(1903 – 1987)
Gussie Williams Lavender was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on June 15, 1903, the first of two children from the union of Junius C. Williams, Sr., and Fannie Mae Boyd Williams.
The family moved to Tuskegee, where Gussie spent much of her youth. She graduated from Tuskegee Institute before entering the field of Extension work. After working several years, she met and married the love of her life, William Lavender of Eutaw, Alabama. The couple made Tuskegee their home and lived there throughout their life together.
Gussie loved her family and her work. She spent many hours with members of her family, sharing with much pride and fond memories her experiences as a Home Demonstration Agent in the area of Lee County, Alabama.
One of her favorite accounts of those times was how some of the husbands of the ladies she worked with couldn’t or wouldn’t eat cornbread their wives made until she assisted them in developing their ability to produce a more palatable product.
She certainly learned her trade well regarding preserving food. At her death in February of 1987, she still had jars of fruits and vegetables which were good for human consumption in her pantry, which had been sealed since 1943.
It is doubtful that anyone will ever take more pride in their work, have more love, or be more committed to all of their family members than was Gussie Williams Lavender. In fond memory and appreciation, her name is inscribed on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 267