Remembering Virginia Williams
Virginia Strickland Williams, 95, of Orange Park, Florida passed away on April 1, 2023 in at the Haven Hospice Custead Center in Orange Park after a short illness.
Virginia was born on January 3, 1928 to Henry and Lois Rahn Strickland in Bryan County Georgia. She attended the Henry Ford Elementary School in Richmond Hill, Georgia and the Jane Simmons School in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from Richmond Hill High School. Virginia graduated from the Georgia College for Women in Milledgeville, Georgia and began her career as an educator teaching high school Chemistry and Home Economics. After teaching elementary school in Duval County, she spent most of her teaching career at W.E. Cherry in Orange Park, Florida where she primarily taught 2nd grade. She also took graduate classes in Art and Education at Jacksonville University and University of North Florida.
While finishing college, and helping decorate cakes in her parent’s bakery in Pembroke, Georgia, she met Grady H. Williams, Sr., and he proposed to her soon after. After marriage, they lived in the Springfield area of Jacksonville and then Mississippi where she worked as a teacher as she helped Grady attain his undergraduate and graduate education and begin his career as a minister. They lived in Clinton and the Delta in Mississippi where their son Grady Jr. was born before moving to the Lake Forest area of Jacksonville and then Orange Park in Florida when they had their second son Andrew. She helped build, establish, and grow several churches with her husband and loved helping teach many classes and volunteer to make all his efforts a success.
After retiring in 1994, Virginia spent time reading, working crossword puzzles, walking, cooking, doing art projects, and spending time with her two grandchildren. She was active as a volunteer teaching Sunday School classes and helping lead a weekly Protestant worship service at Allegro in Fleming Island, and then she enjoyed being an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park.
In her late 80s and early 90s she became very active as a contributing editor for a book and social media accounts about local and regional food in North Florida, attended yoga classes, and loved taking long scenic drives and enjoying nature at the grounds of Club Continental and at local and State parks. She enjoyed decorating, supervising landscaping, listening to jazz (especially Nat King Cole), entertaining, and relaxing with magazines and art books at home while having her favorite meal of toast cheese and peanut butter Lance crackers with a Coca-Cola.
Virginia was predeceased by her parents, her spouse, Grady Sr. and her brother in law, Billy Williams. She is survived by her two sons, Grady Jr. (Peggy), and Andrew, two grandchildren, Allen Williams and Allison Coleman, (Aziz) and two granddaughters, Mila and Cora Coleman. She is also survived by her sister Evelyn Williams. Nieces Debra Lynch (Carter) and Janice Donaldson (Myles) and many cousins, great nieces and nephews.
Family, friends, and faith were most important to Virginia, and she is remembered by those who knew her as a genuine Christian lady who lived with kindness, style, and a good sense of humor.