Celebration of life Service
Celebration of Life Gathering
Life Story / Obituary
Summer Williams was a selfless person who lived her life spending time with family and making each day count. An avid entertainer, she shared her love of food with many and always enjoyed hosting family gatherings over the years. Known for her optimism and resiliency, Summer leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories to be cherished by her loving family and many special friends.
The 1970s were characterized by many marginalized people still fighting for equality, the increase of political conservatism, and traditional family roles. By 1977, the Apple II computer made its debut, Star Wars opened in cinemas, and Elvis Presley died at the age of 42. During the era of Jimmy Carter, Marshall Williams and JoAnn Woods-Williams welcomed the arrival of their newborn baby girl, Summer Renee, on June 25th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joining her older sister, Rasheka, her birth brought much happiness to her family.
Summer grew up on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. She was busy and a bit rambunctious. She filled her days playing with friends and her cousins who lived nearby. The crab apple tree in the front yard and willow tree in the back provided hours of fun. The foundations of faith came from attending St. Luke AME Zion Church where much of her family attended as well. Her Grandpa and Grandma, Lee and Dorothy Woods were influential in her life as well. From Hamilton Elementary School, to Iroquois Middle and she would graduate from Ottawa Hills High School. Summer enjoyed track and field, but she shined brightly with her soprano voice in the school’s traveling choir.
While in high school, Summer worked at Steketee’s and then in a few other retail positions. After graduating, she welcomed daughter Trinity into her life. With a desire to support her family, she decided to become a Certified Nurse Aide. Though that wouldn’t last long, the knowledge would come in useful later in her life.
A common thread throughout her life was her fierce independence. Summer was never afraid to speak up and share her ideas. From an early age, she was always able to see the big picture. Once she made her mind up, it was hard to steer her in another direction. From CNA work, she studied to become a licensed cosmetologist. A natural leader, Summer saw her true talents as an instructor and enjoyed teaching and inspiring others. She was reenergized when she and a business partner opened up their own beauty school. Later, she leaned on her early years as a CNA to start a new business in health care. She opened up Comprehensive Home and Health Care Services, coordinating clients with compatible home aides that would help with cleaning, running errands, personal care, meal prep, and medical assistance. Her days were filled running the business and she saw opportunity to grow by expanding to Romulus, so she became licensed in Wayne County as well. Summer always felt connected to the people she was helping.
Despite her career path, Summer always kept family as her number one priority. The family grew to include daughter, Genesis. Not to be forgotten was her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Dereck Brown. Summer loved spending time with her growing girls as well as her cousins, sister, and mom. Her favorite moments were spent on the sidelines and bleachers of many sporting events as well as dance and gymnastics. It was evident to all who knew her that she lived her life fully.
Summer had also become engaged, but life had other plans. About a year ago, she experienced debilitating headaches that began to affect her vision. Sadly, she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. The tumor also affected her memory and mind as well. Summer moved in with her sister to receive care in her final months. Her family struggled to see her suffer, but never left her side. They leaned on their many happy memories together to get them through her journey as the disease progressed. Their faith and the strength of their bond were a beautiful testimony of their love as a family. They will surely miss her sweet potato cheesecake and Southern cooking at each and every gathering. Her beautiful spirit and loving ways left an imprint on their hearts.
A true hostess, Summer hoped that her friends and family would gather to celebrate her life with a tasteful event with food and laughter. She leaves behind a rich collection of many special memories with the family she so loved. Gone too soon, may they be comforted in knowing that she loved each and every one of them beyond measure, and may they find joy and happiness in sharing her warm memories for generations to come.
Summer Renee Williams, age 46, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away on November 3, 2023. She is survived by her daughters; Trinity and Genesis; her mother, JoAnn Woods-Williams; father, Marshall Carl Williams; siblings: Rasheka Williams, Tina Goree, Mark Goree, and Mark Wilson; Godmother, Yvonne Carter; cousin, Carisa Richardson, as well as many other cousins; and her uncle Lee (Bernice) Woods Jr.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 3 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. The celebration of Summer’s life will continue immediately following the service with a reception until 6 PM. To share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com