Mourning the death of Sister Hazel

The city of Gainesville, Florida is mourning the death of a local missionary, a woman who was also WITN anchor and reporter Lynnette Taylor’s godmother.

Sister Hazel Williams, age 91, died at her Gainesville home this weekend.

If her name sounds familiar, that’s no surprise. The band Sister Hazel, which is from Gainsville, named itself after her, in honor of her work to help her community.

“A missionary with the Church of God in Christ, she spent years… decades… taking care of the homeless,” said Lynnette. “She clothed them, fed them, led them to Christ and loved them like they were own kids. While she never had children, God gave her His lost children to take care of. For that, she was beloved in the community for her charitable giving and her stern belief in the Lord. She wasn't rich by any means. She barely made it, but through her village of loved ones, we made sure she could live the way she wanted until the very end. I thank God for choosing us to fulfill that for her. For 14 years, I had the privilege and the honor to learn what it takes to pray, give unselfishly, and follow my faith.”

The band posted a note on Facebook post after Sister Hazel's passing, which said in part: "As a band and as ambassadors for Gainesville and for her good name, we will do our best to continue to impact our world in positive ways with kind messages, thoughtful music, and powerful community experiences that are filled with love, inclusion, service, and joy."

Our condolences go to Lynnette and all the people who loved Sister Hazel.

Funeral arrangements are being made at this time.