Cherry Blossoms

Joan R. (Smith) Williams

March 23, 1934 ~ March 23, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Joan Williams Obituary

Joan R. Smith Williams of Warrenton, Virginia, departed this life on Saturday, March 23, 2024 at her daughter's home surrounded by those she loved. 

She was preceded in death by her husband of over 53 years, John E. Williams, her son Brian A. Williams, her grandson Bobby Dudley, her parents Willie C. and Rita Roy Smith, her siblings Charles Smith, William “Bill” Smith, Betty Smith, Harriet Benimon, James Smith, Leonard Smith, Ida Simms, and Franklin Smith. 

Joan was the fifth of thirteen children born to Willie C. and Rita Roy Smith of Warrenton, Virginia born on March 23, 1934.   Joan completed Rosenwald High School of Warrenton in 1950. She attended Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Joan returned home after completing a year at Stillman.  Family and education have always been important to Joan.

She loved Warrenton and started working at an early age at the local corner store, better known as “Mrs. Cassie’s”.  In the 1960's, Joan was the first black female to work at Drug Fair which was located in Warrenton Center. Joan also participated with integrating the restaurants.

In the early 1950's, Joan met John Williams.  John was a soldier who was stationed at Vint Hill Farms.   John and Joan married on January 1, 1955 in her parent’s home by Reverend Edgar Bass. 

From Joan and John’s union of marriage, three children were born:  Brian A. “Son”, Gregory A. “Baby”, and Lynette A. “Angel”.  Joan loved her children.   She made sure that her children knew the importance of putting “God first”.  Joan and John showed their children the importance of marriage, family, and working together.  They practiced tough love and made sure their children were raised to respect themselves and others and to develop a commitment to your community.  Joan was an avid learner and educator.  She worked for the federally funded Head Start Program from November 19, 1969 until May 31, 2000. Joan spent over 30 years serving the underserved children and parents of Fauquier County.  She worked tirelessly on making sure every child in Fauquier had a “head start”.  Many of those years were served as the Head Start Director where she was known to mentor and grow a number of people in the community.  

Joan was always a long standing and active member of First Baptist Church who believed in putting God first.  She felt that it was important to take on jobs that people may not want to do, such as Sunday School Teacher, Bible School Teacher, Member of the Kitchen Committee, Chairperson of a Fundraiser, etc.  Joan wanted to always help wherever she was needed and wanted to make sure she did it with energy and with a “smile”. 

In 2008, when Town Councilman John Williams (her husband) passed away, the best person to fill his seat was Joan, the same person having a shared vision as John.  Joan took on another role in 2008 as Town Councilwoman and served on the Warrenton Town Council as the Ward 2 Representative from 2008 to 2016.  Town Councilwoman Williams was the first African American woman to serve on the Warrenton Town Council.   

She has also been a member and president of the Ladies Auxiliary for Post 360 in Warrenton for decades.  Joan was a member of Altrusa. Her love of children continued as she was always active in her children lives and any community organizations they participated in, such as Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, and sports.

Joan Roy Smith Williams wanted to be remembered as a woman of God who loved all children.  She loved her family and her extended family.   

In addition to her aforementioned children, Joan is survived by her daughter in law, Marianne Williams and her son-in-law Willie A. Lewis (“her third son”), her eight grandchildren and her 16 great grandchildren.  Her surviving siblings include Paul “Joe” (Linda) Smith of Warrenton, Virginia, Rita Marshall, of Warrenton, Virginia, Dorothy Marshall of Richmond, Virginia, and Bernard (Valerie) Smith of Bowie, Maryland as well as two sister-in-laws, Paulette Smith of  California and Edmonia Smith of Warrenton, Virginia and two brother-in-laws Ernest Benimon of Warrenton, Virginia and Melvin (Ruby) Williams of Houston, Texas.  Joan also leaves behind a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

Family will receive friends on Saturday, March 30, 2024, 10am until 11 am with funeral services starting at 11 am at First Baptist Church, 39 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, Virginia, 20186. Rev. Vinicent Holland, Sr. will deliver the eulogy.

Interment will be in Bright View Cemetery, Warrenton, Virginia.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan R. (Smith) Williams, please visit our floral store.

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March 30, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
First Baptist Church - Warrenton
39 Alexandria Pike
Warrenton, VA 20186

March 30, 2024

11:00 AM
First Baptist Church - Warrenton
39 Alexandria Pike
Warrenton, VA 20186

Interment Following Funeral Service
March 30, 2024

Bright View Cemetery
8265 Lunsford Road
Warrenton, VA 20186


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