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Community bids farewell to longtime teacher
Obit BessieWilliamsNew
Bessie Williams
Death has claimed Bessie Williams, who taught in a time that now seems marked with innocence.
When children left home in the mornings, they realized the teachers were an extension of their parents. If they didn’t behave, they would be instantly corrected and they knew their parents would take further disciplinary actions.
And during that time Williams helped shape many young people, some of whom have now assumed reigns of leadership in the area.
“She touched many lives,” state Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, said. “Mrs. Williams was no weeping willow. She did not allow you to walk across campus holding hands. Many of us are better because of her. She was concerned about her students and what they learned.”
“Mrs. Bessie Williams,” as she was known at the old Liberty County High School, was a presence in the halls. In those days, students started high school in the eighth grade. As an excited, yet scared eighth grader, you were almost certain to have Williams as your teacher. Students knew and respected her as a tough, no nonsense teacher. She loved her job and her students, and would do almost anything to help them.
A native of Eastman, she came to Liberty County in 1951 as the wife of Clarence Williams. She spent 37 years as a teacher in the school systems of Laurens, Henry, and Liberty counties. Williams taught various subjects in fifth through seventh grades in Laurens and Henry counties. She taught health and physical education at the old LCHS. And, during the latter part of her career, she was a mathematics teacher at the old Hinesville Middle School.
Her rich and full life came to an end on May 19, leaving a legacy of love and care. She spent a lifetime being of service to her family, the school system, and the community. She spent 66 years as a wife, and she and her husband reared four children, Clarence Jr., Lois Vedelle, Jacqueline and Marsha.
During her wake on the evening of May 25, tears flowed, but there was also laughter and precious memories. Dorchester Funeral Home was packed with family, friends, former educators who had labored with her in shaping young minds, former students, and a former superintendent Ed Edwards.
“She was my friend,” school board member Mattie Hicks said. “We were born the same year, the same month, and the same day. We had a close relationship.”
“Mrs. Bessie Williams was my little money bank,” former student Daniel Flemingt said. “She gave me money to help buy my lunch.”
“She taught me when I was a grown man. She explained things to this war veteran,” Riceboro City Councilman Henry Relaford said.
Not only was Bessie Williams a teacher, she was involved in the community. She was a longtime member of St. Peters African Methodist Episcopal Church in Midway, a charter member of the Cosmopolitan Club and life member of Limerick Chapter 336 Order of the Eastern Star. Prior to students having a hot meal at school, members of the Cosmopolitan Club hosted fundraisers so students could have fresh milk.
Williams was also active with the annual pageants held by the Cosmopolitan Club.
Retirement did not slow her. She and her husband loved to travel and enjoy their grandchildren.
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