Obituary for Mrs. Tobizena Brown Williams

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Mrs. Tobizena Brown Williams

July 1, 1939 - July 26, 2019

Tobizena Brown Williams was the eleventh child born to Mr. and Mrs. Otto H. Brown in Marshall, Texas. Although the family lived in East Texas during the Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Brown stressed the importance of education by providing their daughters with piano lessons, making sure all graduated from high school and sending all children to college. After Tobizena graduated with honors from H. B. Pemberton High School, she followed in the footsteps of her older siblings and enrolled in Bishop College. While attending Bishop, Tobizena taught private piano lessons and served as pianist for several local churches. After graduating in May 1961, Tobizena began her professional teaching career in secondary choral music at Burnett and Terrell High Schools in Terrell, Texas where the choirs received many awards and accolades. She was especially proud of being the director of the 1963 Grand Prize Winners of the National Quartet Competition, New Farmers of America Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Williams and her family moved to Dallas in 1968 where she began teaching choral music with the Dallas ISD. She also began graduate studies at North Texas State University (University of North Texas) earning a Masters of Music Education in 1971. She credited Dr. David McGuire as being a great inspiration for her success as a music educator.

In 1985, Mrs. Williams joined the Dallas ISD’s Basic Skills Core Piano Program. She initiated the BSC Core Piano Program at Zaragoza Elementary School where the Zaragoza Keyboarders were requested to perform throughout the city and the state of Texas. Under the direction of Mrs. Williams, the East Dallas Interlochen Summer Piano Program was created where students were immersed daily in musical studies using theory, computers, performance and educational excursions to develop and enhance their skills.

Tobizena served on many committees as a clinician for piano workshops, as well as experiencing many firsts in her career. Among the recognitions were the first Dallas ISD teacher to present and conduct a Keyboard Orchestra at the 1997 Texas Music Educators Association; the first Dallas ISD teacher and first African American to direct an ensemble of ten baby grand pianos at the Texas Music Teachers Association; and the first African American who served on the Board of the Texas Music Teachers Association. Her memberships and affiliations included Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Texas Music Educators, Group Piano Association, National Association of Negro Musicians, Sigma Alpha Iota Music Sorority, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society.

Tobizena cherished the unconditional love and support from her late husband of fifty-four years, Johnny Ray Sr, daughters, Yolonda and Yvette, son and daughter-in-law Johnny, Jr. & Vanessa, and granddaughter Taylor. She is survived by her remaining sibling, Bobbie Jean Brown Johns, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, extended family, friends and students. For over 20 years, she served faithfully as the pianist and choir director of her home church, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and her dearly loved her church family.

Tobizena was preceded in death by her parents, Lily and Otto Brown Sr., and siblings Dorothy Oveda Brown, Willie DeLoach Beavers, Nathan Hochwald Brown, Amos Charleston Brown (sunset 7/23/19), Otto Hunt Brown, Jr., Roscoe Vernon Brown, Ollie Winfield Brown, and Annie Laura Brown Bowie.


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Service Schedule

Visitation Information

Date: Friday, August 2, 2019

Time: 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Black and Clark Funeral Home


2517 E. Illinois Avenue, Dallas, TX, 75216

WAKE: 8-9PM, Friday, August 2, 2019
Black and Clark Funeral Home Chapel
2517 E. Illinois Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75216

Service Information

Date: Saturday, August 3, 2019

Time: 11:00 am

Mt Sinai Baptist Church


6819 Lake June Road
Dallas, Texas 75217

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Timeline for Mrs. Tobizena Brown Williams

Born: July 1, 1939
Died: July 26, 2019

Condolences for Mrs. Tobizena Brown Williams

Dr. Ronald H. High posted on 8/3/19

I am saddened at the demise of Mrs. Tobizena H. Brown Williams who inspired me as a church musician during my formative years. Mrs. Williams was the pianist at the Greater Oak Grove Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, from her youth until she graduated from Bishop College. Mrs. Manina Fullalove, my grandmother, was a member and contralto soloist of the Senior Choir at Oak Grove under Mrs. Williams' direction. It was a pure delight for me to visit my grandmother in the summers and attend Oak Grove. Mrs. Williams and the choir would sing with so much spirit that people would shout throughout the congregation. I paid close attention to every chord and musical nuance that emanated from Mrs. Williams. Furthermore, Mrs. Annie Laura Brown Bowie, Mrs. Williams' sister, would come to Oak Grove and play the piano as well. The same night that I received the B. M. degree in music from North Texas State University, Mrs. Williams received the M.M. degree in music education. When Mrs. Lillie Brown, Mrs. Williams' mother, died, my grandmother sang for the funeral, as she was a close family friend to the Browns. I have held a doctoral degree in music for 38 years. Mrs. Williams was an instrumental influence on me as I accomplished this milestone. Mrs. Bobbie Jean Johns, a sister of Mrs. Williams and a resident of Beaumont, Texas, has been a supporter of the recitals that I have presented in that area throughout the years. On this day of celebration of the legacy and life of Mrs. Williams, I thank God for her contributions to the music world through teaching, conducting, and accompanying. I am confident that her gift and love of music will continue to live through her students, family, and friends.


Cynthia Navarrete posted on 8/3/19

My heart is sadden at the loss of one so precious to so many. To Yolanda and Yvette my prayers for you are for strength, peace, encouragement, joy in your remembrances of love and laughter shared. Keeping you lifted in Jesus’ mighty name AmenπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎβ€οΈπŸ˜˜


Alicia Solares posted on 7/31/19

My deepest and sincere condolences to the family. Mrs. Williams was a fantastic piano teacher at Zaragoza Elementary School for many years. Very caring and giving with her students. Participated in many events during Black History month among other music performances. She was an amazing person who I had great respect for and will never forget her. Rest in peace Tobi.


Shaunta posted on 7/31/19

Mama Williams will never be forgotten. She always made me feel like family. She was one of a kind. From her eclectic style (stylish frames) to her loving heart. She touched all those who was blessed to know her. Love you family. Shaunta