By Karen Stokes
A new chapter is about to begin as Marcel and Camelia Clark, sole owners of Paradise Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Services assumes ownership of Leon L. Williamson Funeral Homes.
“We are proud to bring Leon L. Williamson into the Paradise Memorial family, combining two legacy Black businesses that are deeply committed to celebrating life within our Milwaukee community,” said Camelia, a licensed funeral director (LFD). “The Williamson name is synonymous with high standards, something we will continue to uphold as we help families with their loved ones’ final transitions.”
For Leon and Mary Williamson, it was the idea of retirement that brought them to Paradise Funeral Home.
“Knowing what I perceived to know about them (Marcel and Camelia) they were the logical people to buy the business,” said Leon.
“It is a true honor and privilege for our family business to go to our trusted friends and colleagues, Mr. Clarke and Dr. Clarke. It was a natural choice to make,” Leon and his wife Mary Williamson said. “The Clarkes’ expertise, integrity and compassion are unmatched.”
Leon L. Williamson Funeral Homes has been an important and trusted member of the Milwaukee community. Their legacy dates back nearly 75 years.
Leon Williamson’s father, the late Lamar, founded the company in 1950 in a converted residence on North 7th Street in Milwaukee. At the time, it was one of only three funeral homes in the city serving African Americans. In 1960, Lamar moved the funeral home to its present location at 2157 N. 12th Street. Leon joined the family business in 1966 and assumed ownership when his father died. The Leon L. Williamson Funeral Home has been a community pillar and anchor, serving thousands of Milwaukee families.
“We knew we would have to fill some big shoes after a lengthy discussion,” Marcel said. “We knew that it would be a benefit to the community. We thought things through and created a plan.”
Marcel and Camelia plan to continue Williamson’s legacy of excellence by completing an entire interior and exterior renovation of the funeral home, including adding a full-service florist to the building. They do not plan to change the Leon L. Williamson name.
“The current model being implemented outside of Wisconsin is multiple things at one place including a repast facility, flowers, obituary programs and funerals all throughout the same place,” said Marcel. “Right now, floral, funeral and cremation will all be one stop.”
“Our vision is to use all the space for the benefit of the family,” Camelia said. “There’s endless possibilities. We will always remember and honor the excellence Mr. and Mrs. Williamson have given to the city and community, particularly as pioneering Black business owners.”