Carolyn Ousley Williams radiated light, love, and strength. From her tireless dedication to motivating young people to achieve their life's ambition, her entrepreneurial spirit and aptitude, her commitment to preserving and advancing the contributions of African Americans to all aspects of society, and above all, her selfless raising of her three daughters - Carolyn Ousley Williams shined brilliantly.
Carolyn Ousley Williams was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Flournoy and Dorothy Ousley. In the late 1940s, her family opened Ousley's Shop-N-Save at 8611 Quincy Avenue in Cleveland, and for decades contributed to the economic development in the surrounding African American community. Carolyn's parents were instrumental in shaping her passion for education, community service, entrepreneurship, land ownership, and family. In 1963, Carolyn received her Bachelor of Arts from Howard University. After graduating from the "Capstone," she remained in Washington, D.C. Her career began on Capitol Hill as an intern in the office of the Representative for Ohio's 11th Congressional District. Carolyn commenced her graduate studies in international relations at Georgetown University in the Department of Government and taught social studies at Hart Jr. High School. She later returned to Howard University and completed a Masters of Arts in African Studies and Research (1972). In 2002, Carolyn attended Harvard University Graduate School of Education, The Principals' Center Institute, Leadership: An Evolving Vision. Upon completing her education, Carolyn sought professional opportunities to advance and educate young people, serving in the following roles: President of Project Awareness, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing political awareness of inner city youth funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Robert F. Kennedy Foundation; Fundraiser and Event Planner for the Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia and United Planning Organization; Project Director for Council of the Great City Schools International Student Ambassador Exchange Program; President and Founder of Metropolitan Uniforms Inc., a school uniform retail business; and Coordinator and Teacher of the Roosevelt High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. Throughout her life, Carolyn maintained significant affiliations to many social, civic, and religious organizations in the greater Washington area. She served as a member of the National Cathedral School for Girls Board of Trustees, and President of the Washington Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. She was also an active member of the Scholarship Committee at Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ and Co-Chair of the Capital City Chapter of Links, Incorporated, Evolutionary Woman Program at Dunbar High School. Carolyn served on the General Committee of the Tuxedo Ball. She was also active in Girlfriends, For Women Only, Just Us, Saturday Morning Network Group and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Most importantly to Carolyn, she built a beautiful family and embraced her role as the family matriarch. In 1970, she married her soulmate, the late Chauncey Harrison Williams, Jr., a graduate of Morgan State University and Howard University School of Law (1971). Chauncey served in former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry's administration in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations. Carolyn's wonderful marriage produced her greatest love, three daughters: Cecily Carolyn Williams Henson, Careina Dorothy Williams, and Cherilyn Amy Williams. The love and life shared between Carolyn and her girls is a testament to Carolyn and her life's teachings. She strongly emphasized higher education in their home, and her daughters exceeded her every expectation for success by graduating with honors from the National Cathedral School for Girls, and the following institutions: Cecily, University of Virginia and University of Michigan Law School; Careina, Harvard University cum laude, and Harvard Business School; and Cherilyn, Cornell University and University of Michigan School of Business. They now enjoy remarkable careers in law, business, and hotel management. In recent years, Carolyn spent time sharing love with her two granddaughters Chase Carolyn Williams and Carolyn Poppy Henson, rising first graders at Beauvoir Elementary School, and Princeton Day School, respectively.
She enjoyed international traveling, interior decorating and exercising. She also reinvented herself with a new career as a land developer of her family farm and city property in Ohio. Carolyn's legacy endures in her three daughters Cecily, Careina, and Cherilyn, son-in-law Frank DeWitt Henson, Jr., granddaughters Chase and Poppy, sister Lolita Ousley Isaac, brothers Flournoy Ousley, Jr. and Quentin Ousley, brother-in-law Oliver Isaac, sister-in-law Anna Williams and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and former students.
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Chauncey Harrison Williams, Jr. and Carolyn Ousley Williams Family Foundation