Cover photo for Joann Williams's Obituary
Joann Williams Profile Photo
1927 Joann 2018

Joann Williams

January 27, 1927 — May 7, 2018

Maralee "Joann" Williams, 91, of Columbia City passed away at 3:56 a.m. Monday, May 7, 2018 at her residence. She was born on January 27, 1927 to Earl and Naomi (Flickinger) Hoover in Columbia City. She grew up on a farm in Thorncreek Township and attended Thorncreek Elementary School and then Columbia City High School. After graduation from high school in 1945, she attended MacMurray Girls College in Illinois, and later transferred to Indiana University.

She married Robert Leland Williams in 1949 and they always resided in Columbia City. Joining in the grocery business with Mr. Williams' father, Leland Williams, they continued for years in Columbia City serving patrons. They began with the Southside Market on South Line Street, Williams Grocery Store on Jackson Street and Williams Super Value Store on North Main Street. After the death of her husband in 1984, Mrs. Williams owned and managed Burger Dairy, Deli & Catering on South Line Street.

One of Mrs. Williams' passion was her strong involvement in her husband's 10th Mountain Division, which fought during World War II in the mountains of Italy. She organized numerous reunions throughout the Midwest for this tightly-knit group of veterans and spouses. Lasting friendships brought much meaning to all.

Possessing accomplished sewing skills, she along with her sister, Natalie Estlick, in 1974 incorporated Beetle Creations, Inc., selling their products at craft shows and mail-orders throughout the country. In her 80's Mrs. Williams still made hundreds of hot pads to sell with her daughter/daughter-in-law at craft shows throughout the country. After Hurricane Katrina, she sewed and sent over 100 youthful-themed fleece blankets for babies, children and teens who fled New Orleans to live with relatives in Atlanta. Her niece dispersed these "comfort blankets" when they enrolled at her school.

In later years, Mrs. Williams organized and conducted day bus tours to various sites in the tri state area. Her scope of knowledge of the area and enthusiasm created days of enjoyment for many citizens.

Being very passionate about the preservation of historic buildings in Columbia City, Mrs. Williams was instrumental with a small group of ladies in the creation of the nonprofit, People Preserving History (PPH). Their goal was to preserve historic buildings throughout Whitley County. One of the early projects was the saving and restoration of the Clugston Hotel. Their commitment resulted in Clugston on the Square, presently an apartment complex for low income seniors.

One of Mrs. William's fondest memories is of family boat outings with friends and family on Lake Wawasee. In addition, she enjoyed collecting antiques, especially roosters and pitchers. Her collection is vast, as all witnessed when visiting her. In earlier years, she and several Columbia City ladies would travel to Pennsylvania searching for the unique find. Joann was a member of the Columbia City United Methodist Church.

The legacy that she leaves is one of involvement in community, respect for our country, and love of family. She eagerly shared the accomplishments of her offspring, as they were a source of great pride. Being widowed in her 50's, she demonstrated strength and vitality in continuing to create a productive life. She was not one to sit still, but always embraced a variety of endeavors to bring joy to others and purpose to self. Joann Williams will always be remembered by many because of her ongoing level of civic participation to make Columbia City the best it could be. As one the last of "the Greatest Generation" she will be sorely missed.

Surviving are 3 children including, Alisa (Dale) Martin of Syracuse, Scott (Kellie) Williams of Syracuse and Jenny (Doug) Ferrell of Columbia City; five grandchildren, Zachary Martin, Seth Martin, Cassie Jo DeLucenay, Andrew Ferrell and Brandon Ferrell; and four great grandchildren, Orion Martin-Waldman, Oggy Martin, Jackson Ferrell and Charlotte Ferrell. She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband Robert Leland Williams.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 3-7:00 p.m. at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Mark R. Rigg officiating.

Memorial bequests may be given in Mrs. Williams memory to either Whitley County 4-H, Inc. or 10th Mountain Division.To read her complete life story please log onto


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

3:00 PM - 7:00 PM


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

1:00 PM
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joann Williams, please visit our flower store.


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