DECATUR -- (Etta) Marie Bernard Williams, formerly of Decatur, Illinois, died January 5th at the age of 98, at Lantern Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Coralville, Iowa.
Marie was born November 23, 1918 in Niantic, Illinois, to Orval and Margaret Dingman Bernard. She grew up in Niantic and moved to Decatur with her family when she was an adolescent. She was employed at Staley Manufacturing during WWII. She was introduced to Clarance Williams via mail by his sister Mary and they corresponded throughout his five years of service in the Army. They met in person for the first time when he returned to the United States in December of 1945 and were subsequently married January 8th, 1946 in Decatur, Illinois. Together they raised three children. Marie communicated her belief in education to her children by returning to school later in life to attain a GED and by encouraging her children to attend college, an advantage she and her husband worked hard and succeeded in providing. When her youngest children were teenagers she returned to work in part to assist in providing that education. She was employed by two local nursing homes as a nursing assistant and then a laundry supervisor until she retired in 1983.
After her retirement she pursued many interests and hobbies. She was an avid reader and especially enjoyed mystery novels. She followed three newspapers daily. She was an accomplished seamstress. If a chair needed to be reupholstered or furniture needed to be refinished, she did it herself. If she could not find the exact table or bookcase she wanted, she and her husband would build one to taste. In her retirement, she took up oil painting. She also purchased a Martin guitar and began lessons, stating “this is a dream come true”. Marie embraced modern technology, purchasing her first computer when she was 80 years old, mastering it, and moving on to new technologies. She especially liked that the technology allowed her to maintain contact with her three grandchildren. She even found time to accompany her husband on many of his fishing trips. She cherished her friendships and continued to make new friends throughout her life. Marie’s intellectual pursuits and hobbies ended only with her death.
One of Marie’s most cherished activities was spending time with her three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. As devoted as she was to them they returned her love and admiration in full measure.
In April of 2011, Marie moved from Decatur to live with her daughter, Gail, in Champaign, Illinois. December of 2015, she moved again to live with her daughter, Marcia, in Coralville, Iowa.
Marie was preceded in death by her husband, her son Kent, and her five siblings. She was survived by daughters Marcia Goldsborough (Tom) of Coralville, Iowa, Gail Williams (Jeff Cole) of Champaign, Illinois; grandchildren Joshua Goldsborough (Elizabeth Buettner), Rachel Gold (Christopher Kovach), Hayley Cole (Tyler Meadows); great-grandchildren Owen and Colin Buettner Goldsborough and Caroline Kovach, sister-in-law Mary Beals, many loving nieces, nephews and friends.
Marie and her family extend appreciation to all of her caregivers at the University Of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics who provided expert care and enabled her to live her final years with quality and purpose. We also wish to thank the compassionate care provided by the nursing staff at Lantern Park and Iowa City Hospice in her final days.
Services to celebrate her life will be 11 a.m., Saturday, January 21, 2017, in Graceland/Fairlawn Funeral Home; visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will take place in Graceland Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Decatur Public Library.
The family of Etta Marie Williams is being served by Graceland/Fairlawn Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2091 N. Oakland Ave., Decatur, IL 62526. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.gracelandfairlawn.com.
Obituary written by family members.