Christian 03

Jerold (Jerry) Ray Williams

July 26, 1942 ~ March 8, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old


Jerold (Jerry) Ray Williams, better known as Papa Jerry, died on March 8, 2023. 

He was born on July 26, 1942, in Carbondale, Illinois to Rita (Baggott) and Raymond E. Williams.

Jerry married his high school sweetheart, Rebecca (Becky) O’Brien on November 24, 1960 at the First Baptist Church of Anna, Illinois.  They enjoyed 62 years of marriage.

His childhood was spent in Cobden where he graduated from Cobden High School.  He received his undergraduate college degree from Southern Illinois University and his graduate degree from Illinois State.

Jerry began his professional career as a special education teacher at Lincoln State School.  He also served as school psychologist with the Wabash and Ohio Valley Special Education District.  He then worked as business manager for the Harrisburg Unit School District.  Following his retirement from education, he worked as an investment banker, specializing in underwriting bond issues for school districts and municipalities throughout Illinois until his retirement in 2005.

Jerry enjoyed traveling, especially with the group of fellow campers from his church.  He and Becky enjoyed shopping for antiques and books, as he was an avid reader.  Most of all, he enjoyed being with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was a long-time member of First Baptist Church in Harrisburg where he served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher for over fifty years.  He found great satisfaction in being able to share his salvation testimony as part of his participation in the FBC Faith program.  He and Becky served with the Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief Program, and he served many years working with His Table at First Baptist Church.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Becky; a sister, Janis Corrington; a son Scott (Michelle) Williams of Boca Raton, Florida: a daughter Stacey (Joe) Thompson of Harrisburg; six grandchildren-Caleb (Brandie) Thompson, Kate (Ethan) Grounds, Sykes (Hannah) Thompson, and Cooper (fiancé Erin) Thompson, Chase Williams and Samantha Williams.  The light of his life were his seven great-grandchildren-Mila Kate, Teagan, Brooks, Charlotte, Caroline, Lucy, and Samuel.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Rita Williams of Cobden.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 17th at 10:00 am at First Baptist Church in Harrisburg.

In lieu of flowers, Jerry wished for donations to be made to Caleb Thompson’s ministry in Thailand.  Checks can be made out directly to Caleb Thompson, or they can be designated to him and written to First Baptist Church.

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Memorial Service
March 17, 2023

10:00 AM
First Baptist Church of Harrisburg
204 N. Main Street
Harrisburg, IL 62946


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