STOCKBRIDGE - Joann Skinner Williams, 89, Stockbridge, (formerly of Athens) passed away on Monday, October 12, 2020 following a prolonged struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
Born in Hoschton, Jackson County, on February 15, 1931, Joann was the inquisitive, cotton-topped youngest daughter of Gordon C. Skinner Sr., and Essie Medlin Skinner, one of nine children.
The family faced hardships as sharecroppers in the 1930s and Joann attended no fewer than five primary schools as they moved from farm to farm before finally settling in Athens in the early 1940s. Joann excelled in school despite the frequent moves, and she graduated with honors from Athens High School in 1947.
Joann met Howard E. “Winkie” Williams through mutual friends that same year, soon after his return from military service in Europe. They eloped, secretly marrying “in a preacher’s living room” in Winder on the evening of August, 20, 1949. They waited three weeks before telling their families about the marriage.
Together, Joann and Winkie made Athens their home and they raised their seven children there. They were married for 68 years prior to his death in 2017.
A caregiver by nature, Joann began her professional career at Athens General Hospital, serving in both medical support and clerical positions. As the family grew, Joann left the hospital to provide care for her children and her aging mother, who by then had moved into the Williams household. She began a home child care business in the 1960s and welcomed dozens of children into her care over the ensuing years.
In 1978, Joann began employment as a pharmacy technician at Eckerd (later Rite Aid), where she worked until her retirement more than 30 years later. Even during her years working at the pharmacy, Joann’s home continued to be a place of nursing and nurture as she also welcomed Winkie’s aunts, “Sister” and Hazel Damron, in their declining years.
Joann epitomized kindness and she will be well remembered by all who knew her for her quick and subtle wit, compassionate energy and generosity of spirit. She was quiet, determined and fiercely loyal, a lover of books, music and the Atlanta Braves. Her welcoming home and bountiful table were well known to generations of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers as was her unwavering support and love for her family.
Joann is survived by six children and spouses, Jan Johnson, Stockbridge, Randy and Cindy Williams, Watkinsville, Donna and Darryl Ceravolo, Stockbridge, Sandy and Pat Abbott, Hull, Chris Williams, Greensboro, N.C., and Mark Williams, Athens; 11 grandchildren, Alison Hollis, Chad Johnson (Jennifer), Erin Cushman (Matt), Auburn Haines, Leslie Rudow (Carl), Jessica Briscoe (Greg), Anthony Ceravolo (Anna), Annamarie Ceravolo, Angela Stone (Tyler), Daniel Jennings (Amber), and Chelsea Dobbs (Cody); 13 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Stiles Lovern; nieces; nephews; and many friends and former colleagues.
In addition to her husband and her parents, she was preceded in death by a son, David Williams; son-in-law, Mike Johnson; grandson, Ty Hollis; four sisters; four brothers; and sisters-in-law, Clairene Ferguson and Diane Lovern.
Graveside service and burial: Friday, October 16, 2020, at 1 p.m. at Evergreen Memorial Park in Athens. Grandchildren will serve as pallbearers and the Rev. Darryl Mathis will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joann’s memory may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.
Arrangements entrusted to Horis A. Ward Funeral Home-Fairview Chapel, 376 Fairview Road, Stockbridge, Ga. 30281, 770-474-1231, www.horisawardfairviewchapel.com.