Annette James Willie

July 2, 1937May 9, 2020
Obituary of {subject.fullNameWithPrefixAndSuffix}

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.

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  • 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.

Past Services

Friday, May 15, 2020



Graveside Services will be private.