George A. Smith & Sons Funeral Home

2812 North Highland, Jackson, TN


Sylvia Williams Showalter

January 30, 1938June 16, 2020

She was born Sylvia Marie Williams to John and Dorothy Williams of Salisbury, North Carolina, a textile town in the state’s Piedmont region. She was the older of two girls in a family steeped in the traditions of the old south with many of her forebears having lived in Charleston and Aiken, South Carolina. Her mother spoke with a deep southern accent and was a member of the Children of The Confederacy as was Sylvia. Sylvia’s southern accent often brought taunts from her Long Island, New York neighbors, “Where You All From Honey Child”. She despised this.

She attended public schools in Salisbury, then, went on to graduate with high honors from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (then called Flora MacDonald College) in Laurinburg, NC, majoring in organ music. Later, she earned a Master’s Degree in organ music from Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, graduating summa cum laude.

Teaching music then became her passion as she went on to a 60 year career of music instruction in both public and private schools. She taught in the U.S. Military Dependents School System for several years with stints in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Augsburg, Germany, and Ft. Benning, Georgia, She followed this up with jobs in Belmont, Massachusetts City Schools, Episcopal Day School (now USJ), and Harbor Country Day School in St. James, New York , where students sometimes came to school in chauffeur driven limousines. Sylvia wound up her career back in Jackson, Tennessee at Jackson Middle/Rose Hill Middle School. Then followed several years of substitute teaching in the Jackson-Madison County School System. She hardly went anywhere in Jackson without encountering former students who loved and adored her.

While teaching at Ft. Bragg, she met a young West Point Army captain named Ted Showalter. He soon went off to Vietnam, and she transferred to the U. S. Military School in Augsburg, Germany; however, they stayed in touch. When her father died, Sylvia came back to the States and Ft. Benning, Georgia, where Ted was now training troops headed to Vietnam. Soon, they were married in a beautiful military wedding at the post chapel.

Together, they raised two sons, Teddy and John; the family lived and worked happily in Jackson, and later in Hauppauge, Long Island, New York. Sylvia faithfully attended the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson where, during the 1970’s, she served as the interim organist and children’s choir director. Over the past twelve years, she has directed the church’s annual “Kirkin Of The Tartan” program which celebrates the Scottish heritage of the Presbyterian Church, and is widely attended by the Jackson community. The Wolf River Pipes and Drums of Memphis will honor her years of service with an appearance at her graveside ceremony. Sylvia is survived by her husband, Ted, and sons Ted Jr. of Collierville, Tennessee, and John of Southampton, England, plus three grandchildren Quinn Showalter, Sari Showalter, and Zeena Showalter.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the family has chosen to have a private graveside service open only to invited family and friends. The First Presbyterian Church of Jackson will later schedule a memorial service when it is safe to do so.

In lieu of flowers, Sylvia requested that donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson in support of “The Kirkin Of The Tartan” program.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Sylvia Williams Showalter

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kyra Armstrong

June 18, 2020

Mrs. Showalter was the nicest substitute teacher I've ever met. She always gave me hugs when I saw her. And when class was over she gave me candy as a reward for being a good student. She was a great sub and she will be missed.

West Bemis Middle School
8th grade.

Makayla Lemons

June 17, 2020

I had her as a sub at West Bemis Middle School here in Jackson TN. She was such a sweet lady and my favorite sub. We always told each other jokes and other stories about our life She had a pretty exciting life, and if I could have I would’ve listened all day. Many students at West Bemis loved and adored her. She was one of the very few staff at West Bemis I looked forward to seeing. Sad to see that she is gone. My prayers and love goes out to her family♥️

Brianna Vickers

June 17, 2020

Mrs. showalter was a great substitute and she always had a smile on her face when she would walk into a classroom. I remember one day she had walked into one of the classes I was in and she brought her album of pictures she took when she had traveled and went everywhere. I was really interested in the stories she had to tell and the pictures she had to show. My condolences for the family and friends of this amazing woman.

Sandy Carroll

June 16, 2020

Sylvia’s generous spirit and dedication to excellence were evident to all who knew her. In every endeavor, she never settled for less than the best. To me, she was my dear friend and confidante for over thirty years. I will miss the joy of her presence in my life and want to extend my sincere sympathy to her family.
Sandy Carroll