Annette James Willie

2 July, 19379 May, 2020

Annette James Willie, Virginia Beach, VA, passed away on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

She was born to Albert and Ellen James on July 2, 1937 in Princess Anne County. She was the 15th of 17 children and because she was born so small (less than 4 pounds) she was affectionately called “Teenie” by her close family members.

Annette attended Union Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach where she met Lee W. Willie, Sr. whom she married on February 10, 1956. From their union, 5 children were born. Annette worked for Norfolk Public Schools and later at Swiss Cleaners for over 20 years. She was known throughout the city for her greens, pies and bread puddings and her husband was a special fan of her gravy. She would regularly send plates of her delicious food to seniors, sick and shut in, those in need or those who just asked for some of her delicious cooking. Advocates of education, Lee and Annette made sure each of their children attended college and supported their grandchildren in achieving excellence in their education and business endeavors. Family was very important to Annette and every week she cooked large meals for her children and grandchildren to eat, laugh and enjoy together. Annette was always very active in church. Growing up, she was a member of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) in Princess Anne County. After marrying Lee, she also began attending service at the United House of Prayer for all People in Virginia Beach until she decided to move her membership permanently in 1975. She was a long-time member of the Gospel Choir and a member and the current president of the No. 1 Ushers for decades. She was also a member of the Rosetta Chapter #119, Order of the Eastern Star of Virginia, PHA for over 50 years.

After a long illness and 52 years of marriage, Lee was called home to glory in 2008. Even after suffering such a great loss, Annette continued to remain strong and be a blessing to others. She joins her loving husband, Lee W. Willie, Sr. and son, Damon C. Willie in heaven and leaves to mourn: 3 daughters, Gayle Willie Robinson, Linda Holmes (Timothy) and Maria Teresa Willie of Va. Beach, VA; 1 son, Lee Willie, Jr. (Crystal) of Columbia, SC; 2 sisters, Barbara Patterson of Norfolk, VA and Dorothy Ward of Virginia Beach, VA; 3 sisters-in-law, Lola Elliott, Vivian Willie and Vera James of Virginia Beach, VA; 12 grandchildren, April Wright (Glenn) of Greensboro, NC, Steven Willie (Marlisa) of Clarksburg, MD, Jasmine Smith of Chesapeake, VA, Petrice Holmes of Greensboro, NC, Danielle Ruff (Chuck) of Columbia SC, Ronisha Willie of Va. Beach, VA, Adam Willie and Justin Willie both of Columbia, SC, Heaven Hodge of East Orange, NJ, Leah Willie of Dallas, Georgia, Brandi Carter of Va. Beach, VA and Aliyah Matthews of Washington, DC; 6 great-grandchildren; 2 godchildren, Heath Wright and Bryce Dildy and a host of great family and friends.

A viewing will be held on Friday, May 15, 2020 from 12 Noon until 5 p.m. at Smith & Williams Funeral Home, Kempsville Chapel.


  • Lee W. Willie, Sr., Husband of 52 years (deceased)
  • Damon C. Willie, Son (deceased)
  • Gayle Willie Robinson, Daughter
  • Linda Holmes (Timothy), Daughter
  • Maria Teresa Willie, Daughter
  • Lee Willie, Jr. (Crystal), Son
  • Barbara Patterson, Sister
  • Dorothy Ward, Sister
  • Lola Elliott, Sister-in-law
  • Vivian Willie, Sister-in-law
  • Vera James, Sister-in-law
  • April Wright (Glenn), Grandchild
  • Steven Willie (Marlisa), Grandchild
  • Jasmine Smith, Grandchild
  • Petrice Holmes, Grandchild
  • Danielle Ruff (Chuck), Grandchild
  • Ronisha Willie, Grandchild
  • Adam Willie, Grandchild
  • Justin Willie, Grandchild
  • Heaven Hodge, Grandchild
  • Leah Willie, Grandchild
  • Brandi Carter, Grandchild
  • Aliyah Matthews, Grandchild
  • Annette is also survived by 6 great-grandchildren; 2 godchildren, Heath Wright and Bryce Dildy and a host of great family and friends.



  • Visitation

    Friday, 15 May , 2020


  • Graveside Services will be private.


Annette James Willie

have a memory or condolence to add?

Leslie Cuffee

9 May 2021

Such a beautiful Queen. I remember all the good food she cooked for us on 5 K, the best!!! She had a smile that made you smile back. She’s gone from her earthly home to her heavenly home...never forgotten. Rest in Paradise Beautiful...💐💐💐

Frank T. Elliott

16 May 2020

Annette Willie was larger than life. She was so funny. I will never forget during a Combined Choir rehearsal one night, she arrived and Dorothy Mae Gains said " Annette Willie, you walked right in here a spoke to everybody except me!" Annette instantly replied, "I sho did and you can't make me either, you sho can't!" She then looked at Dorothy Mae, pursed her lips, rolled her eyes and turned her head the opposite direction. I almost fell off the piano bench.

What a jewel!

My thoughts and prayers are with you all! 🌹

Frank T. Elliott

Lenthia Willie-Clark

15 May 2020

To My Dear Willie Family,

Depend on God because he will give you just what you need as the days go on in this life. Your mother, St. Annette Willie was a special lady and we had a unique bond. I enjoyed taking plenty of candid photos of her throughout the years while we were fellowshipping at the United House of Prayer for All People. She brought me and the others around me much joy as she took pride in laying me out about taking her picture with my pink cell phone. After she fussed, she would lap her eyes and say “I ain’t thinking about Treta. Looking just like Laverta.” And then that smile would appear across her face and me and Nuk would just laugh. She often shared with me, “Laverta would be so proud of you.” In Aunt Annette’s unique way, she loved everyone in her own way. She was such a stylish woman with great character. From the days when I was younger seeing her and Cousin Flora Lee at Swiss One Hour Cleaners, to playing in my backyard and their front yard with my cousin Dumpy, to watching her struct to church in her lovely suits. Until just a few weeks ago, Aunt Annette was a constant in my life. I will miss her dearly along with seeing her bright smile with her beautiful grey hair. I loved her but God loved her and my cousin Dumpy enough to give them both rest. Until we meet again! Love you both Aunt Annette and Cousin Dumpy:).

From Cousin Lenthia LaTreta Willie-Clark

Leslie Cuffee

14 May 2020

Gayle, unconditional love and blessings to you and your family today and in the days to come. For we know, “weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning.” God Bless

Andrietta Willie

13 May 2020

I will miss you Auntie! Already do....We will strive to be strong women like you and the "Golden Girls", You ladies kept us in line, taught us how to be "ladies", without judgment! Sleep in heavenly peace Auntie!

Leslie Cuffee

13 May 2020

Mrs. Annette Willie had the spirit of a great Godly woman full of Grace and laughter in the times I was in her presence. Take you rest Queen Mother. My heartfelt condolences goes out to this beautiful family. May God grant blessings and peace that surpasses all understanding to each and every one of you. God Bless.

Janine Bineyard

12 May 2020

To April and family,

Extending my heartfelt condolences for your loss. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Janine & Xavier

Veda Wilkins

11 May 2020

April and Family. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I love you.

Veda Wilkins
Greensboro, NC

Audra Kittrell

11 May 2020

Sending love and Support to the Willie family. May God Continue to keep you in his loving arms during this difficult time.
To my sister April Wright the Shining Stars love ❤️ you. May God Comfort you.

Jimeetre Miller

11 May 2020

To April and the family we send our deepest condolences, praying that GOD will continue to keep you in his care and trusting in his promise that he will never fail.

Our Deepest Sympathy
Shaun & Jimeetre Miller
Greensboro, NC

From the Family