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.