Willene Mellerson Wilkerson was called to her heavenly home in the early morning on Friday, August 27, 2021 at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital, Sumter. Willene was born on September 16, 1938, in Summerton. Willene and her late brother, Herbert Lee Mellerson, were born to the late Lander Mellerson and Josephine Brunson Mellerson Frierson. Following the passing of her father, her mother married Haskel Frierson and Willene was blessed with five additional siblings, Dorothy, Raymond, Charlie, McKever and Michael. Willene was educated in the public schools of Sumter County and was a member of the 1957 graduating class of Lincoln High School. Willene continued her education at Morris College earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Chemistry. She also completed advanced studies at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and Francis Marion University, Florence. Willene was united in holy matrimony to the late Robert Lee Wilkerson, the love of her life on April 4, 1971. They were blessed with beautiful and loving children; Carl, Karen, Michelle, Erica, and Dwain. Willene loved children, which was a large part of why she chose to become an educator. Helping young people discover a passion for learning was a true joy in life. She retired after 30 years as an elementary educator in Clarendon and Lee counties of South Carolina. Willene gave her life to Christ at an early age in Union Station A M E Church, Sumter. Her grandfather the late Reverend McKever Brunson was the Assistant Pastor. She later joined Victory Church under the leadership of Dr. Joann Murrill. She was a loyal and dedicated member. Her faith and spiritual growth led her to become a Deacon, through Dr. Murrill’s proclamation of the word, teaching and training. Willene became an outstanding servant leader in her church. After her son-in -law, the late Pastor Roosevelt Way and daughter, Lady Erica Way founded Breakthrough Covenant Christian Center, Columbia, she felt the call to join and support them. Willene’s precious memories will be honored, cherished and lived through two sons, Carl Wilkerson (Vickie) of Perryville, MD and Dr. Dwain Wilkerson (Kristin) of Colorado Springs, CO; three daughters, Karen Gamble (Lawrence) of Troy, N Y, Michelle Middleton (Mark) of Chesapeake, VA and Erica Way of Cayce; a sister, Dorothy Howard of Sumter; two brothers, Charlie Frierson and McKever Frierson, both of Sumter; two aunts, Mamie Frierson of Washington, D.C.; and Elizabeth McFadden of Sumter; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. In accordance with COVID 19 guidelines, the family is requesting face masks and social distancing be observed by relatives and friends during visitation at the home, 17 Pembroke Court, Sumter. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a. m., Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at Victory Church, 5155 Patriot Parkway, Sumter, with Chief Apostle Dr. Phillip O. Coleman, Supernatural Deliverance Worldwide Fellowship of Churches, officiating. The procession will leave at 10:20 a. m. from the home, 17 Pembroke Court, Sumter. Burial will be in the Hillside Memorial Park, 2561 Cains Mill Road, Sumter.
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