Paradise Funeral Home
10401 West Montgomery
Houston, TX 77088
281- 445-1201


Katie Marie Stillwell

February 8, 1925 - January 11, 2013

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In the month of February, on the 8th day of the year 1925, in San Antonio, Texas, Katie Marie Usher was born to the union of Lena Mae Johnson-Usher and Obadiah ‘Obie’ Usher. Katie was the 8th child of eleven (11) children. She spent her childhood in San Antonio, graduating from Phyllis Wheatley High School in 1944. In later years she attended Texas Southern University.
Katie met and married Army Pvt. Wilbert R. Stillwell while he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas. In October 1944, the two became one. To this union six (6) children were born.
In 1956, The Stillwell’s moved to Garden City Park. Katie took on any activity supporting equal rights for black people or anyone whom she felt suffered injustices. A very gifted writer, she wrote columns for what was then called ‘The Black Pages’ of the Forward Times newspaper. She was a constant critical contributor to the ‘Sound Off’ column of the now defunct Houston Post newspaper. She truly let her voice be heard. In the mid ‘60s’ when integration and bussing was a ‘hotbed’ in Texas, she became an activist with others in the Acres Homes community, trying to bring a bus system to the community in order to move its residents into downtown Houston from the extreme north side of town. They were successful! She championed any cause for her people. She was always outspoken, but she always taught the family to be outspoken but do it with tact and diplomacy.
Katie wore many hats. She was an exceptional artist. She was asked and commissioned by various elementary/high schools teachers in the Aldine and HISD high schools to produce & create artwork for various festive occasions. Many times you might see her on the front porch creating, building or designing art projects. She was creating 3D art with clay and papier mâché long before most knew what she was doing. Her love of art began as a very young girl. As a teen she drew and created penciled fashion designs on paper bags. She wrote poetry and some selections are published in the Library of Congress Poetry Periodicals.
Katie absolutely loved her family. Her happiest moments were when she was surrounded by family members. She is responsible for compiling a family tree dating back to the late 1830’s so that each family member would know who their relatives were and where their roots began. She made constant treks to the Genealogy Library to learn about the family lineage. Formerly a member of Antioch MBC, Rev. F. N. Williams, Pastor, he asked and allowed her to tape his sermons on Sunday mornings. During that time, she also began taping family members, the year was 1958, with her reel-to-reel tape recorder and later, on cassette tapes. She was so inspired by Alex Haley’s saga of ‘Roots’, she immediately bought her new ‘toy’, where she began interviewing relatives with her 8mm camera. She always stayed in tune with the technology of the time, her newest recording device, a 35mm camera and a computer.
A mother of five (deceased infant, Michelle Renee, twin to Michael), Katie managed home and ran the business of home economics with frugality even after her husband passed in 1976.
She loved to travel and traveled overseas several times as well as around the USA.
Katie touched the lives of many people. She was always trying to help her fellow man. Katie departed this life on January 11, 2013. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Katie leaves to mourn her passing, 2 daughters, Cheryl Woolridge (Fred), Susie Stillwell; 3 sons, Wilbert Sr., Michael (Tchelinda) and Mark Antony Stillwell, all of Houston; stepson, Samuel of Kansas City, KS; one living sister, Revella Jean Wallace of San Antonio; many grand/great /great-great grandchildren, a host of nieces & nephews and many grieving friends.
But God doeth all things for the best, and we are to trust HIM and lean not unto our own understanding. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)