Natalie Kerns McWilliams was born in Charleston, West Virginia on June 29th, 1924 to parents Margaret and Wayland Kerns. She grew up in the small town of Goshen, Virginia.
Natalie graduated from Mary Washington College in 1945. She met her husband; Jay McWilliams (deceased) in Lexington, Virginia where they both worked for VMI (Virginia Military Institute). They married in 1946 and lived in Alfred, New York; West Hartford, Connecticut and Hudson, Ohio. While in Hudson, Natalie worked as the church secretary at the First Congregational Church.
Following her husbands’ retirement from the Hudson Local School District, she enrolled in Ashland Seminary to study for the ministry. Natalie graduated with a Masters of Divinity at the age of 57 and began her new career. She was called to serve as an Associate Minister at the First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island, SC. She was the first woman ever to serve in the Charleston Presbytery. She retired in 1992 and was named Pastor Emerita.
Natalie and Jay moved to Breckenridge Village in Willoughby, Ohio to be near their 3 children and their 5 grandchildren who lived in Cleveland Hts, Ohio. It was a great joy for her to officiate at the weddings of four of her grandchildren. Rev. Natalie McWilliams continued her ministry at Breckenridge Village where she led Bible study, Vespers and assisted in weekly Chapel Services. She preached her last sermon when she was 91 years old.
Natalie loved reading, playing the piano, doing puzzles (crossword and jigsaw), the Cleveland Indians and ice cream. Natalie believed in kindness and love for all people. She was a warmhearted and gracious lady all her life.
She is survived by her daughter, Kitty McWilliams (Ed Wagner); Peter McWilliams; Barbara McWilliams (Tom Piraino). Her grandchildren: Liz Matassa (Vincent Matassa), Meg McWilliams-Piraino (Nathan Miller), Christopher Whitney ( Meredith Whitney), Ann McWilliams-Piraino (Gerald Dixon), Jeff Whitney (Ashley Pence) and Molly Hall (Andrew Hall). Great Grandchildren: Max Matassa, Tucker and Natalie Hall, Maeve Piraino-Dixon, and Rhys Miller. Natalie is also survived by her six nieces and nephews that she was devoted to.
The funeral service will be private but may be viewed on the Fairmont Presbyterian‘s website (fpccle.org) after 10:00am on Monday, October 26th. To view Natalie's service go to (fpccle.org) Fairmount Presbyterian Church website, after 10:00AM on Monday, October 26th. The service will be available for one week. When you are on the front page of the website, click in the right hand corner for the drop down menu. If on a phone, Click "Resources". If on a computer, click "more", then "Resources."
Memorial gifts may be made to Smile Train, Southern Poverty Law Center or the Spiritual Life Fund at Ohio Living Breckenridge Village.