Willa Dean Williams
Milton - Willa Dean Shelton Williams, 87, went to be with the Lord on April 4, 2021 in Milton, Florida.
Dean was born December 11, 1933 in El Dorado, Arkansas, the youngest of five born to Creighton and Eva (Till) Shelton. She was a 1952 graduate of Norphlet High School in Norphlet, Arkansas, where she was reared.
In 1953 she married her husband of sixty-two years, Curtis Lavelle Williams. In December of 1955 they moved from Arkansas to Milton, Florida with their toddler and infant sons, Curtis and Steve. Lavelle accepted a job with a new company which had come to the area--Escambia Bay Chemical (later became Air Products). Soon a third son would be born in Milton, Florida, Daryl. These boys would become outstanding athletes in basketball, baseball, and football at Milton High School, having been coached by their mom as well as their dad.
Dean accepted Christ as a child and was faithful to His church all of her life. She began teaching Sunday School while still in high school. Shortly after arriving in Milton the young couple moved their church membership to Ferris Hill Baptist church where she served in many capacities over the decades: teacher, various committees, Vacation Bible School, G.A.s, Acteens. She remained active in her church as long as her health allowed.
She was employed with the Santa Rosa County School Board from 1968-1971 where she worked as school secretary at Oakhurst Elementary School (now Rhodes Elementary). In 1971 she began a twenty-five year career with the Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser's Office, retiring in 1996.
Dean enjoyed playing shortstop in the church softball league of Milton for decades. She was also an avid bowler, water-skier, and golfer. She supported her boys at many ball games as they played Little League, high school, college, and semi-pro or professional baseball or softball.
Mrs. Williams is survived by her three devoted sons: Curtis (Susan) Williams, Milton, Florida; Steve (Sherry) Williams, Gray, Georgia; and Daryl (Tamera) Williams, Pace, Florida. Six grandchildren: Heidi (Jason) French, Rhett Williams, Salina (Jason) Tunnell, Curtis (Stephanie) Williams, Jr., Lauren Williams, and Shelton Williams. Nine great-grandchildren: Dalton Porter, Annalise Williams, Willow Williams, River Williams, Emma Tunnell, Eli Tunnell, Emry Williams, Curtis Williams, III, Zayde Williams, and Enzo Williams. Sisters: Annie Harvison, Clarksville, Arkansas, and Jean Stringfellow (Gene), Hampton, Arkansas. Sisters-in-law: Betty Shelton, Alma, Arkansas and Dorothy Williams, Monroe, Louisiana.
Mrs. Williams was preceded in death by her husband, Curtis Lavelle Williams; her parents, Creighton and Eva (Till) Shelton; father-and mother-in-law, Ernie and Minnie Williams; sister, Virginia (James) Gandy; brother Douglas Shelton; brother-in-law E. W. Williams.
A memorial service will be held at Ferris Hill Baptist Church on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.
Visitation will be prior to the service from 1:00-2:00 p.m. A private burial will be held at a later date at Barrancas National Cemetery. Lewis Funeral Home of Milton has been entrusted with arrangements.
Published in the Pensacola News Journal from Apr. 5 to Apr. 6, 2021.