To honor the second year anniversary of William O. Lockridge passing, the State Board of Education (SBOE) President Laura Slover took time on the agenda to recognize William’s contributions to education and the community at large. Four of the current board members served with William over his many years of service on the board. Each reflected and shared thoughts and memories of their days working with William.
Trayon White, Ward Eight representative and a protégée started by stated that Mr. Lockridge always said, “Never make a decision that you cannot live with.” He was always teaching and always standing in the gap for children added Mr. White. “When Mr. Lockridge passed, I felt like I lost his father”, concluded Mr. White. Mary Lord, stated, “There are still days when I ask WWWD – What will William do”. Mark Jones, Ward Five representative and Vice President, added that William was a warrior for education, young people and want he believe to be right. “I cannot think of any public servant who stood for integrity more than William Lockridge”, added Mr. Jones. President Slover, concluded with her tribute of William by stating, “I came to know William as the guy who always spoke “Truth to Power” always. It did not matter if it was popular, in fact, when it was not popular he more likely to spoke “Truth to Power”. It did not matter where he was or who was around that he has supposed to impress, it really didn’t matter. He spoke the truth simply and plainly. He made people listen.”
William’s wife Wanda, son Stefan and grandson Stefan II were present for the special tribute. Wanda stated later that she and the family were grateful that the SBOE took time to honor William at the board’s first meeting of the new administration. “With such a busy agenda, it warms my heart that after two years of William’s passing that the State Board of Education would remember the work and pay such tribute to my husband. It’s a great feeling to know that his work was not in vain”, stated Wanda.
I miss my father dearly and will forever cherish the memories of him as a devoted father, doting grandfather Papa Lock, and his art of story-telling ,Lock-lores. My dad has taught me to: stand up, speak up, show up, and speak the truth in love! My father William Lockridge is definitely my hero!
Most people in Ward 8 knew my father as a longtime political activist. What they did not know about my father was his dedication to the young patrons, not only from Ward 8 but the entire District and beyond. I remember numerous times when he would literally give his last dollar to the neighborhood kids so they could eat or even ride the Metro. My father was an honest, hard working, supportive father and family man. He taught me how to play the congos which jumpstarted my music career. I will forever love him.
My granddaddy was so awesome! He always came to Memphis to spend time with me, teach me how to play the drums, and just hang out. I will miss our times together and I want to grow up to be loving and passionate just like he was.
Mr. Lockridge was an honorable man who had an art of keeping it real. I remember when I asked him if I could have his daughter’s hand in marriage, he sat with me and we had a real talk about life, goals, and dreams. I could always count on him to tell it straight and from the heart. He will not have an opportunity to walk Joy down the aisle or see her get married but he will be able to look down from heaven and see that I’m committed to taking care of his little Joy Juice.