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Obituary for G. Elizabeth Williams
Family and friends are mourning the loss of G. Elizabeth Williams on May 12, 2014, three day shy of her 95th birthday. A celebration for friends and family will be held on Saturday, May 24 at Proctor Place, 2724 W Reservoir, Peoria, IL. There will be a short service at 9:30 am followed by a reception until 11:30. She was born on May 15, 1919 to David King and Myrtle “Willie” (Whidby) King near Franklin, Tennessee. Most of her childhood memories are centered on the family farm in Kingfield, Tennessee. As the youngest daughter of nine siblings, she was always under the protection of her seven brothers and had a role model in her older sister. By 1940, jobs were very hard to find so she and a friend left Tennessee for looking for opportunities. Since the friend had a boyfriend in the Navy, they headed for Virginia. On her first day as a waitress near a naval base in Virginia, a sailor with “a long foot and very nice ankles” (yes, that really is a quote) walked into the diner; his name was G. Richard “Dick” Williams. Within a month, they were married on July 25, 1940 in South Mills, North Carolina. Shortly after that, Dick went out to sea. There was limited contact in the next few years as Elizabeth endured times when she did not know his fate on days like December 7, 1941 when Dick was stationed at Pearl Harbor—his ship was the second to get out of the harbor at the very start of America’s involvement in World War II. From that point until the end of the war, about all she knew is that Dick was on a destroyer someplace in the Pacific Ocean in harm’s way. After Dick returned from the war, they started to build their life in Dick’s hometown of Bellwood, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth built a home for Dick and their daughter Sabra. Elizabeth also built a career in sales working for Welcome Wagon in central Pennsylvania. Traveling for work and play became part of her life. They would often camp either in their Nash Rambler by turning down the seats or setting up a tent. They then purchased a “pop-up” trailer that they pulled behind the car. Their next step was a small motor home and finally a 32 foot Pace Arrow RV. In 1991, they sold their home in Bellwood and moved to their daughter’s house that has in-law quarters. This allowed them get to know their grandchildren and have more flexibility to travel. About eight years after her husband Dick died in 2000, Elizabeth moved into Proctor Place in Peoria. Knitting, dancing, and making people laugh were things she enjoyed. She also enjoyed walking a mile a day (into her 90's) while chatting with folks she met along the way. She will be missed. Surviving are her daughter, Sabra (James) Schmudde of Peoria; her granddaughter, Travis (Aaron Miller) Alber of New York; and her grandson, David (Kathryn) Schmudde of Brooklyn. Although Elizabeth’s parents and siblings have passed away, she still has multiple generations of nieces and nephews with ties to her family’s roots in Nashville who will feel the loss of the last living family member of Elizabeth’s generation. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to charities of one's choice.