January 12: Willie Bernice Daughtry Hobgood (2007)

There was an inner light that shone through Willie Hobgood. The youngest of seven children, she was known as the “bookworm” in her family. Through reading and coursework she was always seeking to advance herself. Her jobs in Washington included stints at the Civil Service Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the State Department. In the newly established Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, she mentored many African-American employees, several of whom became U.S. ambassadors.

Willie Hobgood had a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.  She spent time each day reading the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Like someone devouring the pages of an intriguing novel, she put checkmarks beside favorite passages and used napkin pieces as paper in writing down her favorite Biblical chapters and verses. She attended church regularly, especially at Epiphany where she was faithfully present at the weekday 12:10 Eucharist.  One of her favorite pieces of advice for youth, “Go to church faithfully.  Make the week’s first steps the church steps.” The hope, strength, and solace that Willie gained from inside Epiphany’s red doors clearly shone through in a life well lived.

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