Ethel Mae Williams McGruder was born to Mrs. Savannah Williams Mullen and Mr. Rufus Hooper on February 24, 1946 in Marianna, Arkansas. She was the first born of six children.
Her Christian journey started at the age of eleven, when she was baptized in 1957 under the leadership of Pastor Haywood Adams, the pastor of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Marianna, Arkansas. Ethel attended Sunday School under the leadership of Brother Olly Neal, Sr. and Baptist Training Union under the leadership of Brother Vogus Barefield. She was a member of the Junior Choir and one of the lead singers all through elementary and high school.
Ethel attended Moton School and graduated from Strong High School in the Class of 1964. After high school, she attended Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), graduating in May of 1969 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work. Ethel married Julious McGruder in 1968, and to this union three children were born.
She began her career as an educator in 1969 in Marianna, Arkansas at the Lee County School District. She taught third grade through the fifth grade until retiring in the late 1990’s. Ethel loved her students and touched every child’s life she taught. Ethel strongly believed every child could learn.
Ethel departed from this earthly life into eternity on Friday, May 24, 2013 in Wynne, Arkansas.
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Born: February 24, 1946
Death: May 24, 2013
Place of Death: Wynne, Arkansas
Her mother—Savannah Mullen; father—Rufus Hooper of Cleveland, Ohio; her children—Michael (Debra) McGruder, Tamara Rena McGruder, and Kandra Lachelle McGruder of Marianna, Arkansas; a nephew whom she helped raise—Derrick Mullins; her children’s father—Reverend Julious (Verne) McGruder of Helena, Arkansas; a sister—Shirley (Robert) Thorn of Colt, Arkansas; brothers—Marvin (Joyce) Williams of Lindenhurst, Robert (Joyce) Mullins of Marianna, Arkansas; sister-in-law—Mildred Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas; her children’s siblings who called her “Mama Ethel” - Jesse Rozell McGruder (Kaiesha), Latreece McGruder (Randy) Olloway, Lynell McGruder (Al) and their children, Latond Murphy, and Adria Lynn Lane and their children; six grandchildren— Alantra Betts, Ashundra Betts, Anthony Betts, Jr., Sharrod McGruder, Michael McGruder, Jr., and Brandon McGruder; three nephews; seven nieces; ten great nieces and nephews; and a host of cousins, friends, extended family, and the Anna Strong High School Class of 1964
Her sister, Dorothy Jean Mullen and brother, Maxie Louis Williams