Tag Archives: family

Merle Williams: Wife, Mother, Grandma (GiGi)

Unfortunately this has been a very difficult week for my family. We lost our leader, mentor and friend. My Grandma was a remarkable woman. I miss her dearly. The following obituary was written by her son, my Dad, in her honor.

DSCN0147Merle Elizabeth Howe Williams, 86, died Tuesday, Dec. 8, after a brief illness.

Born July 17, 1929, to William Leroy and Caroline Wooten Howe, she grew up in Leaksville (Eden). She attended Leaksville High School, where she began to develop the social skills (she was a member of many clubs, a cheerleader and voted Most Popular) that endeared her to so many people throughout her life. She attended Women’s College (UNCG) but happily gave up college after she met Hal, the handsome war veteran she met at a hot dog roast in Elon. They married in 1950 and embarked on a loving relationship that kept them together for 64 years, until Hal’s death in 2014.

The couple settled in Reidsville, where Hal began his career in the retail furniture business, and Merle became a stay-at-home-mom caring for three sons. In 1972, they moved to Durham where Hal managed his own store, Riverview Furniture and Interiors. Merle would later join the business as an interior decorating consultant and accessory buyer. They retired to Reidsville in 2006 after Hal sold the store.

Merle enjoyed more than anything else in her life activities with her family, which included three sons, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Play dates with her great-grandchildren filled her with joy.

She and Hal traveled the world extensively, and Merle’s favorite places to visit after retirement were in the Blue Ridge mountains. She loved to browse shops in quaint mountain villages and was a shopper extraordinaire. That went hand in hand with her favorite time of year, the Christmas season.

Merle was a master at finding unique, fun gifts, and the family Christmas gathering was for her the highlight of every year. Her exquisite decorating skills and impeccable taste were never more on display than at the wonderland home she created. Children and adults alike were delighted and amazed upon seeing what she had done year after year. Her collection of Santas, many acquired during her world travels, was always much admired. Visitors wouldn’t find a “tacky” thing, unless it was intended in her mischievous, playful way to get laughs.

Merle also enjoyed flower gardening and cooking, and meal time events, large or small, brought her great joy. “Let’s have a little Bloody Mary,” she’d say, and then it was time to eat.

Throughout her life, Merle attended church faithfully and was a member of Woodmont Methodist in Reidsville.

She is survived by sons, Bob Williams and fiancé Lea Anne Lamb of Greensboro and Steve Williams and wife Mary Lynn of Reidsville; grandchildren, Brooks Williams and wife Melissa of Whitsett; Kellie DeLapp and husband Jeremy of Reidsville; Garrett Williams and wife Becca of Matthews; and Neal Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Merle had four great-grandchildren, Ella Kate and Kassi Mae DeLapp of Reidsville, Carolina Brooke Williams of Whitsett and Benjamin Reid Williams of Matthews.

She was preceded in death by a son, David Reid Williams, and six siblings.

The family welcomes friends to join them at 10 a.m. Friday prior to services at 11 a.m. at Woodmont United Methodist Church and other times at the Reidsville home. There will be a private burial ceremony at Reidlawn Cemetery

The Rev. Morris Brown will officiate the services at the church and cemetery. Memorials may be made in Merle’s memory to Woodmont Methodist Church.

The family would like to thank the staffs of Cone Hospital where she spent her final two days and the many health care professionals who assisted her later in life.

Online condolences can be made at www.wilkersonfuneral.com.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Merle Elizabeth Howe Williams please visit our Sympathy Store.


my family

Happy Anniversary: 10 Years in the Making

Today, July 31st, marks my 10th year of marriage to my one and only. Our time together is moving incredibly fast. From our first chance meeting outside our simple apartment complex in Boone to today’s kiss before heading out on my morning bike ride, we continue to mark our time with warm togetherness, spirited laughter and limitless love.

With my ride complete, I return home to a dreamer’s dream. As I type my wife is catching up on some much-needed rest downstairs. Baby boy is napping in his crib. The house is quiet. Writing is about reflection and I now have this moment. For starters, thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed on our simple family. My heart and head now fill with memories of our time together. They are the snapshot moments, the prologue past that we build upon.

The lead up to our tenth year anniversary has already been marked by so many great moments. Ten years in, our marriage continues to reach the greatest of heights. We have climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower and yet our hearts leapt a thousand times higher with the birth of our baby boy. We have climbed hundreds of trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and yet the trails we stroll today offer greater reward because we take our sweet son along for the ride.

Baby boy in many ways reminds us both to not only be thankful for him, but to also be thankful for one another. We are all precious vessels. We all bring meaning to this world. We each deserve an everyday celebration because each day is its own special anniversary.

As I type/ reflect, I want to remind myself to embrace life. Marriage and family is all about shared comfort in the face of adversity. Love powers us through life’s challenges and helps us share its greatest rewards. Life will continue to present its trials and triumphs. I remain thankful that I have two great companions by my side to help me embrace the ebb and flow of the journey.

These past ten years would have meant nothing without my one and only. The same goes for the infinite future that awaits us . . .

Baby boy is waking up. Life is calling. I am one of the lucky ones. Together we formulate infinity.

I’ll say it all day, every day (quietly to myself and aloud when necessary):

“Happy Anniversary!”

The Big Recommit

Since the devastatingly boring Super Bowl, the pages of Formulate Infinity have been silent. That is about to change, starting with this post on re-commitment.

I’m not sure if it was the birth of my first baby, that I am turning 34 this year, or that  I am just a prime target for self-inflicted punishment. Maybe it was watching Pearl Jam kick out the jams in Charlotte without compromise. My generation’s musical representatives reconnecting me to my youthful hopes and aspirations. Whatever the source of inspiration, sometime in early November I decided to recommit myself to some lifelong interests.  These pursuits include everything from writing (this blog) to playing music again.

For the average person, there are major hurdles to pursuing what you enjoy. The first hurdle is economic. America has one of the most productive work forces on this earth because we commit ourselves to long hours to get the job done.  I often find my work bleeding into the time I spend at home. Technology has become mobile and spread a “work from anywhere” ethos. This has only made the problem more pervasive. That, and the fact that most of us now need two jobs to survive, has put many folk’s lifelong interests and hobbies on hold.

I will always work in the field of public education because I believe in the intrinsic value of working for the public good. Our society, however, has yet to reward our hard-working teachers monetarily for the sacrifices they make in the name of raising the nation’s children. When I am not busy helping these teachers use technology in their classrooms, I am busy teaching two online classes from home. I truly enjoy teaching children across our great state but sometimes I wish the money I make from doing it wasn’t so necessary.

The second major hurdle is life itself. Things happen that derail our commitments. A family member gets sick. A friend in need demands our attention. We sacrifice our time to help others. I have experienced this with my grandfather. It is way more important to live life than write about it. I have spent the last several weekends visiting him and praying for him to recover from a devastating fall. While doing this, I feel an intense guilt that I am spending more time with my family because of tragedy. We have all rallied in the name of helping both my grandparents. I love my family dearly and it will be a long time before I let work and other life pursuits push them aside. That is a young man’s move. Now that I have a family of my own, I know the proper life order of things.

Hurdles, like the one’s I mentioned above, aren’t necessarily excuses but they can veer us off the path we’ve paved for ourselves when it comes to pursuing self-imposed goals.  For that reason, I think it is much harder to lose track of those pursuits if you put them in writing. It is one of the main reasons I started this blog. For this reason, I am listing the things I want to continue to work on and improve upon as the year 2014 moves forward.

Here it is writing:

  1. Family: First and foremost, I commit myself to being a family man. The sharing of baby boy with family and friends has been one of life’s great rewards. Next to meeting and marrying my one true love, there is nothing compared to the feeling I get when holding our new bundle of joy. I want to make sure I honor these life blessings by calling, visiting and hugging those I love more often.
  2. Health: If I am truly committed to my family, then it is important that I also recommit myself to healthy living. While I have always been a fairly healthy eater, I am making an effort to moderate other things like drink and sweets. I am also exercising more. I am happy to report that I just finished my first month of Insanity workouts. It’s amazing how much better one can feel when you establish a daily exercise routine.
  3. Writing:  My recommit to writing, with this blog, is obviously in full effect. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts, opinions and memories, even if it has been for a limited audience. Writing often is how you improve your craft. It has been a long time since the days when I used to scribble poetry into a spiral notebook, but I feel that I have reconnected with that young version of myself by maintaining this blog. While I hope to write a book someday, this blog will help me prepare for the moment when I am ready to pursue it full tilt.
  4. Music: To me, playing music is an extension of writing because I often play to channel my own self-expression. While it is difficult to carve out the time, I have been lucky in this category. My friend Jan recently loaned me an electric guitar and I am now playing and recording with it. My new MacBook Pro makes this so enjoyable. I’ve even found a way to turn my iPhone into an effects pedal. Very cool. Just got to keep it in headphone land so I don’t wake baby boy, lol.

Hopefully, this list will help me remain accountable to these pursuits. No matter what, number one will always be number one.  The other re-commitments should hold up but it will be a challenge.  One day at a time, living life to the fullest should do the trick.