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Abikanile "Bika" Mack-Williams, lawyer

Colleges and UniversitiesJustice SystemPharmaceutical IndustryChemical IndustryUniversity of Maryland, College Park

Abikanile "Bika" Mack-Williams, an attorney in the state public defender's office in Baltimore, died Sept. 14 of heart failure at a friend's Hanover home.

She was 26 and lived in Owings Mills.

"Her death was accidental. She had a pre-existing heart condition and had taken her medication. Last Friday evening, she was out with friends socializing and drank some alcohol, and on Saturday morning she was found dead," said her mother, Dr. Kibibi Mack-Shelton of Owings Mills.

"We are waiting for the coroner's report who initially said that her death was probably caused by a combination of medication and alcohol."

Abikanile Nayo Mack-Williams was born in Norfolk, Va., and spent her early years in Boston before moving to Columbia in 1996.

Ms. Mack-Williams was a 2004 graduate of Wilde Lake High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society and a cheerleader and co-captain of the squad. She was active in student government.

Ms. Mack-Williams attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., for a year before enrolling at the University of Maryland, College Park, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in 2008 with honors. She earned a law degree from Howard University in 2011.

During her law school years, Ms. Mack-Williams participated in the Criminal Justice Clinic in Washington as a student attorney and was treasurer for the Howard Business Law Society.

She clerked for Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals from 2011 to 2012 and then joined the public defender's office in Baltimore's Eastside District Court in March.

"She was a valued member of this office," said a news release from the Eastside District Court announcing her death. "She was well-liked and respected by her co-workers, clients and judges alike."

Ms. Mack-Williams was active in My Sister's Circle and enjoyed traveling to Ghana, West Africa, to visit her father. She was also an animal lover and a Dallas Cowboys fan.

"Though her life was shortened, Bika's legacy of achieving excellence in her pursuits can only be matched with her hilariously flippant sense of humor, her fun-loving personality, her refreshing candor, and her well-roundedness as a person," said a sister, Dr. Yakini Etheridge of New York City.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Walker Memorial Baptist Church, 2020 13th St. N.W., Washington.

In addition to her mother and sister, Ms. Mack-Williams is survived by her father, Dr. Michael W. Williams of Ghana; two other sisters, Nabulungi Anderson of Glendale, Calif., and Sibongile Mack-Williams of Washington; her stepfather, Ronald Shelton of Owings Mills; two stepsisters, Abena Williams and Akua Williams, both of Ghana; and many nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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