, and went on to attend several other institutions of higher education throughout her adult life. In addition to being in the field of education, she would also commit her life to the ministry.

Gertrude met her future husband, Rev. Julius F. Foster, when he was the minister at the Williams family church, Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. She began her life in the ministry with her marriage to Rev. Foster, and later became an ordained minister herself.

Gertrude’s husband, Rev. Foster, was appointed to many AME churches throughout the United States, and on the Island of Bermuda during their marriage. Rev. Foster was appointed to Canaan AME Methodist Church in Maywood Illinois in the '60s and with Gertrude, the “First Lady of Canaan,” was the minister when Canaan’s old structure was replaced with a new one dedicated in 1968. Gertrude became one of the associate pastors at Canaan AME Church after her husband’s death.

Gertrude, theatrically gifted as an educator, deployed this gift into her ministry, and was well known for the beautiful musical productions she would direct during the time she was affiliated with Canaan AME Church. “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse” by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), patterned after traditional African-American religious oratory, was one of her favorite productions.

Gertrude retired from Lincoln Elementary School in Maywood, Ill., after many years of teaching in School District 89. Upon her retirement, she began a new chapter in her life of ministry by being appointed the Senior Pastor at Alpha Baptist Church in Maywood.

Life’s journey for Gertrude ended October 22, 2015, while she was a resident of Aria Post Acute Care in Hillside, Ill.

 

Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Frances Williams; her husband, Julius F. Foster Sr.; her daughter, Julia Rosetta Foster Jackson; her son Julius (Jeff) Edward Foster III; four sisters, Anna Abbey-Ward, Clarabelle Williams, Caroline Range, and Luberta (Bettye) Clay; six brothers, Albert Williams Sr., William Williams, Louis Williams Sr., Howard Francis Williams, Otis Williams Sr. and Harold Williams; and a number of nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters in-law.

 

Gertrude leaves to cherish her memory and celebrate her long and distinguished life, two sisters in-law, Edlna and Louise Williams; three grandchildren, Dante Odric Jackson, Althena Tyishia Jackson Harpool, James Victor King; four great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson. She also leaves to cherish her memory and carry on the Williams Family legacy numerous nieces and nephews, all part of her large and loving extended family. Her life touched the lives of many former students, colleagues, members of the churches she was affiliated with, and friends.

 

Services for Gertrude will be Oct. 29, 2015, at Grand View Funeral Home and Burial Park. Visitation noon to 2 p.m. Funeral service 2 p.m.

Condolences may be sent to condolences@grandviewfuneral.com.