Leslie M. Williams (’94)

Leslie Miller Williams June 27, 1951 March 18, 2020 Obituary for Leslie Williams Leslie Winfield Miller Williams, 68, of Kerrville, Texas, died on March 18, 2020 at her home of over 18 years in Kerrville, as she was being held by her husband, and attended by her Hospice Nurse, Debbie Foster. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, to John Keith Miller and Maryallen Hess Meriwether, on June 27, 1951. She and her husband, Stockton Williams (Jerre Stockton Williams, Jr.) met in 9th grade at Lamar Jr. High in Austin, Texas, and married in St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Austin, on December 30, 1976. In the family’s early years, her father was in the oil business, and Leslie lived in Corpus Christi and Tyler, Texas; six years in Norman, OK; and in Richmond, IN. When her father became the first Executive Director of Laity Lodge, the family moved to Kerrville, where Leslie attended Peterson Middle School. They then moved out to Laity Lodge, and Leslie graduated from 8th grade at Leakey Jr High, and the family moved to Austin. After graduating from McCallum High School, Leslie attended Oklahoma University, graduating with a BS in Elementary Education and Art. At OU, Leslie became especially close to 4 of her Kappa sorority sisters, Becky Casey, Denise Dunlap, Pat Templer, and Dana Turner, a couple of whom she had known since her childhood in Norman, and the 5 of them continued to get together on girls weekends every year, and other occasions, including their children’s weddings. Leslie so appreciated their several trips to Kerrville the past few months. Leslie continued her education, earning a MA in Creative Writing from Trinity University, and later a PhD in English Literature from the University of Houston. Her final degree was a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School. While at Yale, Leslie talked her way into some graduate Art Classes, and was mentored by the late Robert Reed. One of Leslie’s friends recently said that Leslie was amazingly able to re-invent herself periodically. It is true that Leslie had several different careers, including Middle School and High School teacher, then College Professor and Dean. In particular, she taught at her beloved Midland College for some 24 years, including 7 years as Dean and Professor in Midland, and then 15 years while in Kerrville via the internet, and then taught ‘face classes” again in Midland for 2 1/2 years, after Stockton’s retirement. Leslie also was a great cook, and cooked not only for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Wednesday Night Dinners and special events), but for nearly a year had a luncheon restaurant in Kerrville, St. Martha’s away, which was mentioned in Texas Highways Magazine. She loved entertaining in her home, and hosted open houses every year for her church family. Leslie was also a writer, and one of her publishers asked her to do some speaking and book-signing, and so she closed the restaurant to do so. Leslie published several poems and academic articles, and 8 books: 6 non-fiction Christian books, and 2 Christian fiction titles. Her personal favorite was Night Wrestling: Struggling for Answers and Finding God. Her latest two books, When Anything Goes, and Emblem of Faith Untouched: A Biography of Thomas Cranmer, were well-respected, the latter receiving an award as one of the outstanding theological books of the year. A final career was as an artist. Leslie had loved art all along, but returned to it in earnest in 2011, during her time at Yale. She was a member of Gentileschi Aegis Association of San Antonio, and worked closely with mentor artist and friend, Sylvia Benitez. In particular, since her pancreatic cancer diagnosis in April, 2019, Leslie had produced a great body of work, and had been blessed to be in several shows. Her final show, on February 22 of this year, featured all the various genres she worked in, and was an amazing gift to her from Dr. James Young, Amy Ives, and Peterson Hospice. Leslie enjoyed reading of all kinds, from fiction to World War 2 history. She and her husband loved to travel, and co-led several trips to the Holy Land and the United Kingdom. As well as producing art, Leslie was an art collector. Leslie also enjoyed participating in sports, starting in High School, where she set a District Record in the broad jump, and she and her doubles partner, Julie Puett, won the city championship in tennis. Leslie continued to play tennis, including qualifying for and being ranked in the National Senior Games. In recent years, Leslie loved pickleball. At the time of her cancer diagnosis, she was playing pickleball three times a week. Lately, what she loved most was spending time with her 6 grandchildren, cooking and making art and playing. Leslie is preceded in death by her father, Keith Miller, and by her grandparents, Earle and Mabel Miller, of Tulsa, OK, and Dr. Charles and Lita Hess of Durant, OK. Leslie is survived by her husband, Stockton; her son, Jerre S. Williams, Ill, and his wife, Jessica; her daughter, Caroline Winfield Williams, and her partner, Joshua Johnston; her mother, Maryallen Meriwether; and by her grandchildren, Allison Cahela, Kayden Williams, Brennan Williams, Evelyn Williams, Carter Williams, and Remi Johnston. Also surviving are her stepmother, Andrea Miller; two sisters, Kristin Huffman (Mike), and Mary Keith Dickinson (Karl); and two sisters-in-law, Shelley Austin (Jim), and Stephanie Williams; and by several nieces and nephews. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the family is holding a private Committal service in the Columbarium of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. At a later date, there will be a Memorial Service at St. Peter’s, with a Visitation the previous evening at Grimes Funeral Chapels, Kerrville. Officiating will be the Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop of West Texas, and the Rev. Bert Baetz, of St. Peter’s. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be given to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and School, to Peterson Hospice, or to a charity of your choice. Leslie’s family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Rebecca Barrington, Dr. James Young, Peterson Hospice (including nurse Debbie Foster, and Amy Ives), and also to the Path of Life Women’s Bible Study and Daughters of the King, both of St. Peter’s, who brought bountiful amounts of food to the home for many months.

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