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LEGACY: Dr. Beverly Jean Williams-Cleaves

Scores of community health fairs and educational outreach programs designed to help people upgrade the quality of their personal health were aided immensely by the work of Dr. Beverly Jean Williams-Cleaves, who died Saturday (May 9) at Methodist Germantown Hospital after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

For many years, Dr. Williams-Cleaves served as an associate professor in the endocrinology division at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences and led the endocrine outpatient clinics at the MedPlex Clinic.

Dedicated to serving her community, Dr. Williams-Cleaves’ numerous civic and social involvements included Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Society for the Arts Inc., Bluff City Medical Society, Leadership Memphis, Healthy Memphis Common Table, board member of LeMoyne-Owen College, and the American Diabetes Association.

Born on August 16, 1943, Dr. Williams-Cleaves was the youngest of three daughters born in Mason, TN to John Ed and Odessa Williams.

The valedictorian of her Manassas High School Class of 1961,Dr. Williams-Cleaves attended Howard University and received her medical degree in 1969 from the University of Tennessee Memphis. She focused on internal medicine as she continued her residency at the prestigious Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and practiced for several years in San Francisco.

A lifelong member of Friendship Baptist Church, she led the establishment of the church’s monthly “Feed the Less Fortunate” events. She and her sisters established college scholarships at Friendship Baptist Church and Manassas High School, as well as a lectureship at UT.

Throughout her career, Dr. Williams-Cleaves received numerous awards and honors and was regularly recognized as one of the city’s Top Doctors in Memphis Magazine.

Her sister, Willie Mae Williams Crittendon, preceded her in death in 2015.

Dr. Williams-Cleaves’ leaves her husband, Calvin; daughter, Marinda Anderson; sister, Ethelyn Williams-Neal, M.D.; nieces, Pam Crittendon Johnson (Doug) and Jehan L. Roberson; nephews, Sheldon C. Crittendon (Lolita) and William C, Roberson; son, Calvin II (Georgette); daughter, Carlotta Cleaves Williams (Terence); 4 grandchildren – Astasia Willams, Terence (T.J.) Williams Jr.; Calvin D. Cleaves III and Addyson Cleaves, and a host of extended family, friends, classmates, colleagues, students and mentees.

A visitation will be held on Thursday (May 14) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and funeral services will take place on Friday (May 15) at 1 p.m, with both at Serenity Funeral Home, 1638 Sycamore View Rd., Memphis, TN 38134.

Due to the current pandemic, attendance at both the visitation and funeral service will be limited to 100, including family and face masks are required. Live Streaming of Dr. Beverly Williams-Cleaves service will be available through Serenity Funeral Home’s website.

A full memorial service to include representatives of the many groups and organizations Dr. Williams-Cleaves was associated with will be scheduled for a later date.

(For more information, call Serenity Funeral Home, 901-379-0861.)


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