Virginia Williams, the mother of former Mayor Anthony Williams, died of a brief illness yesterday in Los Angeles at age 87.
Williams, who adopted the future mayor when he was 3 years old, was billed as the “first mother” of D.C. during her son’s mayoralty. Williams, whose ubiquity during her son’s administration earned her the nickname “Nana” in the mayor’s office, filled for her son by making appearances and singing at civic events.
“My mother was a great joy in my life, and she had a huge impact on the District,” Anthony Williams said in a statement.
Williams, sometimes accused of having too much influence over her son, brought a lively edge to his administration:
She breezes around town in a red Dodge Intrepid driven by her new friend, 83-year-old Carol Parris. Williams’s warm, hugs-for-everyone personality—quite a contrast to her more reserved son—has made her such a popular proclamation-reader and speech-giver that a mayoral aide now handles her schedule.
And then there’s the singing.
Williams stayed involved in D.C. politics after the end of her son’s administration—-here’s a feisty Williams telling Adrian Fenty to stop bugging his predecessor for an endorsement.
“The District of Columbia has been immeasurably enriched by her life, and we are thankful for her legacy even as we are saddened by her loss,” Vince Gray said in a statement.
D.C. services for Williams will be announced later this year.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery