Charlyne Williams Monroe, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, educator and child of God, died early Monday morning, September 18, 2017 in Pompano Beach, Florida. She was 77. Her smile was contagious. Her passion was infectious. Her love was unending. And she could play some Bid Whist.
Mrs. Monroe was born in 1940 in Valdosta, Georgia, to Ella Williams, a teacher, truant officer and entrepreneur and Charles Horace Wesley Williams, a salesman for the Afro American Insurance Company. After her father died, the family moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she spent her formative years with her two older sisters. As a teenager, she alternated between cheerleading at Atlantic City High School and working at Shamitz’s Kosher Guest House and Restaurant, where she developed her lifelong love for dill pickles, corned beef on rye and coleslaw.
She met the love of her life — an Army ROTC cadet and son of an electrician and farmer from Laurinburg, North Carolina — while they both were in college at West Virginia State University. He played saxophone and basketball. She played cello and loved the social scene. They were both Greek – he, wearing the purple and gold of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and she, sporting the pink and green of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. He courted her and they fell in love. They were married on August 31, 1963. For the next 54 years, they were rarely apart.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education, she became a military wife and the couple began to travel the world together. They lived in 10 states and two countries, and visited nearly a dozen others, all while raising two energetic children.
She was a champion of education, earning her Masters of Education degree (as a reading specialist) from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She also received an administrative certification from the University of Puget Sound Graduate School in Tacoma, Washington, and completed graduate work at George Mason University in northern Virginia.
In her heart, Mrs. Monroe was a teacher. Whether teaching elementary school students, supervising student teachers, training classroom volunteers, developing reading programs throughout the United States, or showing the young spouses of Army officers and others how to set a formal table, she found joy out of helping others grow.
During the first Gulf War -- Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm -- Mrs. Monroe was the coordinator and steering committee chairwoman for military spouses and families' activities in metropolitan Atlanta.
Mrs. Monroe was also a survivor. With two children in tow, she survived more than 30 moves across the globe – each one she proclaimed would be her last. In 1995, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She then became a champion and supporter of women battling the disease, and served as honorary chairperson for The Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer. She was an active member of the American Red Cross Board of Directors; a member and an honorary president of the Rock Island Arsenal Women’s Club, later serving as a board advisor; a member of the Tri-City Garden Club, and active in countless other community and social organizations, including Jack & Jill.
Mrs. Monroe was Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Xi Pi Omega chapter in South Florida, first vice president in the North Broward County chapter of the Links, Incorporated and a 17-year member and discussion leader with Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF). She also served on the Hospitality Ministry of the New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, her home church.
Mrs. Charlyne W. Monroe is survived by: her husband, Major General James W. Monroe, a retired Army two-star General and corporate executive; daughter, Donya Monroe, a Las Vegas-based wealth management entrepreneur; son, Bryan Monroe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and university professor; grandchildren, Seanna and Jackson; sisters, Carolyn Greenidge and Bessanderson McNeil; daughter-in-law, April Thomas and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and godchildren. She is also the dedicated mother of a far-reaching “non-DNA” family.
Funeral services will be 5:15PM, Saturday, September 23, 2017, New Mount Olive Baptist Church, 400 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33311, where friends may call from 3:30PM. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested in honor of Mrs. Charlyne W. Monroe payable to “New Mount Olive Baptist Church Hospitality Ministry,” 400 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311.
Charlyne W. Monroe will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia — in a site that her husband will join her some day.