Category Archives: From the Archives

Legacy of a Leader: Serena Kay Williams

Secretary/Treasurer Emeritus Serena Kay Williams holds Local 47 dedication day programs from 1950 and 2018, both of which she attended. (photo by Tom Pease)

Serena Kay Williams made history as the first woman officer of AFM Local 47 when she was elected Secretary in 1984, a position she held until her retirement in 2007. Here we recall her legacy as a trailblazing musicians advocate and union leader.

Serena Kay Williams was born April 9, 1921 in Kansas City, Missouri. Serena’s father, who was born in Liverpool, England, came from a musical family. In fact, Jascha Heifetz was her grandfather’s nephew. Her mother, who came from Russia, also counted many artists in her family. Serena’s parents owned a deli in Kansas City. Their cooking was so renowned that her father was crowned the “Chili King of Kansas City” using her mother’s recipe.

When Serena was 4 her parents moved to Los Angeles because of her mother’s health. Serena cared for her mother, who was very ill, and even was issued a special driver’s license at the age of 12 so she could take her mother back and forth to the hospital. Continue reading