Wilma Ham Greason was born in Freehold, New Jersey, to two devoted parents, Walter and Lillian Ham. Her siblings were Marion, Katherine, Walter, Joseph, Leona, Lillie, David and Sally Anne. She was the center of family life for hundreds of godchildren, nieces, and nephews. She was a lifelong member of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Freehold, New Jersey. Her contributions to her church and her community have been many.
Wilma began her Christian service at Bethel A.M.E. Church over sixty years ago in Sunday School programs, weddings, farewells, and numerous special church projects. She faithfully provided the piano/organ accompaniment for Worship and Celebratory Services, and anytime a musician was needed. Wilma was faithful and willing to serve. Through the years, she has been the pianist for several area churches, and was currently the pianist for St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Red Bank, New Jersey.
For several years, Wilma was elected as a delegate to the African Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference. She founded the Bethel Scholarship Committee, which, for forty years, has provided financial aid to college students. She was a founding member of the Flower Club. The club’s primary purpose is to beautify the church with floral arrangements throughout the year, and festive decorations during the holiday season. She has served on the Trustee Board, Steward Board, Finance Committee, Missionary Society, and Organized Lay.
Wilma’s educational background includes studies in the Freehold Borough elementary and high school districts. She continued her higher education at Rutgers University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling. Wilma earned an Associate degree in Accounting from Brookdale Community College.
During her forty-year career as a civil servant, she shared her knowledge and talents as an employment counselor with the New Jersey State Employment Service in New Brunswick and Asbury Park, New Jersey. She also worked as a Mental Health Department Supervisor at Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital in Marlboro Township, New Jersey.
Wilma’s community involvement includes being past president of the Freehold Elementary School District Board of Education, past board member of the Western Monmouth YMCA Board of Directors, and past president and current treasurer of the Monmouth County Business and Professional Women’s Club. Her church and community work made her a legendary figure in New Jersey history. Wilma was the embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for a beloved community around the world.
Wilma is survived by and the proud mother of two children, Walter David and Wilma Diana; daughter-in-law, Janiece Sharnel; three grandchildren, Vaughn Lawrence Duende, Shaylah Elizabeth, and Samad Kweli; godchildren, Christine Hollingsworth and Deborah Whitt; sister, Lillie Ham Hendry; brother, David Ham; and a host of many nieces, nephew and friends.
She had walked through life with a smile, a helping hand, and an encouraging word for everyone. Everywhere she went, she left warmth and love. She was a living testament to “the Goodness of the Lord”. She was “Shug", sweetness and loved.
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