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Zula Arnette Williams, teacher co-founded church

March 26, 1935 – April 18, 2015

Zula Arnette Williams of Buffalo, a retired teacher and co-founder of Grace Tabernacle COGIC, died Saturday in Buffalo General Medical Center under hospice care after a lengthy illness. She was 80.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., the former Zula Arnette McClellan was the fifth of ten children and graduated from Fosdick-Masten Park High School in 1954. She earned a master’s degree in education from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1957.

For many years, she taught in the elementary school system, including Schools 93, 16 and BUILD Academy, retiring in 1974.

After her retirement, she held several positions, including courtroom stenographer, real estate agent for Goldstein Realty, and taught GED classes at the Adult Learning Center.

She worked diligently for the Church of God in Christ on local, state and national levels. In 1974, she and her husband, Elder Houston Williams Sr., founded and organized Grace Tabernacle Church of God In Christ at 539 William St., where she also was church pianist. After her ordination as elder by Bishop C.H. McCoy, Mrs. Williams became dean of Tabernacle Training Institute at Grace Tabernacle.

She was a member of Church of God in Christ Western New York Jurisdiction II, where she was an evangelical trainer for missionaries receiving their licenses, and state chairwoman for Young People Willing Workers Department.

Her husband of 33 years died in 1990.

Survivors include her daughter, Cynthia Lynelle; and a son, Houston Jr.; three sisters, Barbara Simmons, Eleanor Woodward and Beatrice E. Rouse; a brother, Franklin D. McClellan; a granddaughter; and three great-grandchildren.

A homegoing celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Olive Baptist Church, 701 E. Delavan Ave.

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