Faye Williams cared for the community

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | 9:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Ever since he was a child, Richard Williams Jr. referred to his mother, Faye Williams, as "Big Mott."

"I don't know where it came from," he said. "It was just something I called her."

Richard Williams Jr. recently came to Columbia to visit her, and the old nickname slipped into a conversation.

"She gave me a big smile and let out a big laugh," he said. "She would chase me around the house for (calling her that) when I was a kid."

Faye Arizona Wolfe Williams of Columbia died Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. She was 78.

She was born on April 16, 1935, to John Wesley and Gussie Arizona (Johnson) Wolfe. Mrs. Williams' mother died while giving birth, leaving her to be raised by her uncle Theodore and aunt Dora Mae (Johnson) Olson.

On July 5, 1953, she married Richard Lee Williams.

"He won her over and kept her," Richard Williams Jr. said. "They celebrated their 50th anniversary a few years ago."

Mr. and Mrs. Williams raised five children throughout their 58 years as a married couple.

"I grew up in a wonderful household," her son Mark Williams said. "We didn't have much, but we never went without. She would darn near take up a second job to make sure we got what we needed."

Mrs. Williams worked as a nurse for more than 40 years. She worked with a doctor, then at Boone Hospital Center. From there, she went on to work at University Hospital and the MU Student Health Center, as well as at the Lenoir Woods Senior Living Home.

"She was real passionate about taking care of people," Mark Williams said. "She took care of them like they were her own children."

Richard Williams Jr. echoed this sentiment, adding that his mother often put others first in all areas.

"She took the back end of everything," he said. "She would reach out if you were ill or if you had a problem, and she would be there to help."

She also loved to spend time with her grandchildren, Mark Williams said.

Mrs. Williams lived with her daughter Tammy Benage in her final days.

"(Tammy) took care of her," her son, Mark Williams, said. "Since day one, were were against putting her in a nursing home, and Tammy took good care of her."

Mrs. Williams is survived by her five children, Richard Williams Jr. and wife, Julie, of Land O' Lakes, Fla., Steve Williams and wife, Becky, of Tebbetts, Tammy Benage and husband, Bill, of Andover, Kan., Connie Welbern and husband, Mark, of New Franklin, and Mark Williams and wife, Tammy, Wills of Centralia; daughter-in-laws Barbara Green of Bellvue, Colo., and Tamara Waltz Nowlin of Hallsville; grandchildren, Trevor, Ramona, Justin, Andrea, Scott, Eric and Kendall Williams, Julie Escobedo, Kelsi and Isabella Benage, Cody, Dalton, Zackery and Kynlee Welbern, Trista Hockman, Ashley Wills and Alex Green; and several great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Richard, and eight brothers and four sisters died earlier.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St. Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions can be made to Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St., Columbia, MO 65201 or Associated Home Care, 113 S. Main St., El Dorado, KS 67042, for the Faye Williams memorial fund.

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Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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