Otelia Smith Travers, 85, known as Shekinah Ministries’ ‘mother of the church’

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Otelia Smith Travers
Otelia Smith Travers

Otelia Smith Travers, of Toano, died peacefully and silently on June 6, 2015, at home. She was 85.

She was born on Sept. 18, 1929, daughter of the late John M. Smith Sr. and Carrie Major Smith. Mrs. Travers was an active and faithful member of Shekinah Ministries of Williamsburg where she also was “the mother of the church.” Otelia received her education in both the James City County and Newport News Public Schools. She retired from Colonial Williamsburg after serving as a counter food server for 20 years.

She opened her home to many of her friends and loved ones and welcomed everyone with open arms, a big smile and kind words of encouragement.

Otelia was also preceded in death by her husband, Charles S. Travers; a daughter, Pamela Jones; her son, Frederick S. Travers; her brothers, John Smith, Jr., William Smith and Jessie Smith; and her sisters, Gracie Burrell, Eva Braxton, Bernice Cooke and Willie Mae Smith, all of Williamsburg.

She leaves to cherish her blessed memories her sister, Phyllis Fox Pritchett; her daughters, Brenda Holliday (Raymond), Phyllis Randall (Steve), Valerie Jones (Forest), Sonya Thomas (Tony) and Jennifer Mason; granddaughter/daughter, Yolanda Christian (Michael); her sisters-in-law, Lucille Seabrook and Rosa Smith; her daughter-in-law, Alma Travers; 18 other grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and other loving relatives and many caring friends.

A viewing will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at Whiting’s Chapel. Family and friends will assemble by 11 a.m. Thursday, June 11, 2015, at 3079 Chickahominy Road for a funeral service, celebrating the life she lived, beginning at noon at Bethel Restoration Center, 6205 Richmond Road. Interment will follow at Williamsburg Memorial Park.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Whiting’s Funeral Home.

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