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.
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.
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