Secretary/Treasurer Emeritus Serena Kay Williams Reaches the Grand Milestone

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. Her legacy as a trailblazing musicians advocate and union leader stands as an inspiring tale of dedication, perseverance, and strength. AFM Local 47 President Emeritus Hal Espinosa shares his congratulations to his longtime friend, colleague and mentor in honor of her 100th birthday on April 9, 2021.

by Hal Espinosa, AFM Local 47 President Emeritus

Serena, less than 1% of all people have the privilege of earning the title “Centurion” and fortunately for us, this has been granted to such a remarkable person. A 100th birthday is a Grand Milestone and something to be celebrated. I would like to say, “When I grow up, I want to be like you.” Some might say I’m too old to use that line, so instead, I’ll just wish you a very Happy Birthday!

From the moment I was elected in 1991 until the time you deservedly decided to retire in 2007, you were my mentor and teacher. I still remember my first day as Vice President. You came up to me with a letter in hand and asked what you should do. I remember saying “You’re the Secretary,” and with a serious look on your face, you came back with, “But you are the Vice President.” You got my attention! I read the letter and gave my response, you thanked me, turned and walked back to your office. I’ve always been certain that was done for dramatic effect, and it worked! From that moment on, I gained the confidence and strength needed to ease into a role I wound up loving.

Paving the way, in 1984 you were the first woman to be elected as a Local 47 Officer. Giving well over 20 years of extraordinary, dedicated service to the local and its members, you saw leaders, colleagues and our members come and go throughout your career, and gained respect and gratitude from all alike. You inspired us through your actions to lead by example, have a strong work ethic, and demonstrate empathy. You’ve touched many lives and have helped countless musicians through good times and bad.

There is so much to admire. With exceptional character, you are an extraordinary person. You exemplify living life with heart, kindness, and humility! You have collected a century’s worth of wisdom and experience, and we are all better for knowing you. Like a fine wine, you have only gotten better with age. You are a great vintage! All who know you are truly blessed to have you in their lives

Here is wishing you love, happiness, and health on your 100th birthday. This is an incredible milestone, but not nearly as incredible as you.

Hal Espinosa and Serena Kay Williams, September 2005

Serena, pictured far left, played bass and lead vocals with her trio, the Coquettes, which included Doris Crane and Chickie Fortina)

Serena with husband Earl Williams

Serena riding a mechanical bull at Hollywood’s Saddle Ranch restaurant in celebration of her 85th birthday in 2006