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Verna Jo Williams(1932 - 2013)

Verna Jo Williams, 80, gained her eternal heritage with the Heavenly Father on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Service: 11 a.m. Wednesday at Gambrell Street Baptist Church, where she will lie in state at 10 a.m. Interment: Laurel Land. Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Thompson's Harveson & Cole. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to the building fund at Gambrell Street Baptist Church, 1616 Gambrell St., Fort Worth 76115. Jo was born to Vernard E. and LaVerne Clayton on Dec. 4, 1932, in Harrisburg, Ill., and graduated from Harrisburg High School in 1950. It was in Harrisburg she met her husband-to-be, James D. Williams. They were first "sweethearts" and later renewed their friendship at Southern Illinois University. They were married at First Baptist Church, Harrisburg, March 12, 1954, and moved to Fort Worth, August, 1956. Together they enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Seminary. Jo pursued a degree in church music and Jim, graduate degrees in Christian education. Since the age of 14, Jo had served as organist in churches in Illinois, Texas and Tennessee, including 11 years at Gambrell Street Baptist Church. She taught piano and organ for more than 34 years. She was a member of the American Guild of Organists, a past member of Euterpean, Fort Worth Woman's Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. When her husband joined the faculty of Southwestern Seminary, she became active in the Seminary Woman's Club and served as president during the bicentennial year of 1976. When her husband held leadership posts in the Southern Baptist Convention, she was active in convention organizations, including the Baptist World Alliance. During those years of service, she joined with Jim in serving in many countries. These opportunities were a highlight of her life. A Parkinson's patient for more than 20 years, she never complained, and her greatest joy in life was to worship with her church and enjoy time with her family. Survivors: Husband, James D. Williams; sons, James Gregory Williams and wife, Carol, and Jeffrey Clayton Williams and wife, Lori; daughter, Jami Jo Williams; grandsons, Michael Sawalich, Wills Ward; granddaughters, Lauren Jones and husband, Tyler, Rebecca Halfacre and husband, Brian, Geni Valdez and husband, Mark, and Geri Williams; great-grandsons, Matthew and Mark Valdez; sister, Cloe Smith and husband, Dr. Budd Smith, and their son, Todd Smith and wife, Jennifer, and son, Braylon; on Jim's side of the family, brother-in-law, Carmel Mazzaco, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Home

Thompson's Harveson & Cole
702 Eighth Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76106
817-336-0345

Published in Star-Telegram on June 30, 2013
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