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Mr. Willie Lee Emerson, 91of Albany, Georgia departed this life on Friday, October 23, 2020 at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. Graveside services will be held on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. in the Floral Memory Gardens, 120 Old Pretoria Rd, Albany, Georgia 31721. Meadows Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. You may sign the guestbook or send condolences to the family by visiting Meadows’ website at 

Willie Lee Emerson was born July 10, 1929 to the late Hattie Mae and Jack Emerson, Sr. in Montgomery (Pike Road), Alabama. He was the oldest of five children.

He attended school and joined the US Air Force upon graduating high school on the G.I. Bill after serving a four-year term. He went to college at Tuskegee University. There he pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

He met and married Doris Jean Phillips Emerson in 1956. In the past, nursing students were not allowed to marry so they eloped at the courthouse with only their two best friends as the witnesses. They lived in Atlanta, Georgia where they worked and had the late Darrell Emerson, Sr. and Darlene Emerson Kiel.

Willie worked with a local electric company until offered a job for a pilot program to start a technical school in Albany, Georgia. Him, his wife, and two children moved to Albany, Georgia. There he taught electrical and was one of four African American men in the United States to own and start his own electrical business, Emerson & Sons Electrical Company. He ran his business and hired his students.

Nine years later his twins, Karen and Keith Emerson, were born. During the year of this birth in 1969, Emerson was one of the first African American who received his master’s degree from the University of Georgia.

Most people know him from teaching electrical and serving as the administrator of the Veterans. He was affectionately known as the “VA Man”.

Emerson served on the County Commissions Board and represented the city at statewide planning conference. He was an active Mason with Temple #142 and served as a local and district superintendent of Bethel AME Church.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Rose Lonan, Eliza Ashley, Corine Emerson.

He leaves to cherish his memories his daughters, Darlene Emerson Kiel (John), Albany, GA, Karen Emerson, Albany, GA; a son, Keith Emerson, Atlanta, GA; eight grandsons, John Kiel, Jr., Joel Kiel, Joshua Kiel, all of Birmingham, AL, Jeremiah Kiel, Albany, GA, JaColby Mitchell, Mississippi, Darrell Emerson, Jr., Albany, GA, Kedon Emerson, Kohen Emerson, both of Albany, GA; a brother, Jack Emerson, Jr., Anderson, IN and a host of other relatives.

He was a pioneer, father, coach, teacher, motivational speaker, and friend to all he met. He will truly be missed. “May the work I’ve done, speak for me”.

Mr. Willie Lee Emerson
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  • Friday, October 23, 2020
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ Meadows Funeral Home
  • Saturday, November 7, 2020
    Mr. Emerson was a wonderful person, a dedicated father, kind soul and true professional. My deepest sympathy to the family.
    ~ Dot Turner   Leesburg, VA
  • Thursday, November 12, 2020
    I grew up in the College Heights community, playing basketball in the Emerson’s yard with Darrel, Jurad and the rest of the neighborhood kids. Mr. and Mrs. Emerson helped raise me, as well as the families in the neighborhood. Eternally grateful for the caring and loving and nurturing environment.
    ~ Tommy Willett
  • Monday, October 26, 2020
    With heartfelt sympathy and prayers
    ~ Lela B. Roberts-Green   Albany, GA
  • Monday, October 26, 2020
    Mr. Emerson, was a like a pops to every one. memories of his gentle smile and loving ways will truly always be treasured. He was such a kind man. Our hearts out to the Family, we are so sorry for this turbulent time. God Bless you all and give you strength to know that God is with you and will comfort you during these times. Will loving memories
    ~ Mattie & Haruld Woodson and Family   Albany, GA
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020
    Promise from Jehovah God: Rev 21: 4 And he (Jehovah) will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
    ~ Tammie Gorham   Euharlee, GA
  • Friday, October 30, 2020
    My sincere condolences to the Emerson children and family in the loss of your Father, Grand Father and my Dear friend and Colleague. I affectionately called in Big M. We had many years together at Monroe Tech and Albany Tech. I share your pain. May God comfort you.
    ~ Rep. John White   Montgomery, AL
  • Saturday, October 31, 2020
    My condolences and prayers go out to the he family during this time of loss.
    ~ Michael McGhee & Family   McDonough, GA