Wendy Williams confirms death of her mother, Shirley Williams: ‘She passed peacefully’

Gerren Keith Gaynor

The Williams matriarch was a retired school teacher and regularly appeared on ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ and captivated audiences

Shirley Williams, the mother of Wendy Williams, has passed away, the TV host confirmed on her talk show on Monday.

“My mom passed away many, many, many, many weeks ago,” Williams told her millions of viewers. “She passed away beautiful and peacefully and was surrounded by love.”

Mrs. Williams regularly appeared on The Wendy Williams Show throughout its 12 years on-air. The love between Wendy and Shirley Williams often on full display on the daytime talk show, as Shirley and her husband Thomas Williams Sr. appeared on camera as special guests in the live audience.

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(Photo: Instagram)
(Photo: Instagram)

And while like most celebrity moms, Shirley Williams, a retired school teacher, remained behind the scenes of her daughter’s meteoric career, she often won over audiences and Wendy fans with her endearing personality and humor.

One particularly memorable moment between Wendy and her mother ended with the talk show host in tears. In 2010, Shirley Williams shared a story with viewers about how Wendy’s birth brought “a ray of sunshine” to their family, as it occurred just months before Shirley Williams’s mother died of colon cancer.

“In 1964, my family was full of stress and in a lot of darkness because my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was not a good time for my family. But then a ray of sunshine came into our lives,” Shirley Williams said at the time.

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“What a wonderful blessing it was to us that one was ready to be taken away in October and one brought a ray of sunshine and hope and wonderfully, bubbly personality.”

Wendy also shared that when she was born in July, her mother was on summer break from teaching and yet had the job of caring for a newborn and simultaneously driving more than an hour from their home in Ocean Township, New Jersey to see her dying mother in Elizabeth.

“While one life was lost, one life was gained,” Wendy Williams added. “And maybe that’s why my mother says I turned out so bubbly because I was there to inject new ray and light … to our family.”

Shirley Williams said her mother lived just long enough to see baby Wendy who she named personally. “My mother is still looking down on her and saying, ‘Go Wendy,'” she said.

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In addition to her service as an educator, Shirley was a consummate leader in the Ocean Township community, even winning a national award. Mrs. Williams served as the Ocean chapter president of Drifters Inc., a national organization of Black women promoting education and civics, according to the Asbury Park Press.

She was also active in several community organizations including the Monmouth County Council of Girl Scouts, the Central New Jersey Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc., and the Lamda Omega Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Shirley Williams had three children: Wendy, Wanda and Thomas Jr.

theGrio sends our deepest condolences to Wendy Williams and her entire family.

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