Reather Mae Williams was "everybody's mom."

Her home in Logan had an open door. You showed up there and you could be sure of being treated to her fried chicken, sweet-potato pie and a big bowl of her special potato salad, all cooked in the true Southern tradition.

Reather Mae came to Philadelphia from South Carolina some 50 years ago, but she brought the best of the South with her, the cooking, the graciousness, the love of family and tradition.

She died Wednesday of heart failure. She was 81 and was living in Yeadon, but had lived in Logan for many years.

Reather was born in Kingstree, S.C., to Susan Fulton and Roland Walters. She got her early education there and came to Philadelphia in 1956.

Shortly after her arrival, she joined the Church of God in Christ, the African-American pentecostal denomination.

Later, she moved her membership to the Society for Helping Church, at 1323 W. Susquehanna Ave., a ministry for the deaf and hearing pastored by the Rev. Repsie M. Warren. She became a licensed evangelist.

In the early '60s, she held Bible school for the neighborhood children around 20th and Diamond streets.

Reather enjoyed traveling to church conventions around the country and also visited Canada and the Bahamas.

She was so dedicated to her church that she made her way to services even when her health began to fail.

"She was often discharged from the hospital midweek, and on Sunday was sitting up in church," her family said.

"She was a loving person, who opened her heart and her home to many," her family said.

She is survived by three daughters, Ossie M. Parker, Cynthia M. Allen and Brenda Q. Williams; a son, Carl A. Williams; six brothers, and nine sisters.

Services: 10 a.m. Saturday at High Street Church of God, 222 E. High St. Burial will be in Merion Memorial Park, Bala Cyn-wyd.*

- John F. Morrison