Peacefully, in the wee hours of the morning of Monday, the 11th day of October in the year of our Lord, 2021, the Martin and Lancaster families as well as the close-knit community of Windbrook, lost …a fighter, …one fierce warrior, …a legend to many, …an icon to others, and …truly the epitome of a strong black woman, our Willia Teresa Martin-Lancaster.
For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
- John Connolly
Willia was born on December 21, 1944, in North Carolina. She was educated in the public schools of Raleigh, NC, eventually obtaining her GED. As a young adult, Teresa, as she was known to many, made her way to the big city of Washington, DC. After arriving in DC, she later obtained employment with the federal government at the Department of Treasury. There, she diligently served as an Administrative Assistant. In 2012, after over thirty years of proud civil service, Willia retired to enjoy the next phase of life with her family and friends.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
– Proverbs 22:6
Having early on been “trained up in the way” she should go by her mother, the late Gladys Bryson, Willia, for a time, attended the Garden of Prayer Pentecostal Church in Southeast, Washington, DC. With an early established spiritual foundation, she continued to practice her Christian faith throughout her life and instilled it into her own future family.
While a woman of unfailing faith, Teresa also enjoyed the finer aspects of life, always ensuring to look out for and give back to others. It was one of these facets of her DNA makeup that led her, in her early twenties, to become a member of a social club appropriately named the “Foxy Nine”. Being the foxy, classy, stylish, and fashionable woman she was, it was no surprise that she served as the President. A born social butterfly as well as a flourishing socialite, Willia loved music and entertaining as well as travelling. And even though she enjoyed looking “fantabulous”, she rarely shopped for herself and often put the needs of others before her own. Anyone who knew Teresa can attest to the fact that when you went to her home, you would often receive a gift bag filled with items that you didn’t even know would come in handy some day! Understand, there is no question about it, she had a knack –a gift-- for making everyone feel special, no matter who you were!
I'm a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Willia will be remembered as one of the most phenomenal women to ever grace the Earth. She was a very kind and always positive woman who only looked for the good in people. The definition of a “Lady” and what a “woman of substance” should embody, Willia prided herself in educating and filling everyone with that same knowledge that she herself garnered from having read possibly thousands of books. As the matriarch of her family, she bestowed those aforesaid qualities on the members of her own village and maintained an open-door policy to allow her tribe a much-appreciated line of communication and often comfort. Remaining true to the intent of that practice, Momma Willia never turned away a soul! You would find her often offering words of wisdom and encouragement to the family to pursue and follow their dreams. Also, in knowing and understanding we all can be fragile at times, she was the best at stroking a person’s ego to make you believe you could do anything! These qualities helped to solidify her as …everyone’s fan favorite, …everyone’s trusted confidant, …everyone’s warrior idol, …everyone’s “bestest” friend, …everyone’s mom, and now, … everyone’s Guardian Angel.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.
– Luke 12:48
Yes, Willia Teresa believed in “Family Over Everything.” She stressed the importance of family sticking together and expanded that mantra to her community, too. See, Willia will go down in history not just as a wonderful matriarch to the Martin-Lancaster family but as an extraordinary figure in the community of Windbrook. A resident of more than 44-years, she extended all of her various familial roles to include those in the neighborhood. Henceforward, she very well could be considered “Queen Emeritus of Windbrook” as her impact on the lives of those around her cannot be denied.
Willia Teresa was preceded in death by her husband - Joseph Lancaster, son - Anthony Bryson, mother - Gladys Bryson, and brother
- Norris Jones.
To celebrate and cherish the essence of a Lady and Mother, she leaves her beloved eight children - Conrad Lancaster, Brenda Lancaster, Charles Martin (Renetta), Tracy Martin (Gail), Gwendolyn Dean-Martin (Tiffany), Angel Lancaster, Adrian Lancaster (DeAunte’), Shelley Lancaster, and, bonus daughter, Dana Jones. Along with two valued siblings - George Bryson and Phyllis Lytes. An enduring and endearing legacy of 14 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild as well as a loving host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and treasured friends.