Gertrude Roszettae Williams-Foster was born on May 31, 1916 in Hannibal, Missouri to Howard and Frances Williams. "The seventh child of the seventh child ", (maternal) , is how she would fondly and often identify herself as one of eleven siblings from a large loving family with strong Christian values.
Gertrude was an exceptional student, and graduated with honors from Douglass School in Hannibal, MO. After her High School graduation, she enrolled and graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, became a teacher, and went on to attend several other institutions of higher education throughout her adult life. In addition to being in the field of education, she would also commit her life to the ministry.
Gertrude met her future husband, Rev. Julius F. Foster, when he was the minister at the Williams family church, Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. She began her life in the ministry with her marriage to Rev. Foster, and later became an ordained minister herself.
Gertrude's husband, Rev. Foster, was appointed to many AME churches throughout the United States, and on the Island of Bermuda during their marriage. Rev. Foster was appointed to Canaan AME Methodist Church in Maywood Illinois in the 60's. and with Gertrude, the" First Lady of Canaan", was the minister when Canaan's old structure was replaced with a new one dedicated in 1968. Gertrude became one of the associate pastors at Canaan AME Church after her husband's death.
Gertrude, theatrically gifted as an educator, deployed this gift into her ministry, and was well known for the beautiful musical productions she would direct during the time she was affiliated with Canaan AME Church. "God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse" by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), patterned after traditional African-American religious oratory, was one of her favorite productions.
Gertrude retired from Lincoln Elementary School in Maywood, IL, after many years of teaching in School District 89. Upon her retirement, she began a new chapter in her life of ministry by being appointed the Senior Pastor at Alpha Baptist Church in Maywood.
Life's journey for Gertrude ended October 22, 2015, while she was a resident of Aria Post Acute Care in Hillside, Illinois.
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