Howard Elijah “Winkie” Williams of Athens passed away on Sunday, December 3rd at the age of 90. Born in Whitehall, Clarke County, he was the son of Omar J. and Hettie (Damron) Williams and, except for military service in Europe during World War II, he lived his entire life in the Athens area.
“Winkie” received his draft notification shortly after his 18th birthday and deferred enlistment in the Army until the conclusion of his junior year of high school. Enlisting in May, 1945, his first assignment – MP duty in Macon, Georgia – coincided with V-E Day celebrations. Serving overseas in an engineering unit in Germany in 1945 and 1946, he was among the first peacetime soldiers deployed to Europe. He concluded his military service with the rank of Corporal and returned to Athens to complete his high school education.
Upon his return from service, he met Joann Skinner of Athens through mutual friends. They courtship began in 1947 and they were married in August 1949. Together, they raised seven children.
Williams operated his own TV and Radio repair business on Clayton Street in downtown Athens until the early 1960s when he joined the staff at Sears as a TV repair technician. Retiring after 25 years at Sears, he later found part-time employment with the Athens-Clarke Police Department as a school crossing guard, serving until shortly before his 85th birthday.
“Winkie” Williams is survived by his wife Joann S. Williams and seven children and their spouses: Jan Johnson (Stockbridge, GA), Randy & Cindy Williams (Watkinsville, GA), Donna & Darryl Ceravolo (Stockbridge), David Williams (Athens), Sandy & Pat Abbott (Hull), Chris Williams (Greensboro, NC) and Mark Williams (Athens).
He is also survived by eleven grandchildren: Alison Hollis, Chad Johnson (Jennifer), Erin Cushman (Matt), Auburn Haines (David), Leslie Rudow (Carl), Jessica Briscoe (Greg), Anthony Ceravolo (Anna Thorne), Annamarie Ceravolo, Angela Ceravolo (Tyler Stone), Daniel Jennings (Amber) and Chelsea Abbott (Cody Dobbs) eleven great-grandchildren, sister and brother in law Diane & Stiles Lovern, nieces, nephews, and many friends. He was predeceased by his parents, son in law Mike Johnson, grandson Ty Hollis and sister and brother in-law Clairene and Cecil Ferguson.
Memorial services will take place on Wednesday, December 6 at Lord & Stephens, East (4355 Lexington Rd, Athens, GA 30605). Visitation will begin at 1pm; services at 2pm. Burial will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park.
The family wishes to thank the professionals at St. Mary’s Hospice House, especially Linda Zachar, for their dedication and kindness.
Donations in Winkie’s memory may be made to the St. Mary’s Hospice House (1660 Jennings Mill Road Watkinsville, GA 30622) or to the charity of the donor’s choice.