Betty Juanita Watlington Williams
July 9, 1929 – March 6, 2020
Betty Juanita Watlington Williams, born July 9, 1929, passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family on March 6, 2020.
She was the last representative of what the descendants call the “first generation” of the Ulrich Armstrong and Jennie Hammond Watlington family and she was truly a member of what many people call America’s “greatest generation.” As the youngest of 11 children, she benefited greatly from her older siblings who generously provided piano lessons and college tuition funding for their baby sister.
She was married to Hubert Howard Williams for 67 years, supporting him in his careers as an engineer at Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Cooperative and a farmer. Betty’s farm activities included delivering water, and sending children to deliver water, to Hubert and his helpers in the field, putting out fires in the fields, and hauling calves, pimento peppers and other crops to market. Betty and Hubert raised 5 children, with Hubert always crediting Betty as being the true catalyst for all of their children becoming responsible and productive citizens. Hubert and Betty were strong supporters and members of Anderson Presbyterian Church, and of the Madison Hall Community.
Betty received her BA degree from Lambuth College, and was recognized as a highly respected teacher in Madison county. After a few years of teaching, she took a break while her children were born. When the youngest child entered kindergarten, she returned to teach 1st and 3rd grades at her high school alma mater, Malesus School. When the oldest child started college, she obtained her Master’s of Special Education from the University of Memphis. She then continued her teaching career until retirement as one of the first resource teachers for Madison County. Betty was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, the International Society for Women Educators.
She and Hubert had active retirement years which included genealogy, voter precinct volunteering, amateur archaeology digs, LeConte Lodge hiking, European touring, Tip Top Dance and Bemis Book Club memberships, literacy council volunteering, gardening, farming and frequently visiting friends, children and grandchildren all over the country. Betty demonstrated her courage as she and her two youngest teenage children drove to the West Coast and back hauling furniture in one of the farm trucks.
She is pre-deceased by her husband Hubert Howard Williams, Sr. and son, Hubert Howard Williams, Jr., parents, Ulrich Armstrong and Jennie Sophronia Hammond Watlington, sisters, Clara Mai King, Evelyn Black, brothers, Kenneth, Sam, Mack, Paul, Herman, Joe, Elton, and John Watlington.
Betty is survived by children Ellen Williams (Tom Milton) of Asheville NC, Serena Jackson (Mark) of the world (Pegasus Sail Boat), Molly Warren (Sam) of Jackson, TN, and Dan Williams (Susie) of Aiken, SC and grandchildren, Anna Shown ( Noah) of Spanaway, WA, Wesley Jackson (Leisa) of Kallispell, MT, Sarah Williams of Olympia, WA, Caroline Warren of Memphis, TN and great grandchildren, Jaycen and Alison Jackson, and Calvin Shown.
Special thanks go to caregivers Pam Stokes, Cynthia Arnold, Thelma Boyle, and Evelyn VanBuren, and the staff at Morningside Assisted Living.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 10 from 5-7pm at the George A. Smith and Sons South Chapel. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 11 at 10:30 at the Anderson Presbyterian Church, 899 Steam Mill Ferry Road, followed by interment at Ebenezer Cemetery in Malesus.
- Visitation with Friends and Loved Ones Tuesday, March 10, 2020
- The Funeral Service Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Betty Juanita Watlington Williams
Rebecca Bonczar Hill
March 10, 2020
May I first say that the family will be in my prayers. I went to South Side with Serena, Howard and Molly. I was particularly close to Howard and was particularly upset by his short life. I still cry when I think about him. All three of the Williams children I knew were exceptional so I pay tribute to their Mom because I am sure she had a great influence on their lives. Both Mr & Mrs Williams look very familiar so I am sure I knew them too in my time around Bemis and the Methodist Church.
Once again you have my prayers and love for this wonderful woman and her family.
March 9, 2020
Aunt Betty is one of the most beautiful and classy women I have had the privilege of knowing. Since my earliest childhood memories, I would wonder at her beautiful home and her gift for hospitality. She had a poise and kindness that embodies the best of southern charm. She was at the side of a great man that was highly respected as well. I feel honored to be her niece, and I’m thankful for the gift they as a couple have left the world with their talented and caring children. Their lives made the world a better place. May they enjoy a Heavenly peace now with the Savior they served so faithfully.
March 9, 2020
What a sweet sweet lady! She had a way of always making me feel welcomed. Her face would like up and she’d immediately start a conversation...as if I was her next door neighbor and we saw each other all the time. She loved South Jackson. I started to say the Madison Hall Community but her influence went far beyond that community. She will be greatly missed but her love of others will live on in the lives of those she touched. The world lost a glowing light. Love, hugs and prayers to the family.
March 8, 2020
Thinking of you during your time of loss. Prayers for peace and comfort. Your mom was a sweet lady. I always enjoyed talking to Ellen and Serena and letting little Herbert sit on my lap on the school bus ride to J.B. Young. Hope you remember me and those times so long ago. 50 something years has passed. Time goes by so fast. Keeping you all in my thoughts.
Margaret Ross Allen