Janet Eloise Williams

March 23, 1936June 21, 2019

WILLIAMS Janet Eloise (Martin) Williams, 83, passed away after an extended illness on June 21 at her home in Jacksonville, FL. She was born in Jacksonville, Florida, to Robert (Grandpa) Burnis and Willa Mae Martin, the second of four children. Janet attended Annie R. Morgan Elementary, Thomas Jefferson (Marietta School), and Lee High School. It was at Macedonia Baptist Church in Sunday School that she met John (Bobcat) Robert Williams. Janet and Bob married in 1951. Janet and Bob had four children, John (Johnny) Robert, Jr., Karen Darlene Kelly (deceased September 15, 2017), Ronald (Ronnie) Douglas, and Sharon Diann Bessent. Janet worked with her husband, Bob, founder of Williams and Rowe Company, and later with her son Johnny, where she was responsible for payroll, accounting, and office management. She was a faithful partner to Bob in growing and expanding Williams and Rowe across four decades. Janet was raised in Macedonia Baptist Church, where in the youth group she accepted Jesus at an early age. Throughout her life, Janet served the Lord in her local church, investing in hundreds of children who grew up to become faithful men and woman. Early on, Janet played the piano and taught Sunday School and pre-school at Barford Baptist Church. In the late 1960s, Bob and Janet moved their membership to Jacksonville Heights Baptist Church where she played piano, worked with GA’s (Girls in Action), served in the youth department, and directed the pre-school program. In 1980, they moved to Westside Baptist Church, where Janet worked in the Sunday School office for many years, ensuring attendance was counted every week. She also coordinated the altar flowers at Westside, a ministry that provides an opportunity for church members to commemorate special occasions with flower arrangements placed at the church altar. She enjoyed flowers and took pleasure in adding some of God’s natural beauty to the sanctuary. Janet also served in the Gideon’s Auxiliary, alongside Bob who is a Gideon. In addition to serving the Lord in church, Janet loved worshiping through gospel music. One of her favorite pastimes was attending gospel music meetings, otherwise known as camp meetings. For many years, Janet and Bob, along with their children, attended annual gospel sings in Taylor, Florida, and at the Jacksonville Colosseum (now the VyStar Veteran’s Arena). They particularly enjoyed men’s quartets such as the Inspirations, Cathedrals, and Greater Vision. One special memory for Janet was when she attended a Bill Gaither concert in Jacksonville, Florida, and was introduced to a new, unknown singer named Sandi Patty, who became a five-time Grammy-winning performer. Janet and Bob continued to follow Bill Gaither and friends for decades and enjoyed watching and singing along with his “Homecoming” concert videos. Most Saturday nights, Janet could be found at home watching a Homecoming concert on television with Bob. Anyone who knew Janet, also knew she was highly competitive, which contributed to her love of sports. As a young woman, she was a member of two local bowling leagues, one with her mother, Willa Mae Martin, and the other with some dear friends known as the Fireflies. They won many tournaments and brought home several trophies, which they called “the hardware.” She was a devoted fan of the Westside Baptist Church men’s church softball team whose roster included her sons, Johnny and Ronnie, and her husband, Bob (Bobcat); the team was coached by her father, Robert (Grandpa) Martin. It didn’t matter the time of year, Janet was rooting for someone – Florida Gator football, Florida Gator softball, or Florida Gator basketball. Needless to say, she was a loyal and lifetime Gator! One of the highlights of her life was meeting Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow. (Although, she is still waiting for Urban Meyer to return to the Swamp.) Last, but certainly not least, Janet enjoyed attending her grandchildren’s sporting events, including baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tee-ball, track, and volleyball. Janet definitely loved sports, but there was something she loved more deeply – her family. One of the most special times in her life was when she became a grandmother, known as Maimaw. Janet always had a hug and a kiss for the grandkids and great-grandkids and attended hundreds of dance recitals, musical performances, animal shows, and sporting events. She arrived at every birthday, holiday party, or graduation with a gift in hand – always! Maimaw loved her grandkids and great-grandkids! Janet was preceded in death by her beloved parents, Robert Burnis and Willa Mae Martin, sisters, Joyce Haskins and Barbara Thomas, brother, Jimmy Martin, and daughter, Karen Kelly, all of Jacksonville. She is survived by her devoted husband, Bob, who stood by her side and cared for her until her last breath. Janet leaves a strong legacy through her son, Johnny and wife Pam, Ronnie and wife Melanie, daughter Sharon and husband Kyle, and son-in-law Robert Kelly (wife Karen). Janet also is survived by 16 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Janet will be remembered as a faithful and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Thoughts of her will forever bring to memory her kindness and service to family, friends, church, and community. Janet fought courageously, and she never complained. She was a strong woman. Janet was a faithful member of Westside Baptist Church, but due to renovations at Westside, her viewing will be held on Tuesday, June 25, from 6:00 to 8:00pm at Trinity Baptist Church located at 800 Hammond Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32221. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 26, at 10:00am at Trinity Baptist Church; graveside service will follow at Riverside Memorial Park. Pastor Keith Russell officiating. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home located at 7242 Normandy Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205. Janet’s grandchildren will serve as pall bearers. Special thanks to Mayo Clinic doctors and nurses and Community Hospice for their extraordinary care and support.


  • Visitation Tuesday, June 25, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, June 26, 2019
  • Committal Service Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Janet Eloise Williams

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