Bishop Leroy Williams, Sr.
Pastor, Distinguished Man of God, Family Man, and Community Servant
Bishop Leroy Williams, Sr., was born on October 2, 1931, to the late Floyd Graham, Sr., and Stella Williams. He was reared by his mother and maternal grandmother, Ms. Hattie Williams.He made his triumphant, peaceful transition to Glory on May 23, 2020, with his eyes looking toward Heaven. Assuredly, the angels rejoiced at his arrival.
Bishop Williams grew up in Fairfax, SC, and Savannah, GA. As an adult, he was determined to complete his education so he attended night school and obtained his high school diploma. He also completed courses in carpentry at Hampton Technical School and later, attended religious seminars and training classes, working toward obtaining his Doctorate degree in Theology.
In 1954, he enlisted in the United States Army and was a survivor of the Korean War. He served faithfully and earned several medals of honor. He was also a dedicated worker at Savannah River Plant, Embler Door Company, and Westinghouse for 25 years, until his retirement in 1990.
In his early Christian journey, he was a member of the Jackson Branch Baptist Church, Brunson, SC, and the Cherry Grove Christian Church, Miley, SC. In June 1959, Bishop Williams gave his life to God under the late Mother Lillie M. Williams and Bishop Rufus A. Easter. He became an ordained deacon, minister, and eventually an ordained Elder on August 27, 1976. He was dedicated to the church and his leaders and served faithfully at the home church (St. Phillip Apostolic Faith) along with the other Elders and deacons who would carry on the church when Bishop Easter traveled back and forth to the North. He served as a church musician (beating the bass drum, playing the lead guitar, and later the organ). He also served as the National Youth president for several years and enjoyed supporting the youth during the Apostolic conventions throughout the states of New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. He was an integral part of the formation of The Soul Survivors, a gospel singing group from Hampton, SC, that traveled for several years participating in gospel concerts across the United States.
He loved playing music, singing, shouting and preaching the word of God in a powerful and anointed way. He was definitely a praise and worship leader who was on fire for God and did not like a quiet/“dead service.” He would often say, “Anything dead need to be buried, I’m not going to let no rock cry out for me! God is worthy to be praised!” He
inspired many of the next generation of young preachers by the way he ministered the anointed Word of God.
He was a giver, a doer, and provided aid to those in need; often times without even being asked. He was faithful, compassionate, and a man of his word. He believed EVERY Word of God. As a bold soldier for the Lord, he preached the true, unadulterated word of God and was not afraid to speak the truth within or outside of the church. He showed love, even to those who persecuted him. He would say, “They persecuted Jesus, and he was able to love the people anyway, taking a stand for the Lord is not always going to be easy.” Like the true man of God he was, he prayed for his persecutors, forgave them, and even helped them in their time of need. He had a desire to see every man, woman, boy and girl saved and living for the Lord.
In the 1970’s, he started a prayer mission in Estill, SC, and as people were led to Christ, a new church was formed. The St. James Apostolic Church was founded and pastored by Bishop Williams for over 50 years. In October 30, 1977, he became an ordained Bishop. In June 1979, he created the Apostolic Faith Church of a Living God, Incorporation, which eventually formed a union of several churches. He transitioned to Pastor Emeritus, and continued to boldly proclaim the word of God and sing praises unto the Lord until his death.
He is the father of a daughter, Annette Smoaks, of Allendale, SC. On May 20, 1954, he was joined by marriage to Dorothy Louise Johnson. On May 20, 2020, they celebrated 66 years of marriage. From this union, nine children were born, Leroy Williams, Jr., of Jackson, SC, Dottie M. Holly (Allen) of Kansas City, MO, Frances Williams of Augusta, GA, Calvin Williams (predeceased), Isaiah Williams (Shelina) of Jackson, SC, Kathryn Williams of Augusta, GA, Virginia W. Brown (Thurman) of North Augusta, SC, Gloria Williams (predeceased), and Wendell Williams of North Augusta, SC.
He leaves to cherish sixteen grandchildren, twenty-five great- grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Bishop Williams is survived by: one sister, Patsy Graham; three sisters- in-law, Elease Glover, Callie L. Johnson, and Mary Johnson; and three brothers-in-law, Johnnie Moore, Sr., Jerry Sanders, and Joe Smith. He was preceded in death by a sister, Elease Graham Smith, and three brothers, Floyd Jr., Alex, and Adolf Graham. He will be fondly remembered by many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He was a great example of a man who followed God, and there is no doubt his legacy followed him to Heaven but will also continue on through the many lives he touched here on earth.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
- Revelation 14:13
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