Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams-Ali (1957 – Present)
Marriage Term: November 19, 1986 – June 3, 2016

Yolanda’s adult college & work history:

  • Received an undergraduate degree in psychology at Vanderbilt in 1978.

  • Worked as an employment counselor for the State of Kentucky.

  • Worked in account sales with Kraft Foods.

  • Yolanda accepted an invite to lunch with Ali during a visit to Louisville in 1982. She was alarmed at Ali’s mental and physical condition and took steps to becoming his primary caregiver. Ali’s wife, Veronica Porche, approved a deal in which Ali would pay for Yolanda to move to Los Angeles to attend U.C.L.A. and care for Muhammad Ali in 1984.

  • Ali and Veronica Porche divorced in 1986 and Ali began to encounter physical and financial issues. Yolanda was still his caregiver and began taking charge of his financial assets.

  • Yolanda completed her Master’s in Business Administration with emphasis on marketing at U.C.L.A.

  • Muhammad Ali was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984.

  • Yolanda converted to Islam in 1986 and shortly after on November 19, 1986 and was married to Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky. Yolanda was 29 and Ali 44. The ceremony took place in the home of Harvey Sloane, a former mayor of Louisville operating as the Jefferson County judge-executive.

Yolanda’s Alis’ Business Accomplishments:

I’d like to be remembered as a loyal wife and mother who tried to contribute to and preserve her husband’s legacy to the world…and hopefully, left this world a little better than she found it.

Muhammad’s legacy is what gets most of my attention and energy. Muhammad’s legacy is not just for me and his children and grandchildren, it’s a legacy for the world. The footprints he leaves are large and his life is and has been a multi-textured tapestry that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons and human kindness. God gives us gifts in life and I firmly believe Muhammad is a gift to this world. To let his legacy be lost would almost be sinful. There are so many life lessons that can be learned through his example.


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