Services will be held for Irene Botkins Williams in the Chapel of First Baptist Church in Minden at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The Rev. Leland Crawford will perform the service, and will be assisted by the Rev. Bill Crider and the Rev. Bill Ichter. Burial will follow at Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Minden.
Visitation will be from 5 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Minden.
Irene, affectionately known as “Mama Rene” to so many, passed away on Sept. 20 after a lengthy illness. The fifth of seven children, Irene was born on June 18, 1921 in Livingston, Kentucky. During her childhood, her family would move from Livingston to Crab Orchard, Kentucky and finally settling down in Maysville, Kentucky, where Irene graduated from Maysville High School.
Irene would move to Dayton, Ohio to serve as a war time civil service employee at Wright Field, where she worked in the incoming classified mail section. It was while working in this office that she met Captain Wayne Williams who had recently returned from duty overseas and would eventually become her husband of 55 years.
After the war, Irene would move with her husband to Shongaloo, where they began their family. The family moved and settled in Minden after Wayne became principal of East Side Elementary (later renamed Richardson Elementary). Mama Rene would serve as secretary of Richardson Elementary for one year, before serving as the secretary at Minden High School for 34 years, retiring in 1986. During her years at Minden High, she touched the lives of more than 6,175 students, serving them at various times as nursemaid, mother-away-from-home, adviser, confidante and friend. As a thank you, the students named her “Teacher of the Year” in 1986 upon her retirement and was honored by the City of Minden by having May 21, 1986 named “Irene Williams Day.”
She served Minden High and the community in numerous activities such as soliciting and compiling ads for the Tide football program, working at American Legion baseball games and various Minden High School athletic events. She was a loyal fan of the Crimson Tide, never missing a home football game until her health did not allow her to attend.
She was a member and former president of the Wiley-Pevy American Legion Post 74 Ladies’ Auxiliary. She was a member of First Baptist Church, where she was part of the Dorcas Sewing Mission Group.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Wynn Williams; parents, Nathaniel Grover Botkins and Norma Louise Bailey Botkins; brother, Herman Everett Botkins; sister Lois Botkins Parrett; brother, Andrew “Brown” Botkins; sister, Ruby Botkins Speasl Yon; brother, James Botkins and brother Horace Botkins.
Survivors are her son, Wayne “Butch” Wynn Williams, Jr. and wife Karen “Ki” Marlowe Williams of Minden; son, James Byron Williams and wife Suzanne Killgore Williams of Sibley; six grandchildren, Wayne “Trey” Wynn Williams III and wife Anne Stuckey Williams of Baton Rouge; Christopher Marlowe Williams and wife Leigh Anne Hilburn Williams of Minden; Christin Williams Robinson and husband Thomas Robinson of Sibley; Gregory Kyle Williams and wife Heather Hampton Williams of Shreveport; Jennifer Suzanne Williams of Sibley, and James Byron Williams, Jr. and wife Lizzy David Williams of Sibley; and nine great-grandchildren, Braeden Thomas Robinson of Sibley; Sydney Grace Robinson of Sibley; Julia Catherine Williams of Baton Rouge; Ella Marlowe Williams of Minden; Marlee Anne Williams of Minden; Elizabeth Wynn Williams of Baton Rouge; Gemi Robinson of Sibley; McCoy Wayne Williams of Shreveport; and Marlowe Wynn Williams of Shreveport.
Pallbearers will be Morris Busby, Bud Copeland, Gary Haynes, Dean Fields, Jerry Lott and Richard Noles.
Honorary pallbearers are Wayne Chance, Ken Fryar, Darrell Kirkland and Gerald Kirkland.
Special thanks go to Irene’s special friend and caretaker over the past year Rose Carter, who became a member of the family and showed so much love and care to Mama Rene. Great appreciation also goes to Sonya Brantley, Julie Burks Allen, Minden Medical Center Home Health Agency and Gamble Hospice Care for providing such great care. Thank you also to Dr. Christopher Earnhardt, Dr. Robert Massingill, Dr. Cooper Heard, and Dr. Roscoe Chan for showing compassion and treating her during her illness.