Billie Williams, 88, passed away on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, from natural causes surrounded by her family at home in Santa Cruz, CA. Billie was born on March 9, 1930, in Durant, Oklahoma, to her father Cortland David Owens and beloved mother Okla Garner. "After daddy left momma with five girls to raise," her mother and step father, Gene Kelley, raised her and her sisters in Marshall, AR. Billie married Charles "Dude" L Williams in 1949 and they had three sons; Dennis, David, and Dale Williams. Even though Billie was only formally educated to the 8th grade, she applied for a business license while her husband was out doing tree work. In 1964, they started Williams Tree Service Incorporated of Santa Cruz, CA.
For the past 17 years, Billie lived with her eldest son, Dennis, in his Live Oak home where she made lasting friendships with their loving neighbors Sheila, Linda, Sharon, and Nancy. Billie had many hobbies, interests, and ongoing projects during her time, which included raising ducks and geese among other birds and she always had a dog. She enjoyed making jewelry, doing oil paintings, and reading tarot cards. Billie used to meet with her friends weekly where she made her family Christmas stockings using Pretty Punch. With a green thumb the size of Texas, Billie could plant any seed and it would grow. She loved gardening and "preparing for next season" as she always shared her harvests and canned the extras. Even as her health faded, Billie remained an avid reader and was grateful to enjoy her books.
Billie was preceded in death by her husband Dude Williams (killed in 1993 and remains an unsolved homicide), great grandchildren Michaiah Rain and Nicholas Charles, nephew James Whaley, sisters Bonnie, Pauline, Juanita, and Francis and sister-in-law Mary Williams.
Billie is survived by her siblings Clyde, James, N.A., Nancy, and Donna Sue. Sons Dennis, David, and Dale. Grandchildren Richard, Shad, Amanda, Adam, David Scott, Daniel, Donavon, Shondra, Alisha, and Joshua. Great grandchildren Kayla, Austin, Benjamin, Lucas, Anna, Ethan, Emme, Malena, Landen, Bellavonie, Jacqueline, Matthue, Ashden, Joselyn, and Jude. Great-great grandchildren Kyree and Shon. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who always kept in touch, especially Sheila Kay and Joyce Waggonner.
A very special thanks to Hospice of Santa Cruz County for honoring her wishes to remain at home where she could smoke, drink her pink boxed wine on ice, and have her rescue dog, Calypso, by her side. An expression of gratitude to her three caregivers, Courtney, Brenda, and granddaughter Amanda, whom all also supported her to be independent and live the way she liked.
Services will be on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at 1:00 PM at Soquel Cemetery, 550 Old San Jose Rd. A celebration of Billie's life will follow at the Moose Lodge, 2470 El Rancho Dr. near Scotts Valley.
In her passing, Billie preferred contributions be made to Santa Cruz SPCA, as she enjoyed her dog so very much, or Hospice of Santa Cruz County, as she loved her team of care providers and wished for others to have access to their services.