Joan Williams

A memorial service for Joan Joseph (Jan) Williams, 81, Lawrence, KS, will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at Plymouth Congregational Church. She donated her body to the KU Medical Center, Department of Anatomy. Private inurnment will occur at a later date in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. She died Monday, November 16, 2009, at Brandon Woods at Alvamar.

She was born July 14, 1928, in Kansas City, MO the daughter of Donald B. and Florence (Fuqua) Joseph.

Mrs. Williams was a graduate of Whitewater, Kansas High School in 1945. She graduated with honors from the University of Kansas in June 1949, with a B.A. degree in political science. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1977, also from KU. While at KU, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Social Sorority and received recognition as a Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society and Mortar Board.

She worked for several years as a social worker at the Bert Nash Mental Health Center.

Mrs. Williams was a tireless community volunteer and a founding member of the Douglas County Association of Retarded Citizens (the Arc of Douglas County), Douglas County Special Olympics, and Cottonwood, Inc. She was recently recognized for a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cottonwood, Inc.

She helped with numerous University of Kansas fundraisers and was featured in a promotional brochure for the KU Endowment Association in 1954. She entertained and promoted the University of Kansas Athletic Scholarship fund from its inception in 1948 as “The Century Club.” It was later named “The Williams Educational Scholarship Fund” in honor of Dick, Skipper, and Odd Williams.

Mrs. Williams was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church. She was also a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, Friends of the Theatre at KU, the Opera Guild, a life member of the KU Alumni Association, the Chancellor’s Club and a member of Friends in Council. She married Dick Gossard “Skipper” Williams, on June 25, 1948. He preceded her in death July 3, 1974. She later married Robert Bruce Simpson on May 7, 1988, in Lawrence, KS. He survives of the home.

Other survivors include three sons, Lance Joseph Williams and wife, Amber Denker, Toluca Lake, CA, Todd B. Williams, Lawrence, KS, Sean Williams and wife, Stacie Cooper Williams, Lawrence, KS; step-son, Michael Clair Simpson, Denver, CO; step-daughter, Leigh Prescott, Omaha, NE; a daughter-in-law, Julie Blue Williams, Hillsborough, NC; two brothers, Dr. Howard Joseph, Lawrence, KS, Dr. Bruce Joseph, Hawaii; a twin sister, Virginia Hilbe and husband, Alfred, Schaan, Liechtenstein; a brother-in-law, Richard Simpson, Redwood, CO, and eleven grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, Bret Williams.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in her name to a charity of the donor’s choice and sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

Online condolences may be sent to Subject: Williams.

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