Jeannie Lee Williams of Boise, Idaho passed peacefully into the arms of her loving God on January 3, 2023, at the age of 79. Jeannie loved Jesus, her Savior and Lord, with all her heart, and continually demonstrated God’s love to others without reservation. She was known for her laughter, joyful spirit, and love for people whom she served through her hospitality and endless generosity. Although the loss of Jeannie is felt very deeply by her many friends, we rejoice knowing that she is in her Heavenly home with her beloved Jesus Christ, and is again beside the love of her earthly life, her husband, Robert “Bobby” Williams.
Jeannie never knew a stranger, intentionally taking time to connect with those who crossed her path. She shared warmth, compassion, and kind words with everyone she met in her daily interactions whether in person or on the phone, always ending with a wish for God’s blessing. To those who knew her, it was evident that she would do anything she could to help friends, both old and new.
A talented writer and poet, Jeannie was working on writing her memoir which she entitled “Nevertheless, I Will Love”. Her aim was to weave together her many poems with her unique life story which sadly included many struggles and painful emotional loss. Jeannie’s love of God and His creation inspired her in everything she did and everything she wrote. It was her desire to share her story to demonstrate resilience, determination, and the strength found in God’s love and mercies so that others with difficult circumstances would be helped and encouraged.
Jeannie was born in Napa, California on July 30, 1943. The draft chapters of her memoir detail her harrowing childhood including being kidnapped by her biological father when she was 3 years old and being taken across the country to live with him in Arkansas. Her mother and stepfather located her after 28 months and stole her back, returning to California. Ongoing fear of possibly being kidnapped again overshadowed Jeannie’s childhood. She started piano lessons at the age of nine, immediately finding a passion for music. Losing herself in music was a way that Jeannie found healing and growth. At the age of 14, Jeannie was allowed to walk to a little neighborhood church to attend services. Not long after, she invited Jesus into her heart which would forever alter the course of her life. As Jeannie grew up, she overcame many challenges with her sharp mind, talent for music, a love for God, and always a song in her heart.
In her adulthood, she married and divorced twice. She was a dedicated and loving mother to the four children she raised including her adopted son, Joe, and stepchildren: Dolly, Thad, and Todd. After her second divorce, Jeannie left the Coeur d’Alene area, where she had raised the children to adulthood, and moved to California to be nearer to her mother and sister. While in California, her long-time church friend, Robert “Bob” Williams reached out to reconnect with her. Courting her from afar, Bob proposed to Jeannie. Unfortunately, her two divorces had left Jeannie fearful of marriage and she declined the proposal. Months passed but Bob was persistent. Wanting to court her in a more traditional style, Bob secured a job and apartment for her in Boise and asked her to move to the area to be closer to him. Their love blossomed and Bob and Jeannie were married on May 23, 1987. They enjoyed 24 years of marriage before Bob’s passing in 2011.
One of Jeannie’s interesting life stories relates to her family connections. Jeannie’s mother, Mary Alice Elston Stice, was 3rd cousin to the famous American newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, often remembered for his opulent Hearst Castle and sprawling estate. Although a seemingly distant relative, Mary Alice carefully documented the many ways her family and life intertwined with the Hearst family. In the course of her lifetime, she acquired many cherished documents and items of memorabilia. Upon her mother’s death, Jeannie was gifted this unique historical collection. With the loving help of numerous friends, Jeannie prepared the collection for review by the curator of the Hearst Museum. This proud family collection is now available for viewing amongst other historical items in the museum on-site at the Hearst Castle.
Jeannie truly loved to serve others and selflessly gave of her time and energy. Her passion was to uplift others through faith, encouraging words, and music. Over the years, she sang and performed piano accompaniments for many church and civic programs. She especially loved planning, choreographing, and directing children’s cantatas. Her musical talent and love of working with children resulted in wonderful performances of children’s musicals at churches and Christian schools. Perhaps most notable was the Christmas musical, Hark, the Herald Angel .
In recent years, Jeannie attended Eagle Christian Church where she participated in women’s Bible studies, assisted with church administrative tasks, served as a volunteer in several ministries, and was a faithful prayer warrior.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, January 20, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Eagle Christian Church,100 S Short Rd, Eagle, ID 83616. A reception will follow.
Interment will be at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise with a short service held on Monday, January 23, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Jeannie’s memory to one of her favorite Christian ministries for women, Chrysalis, which provides women’s transitional living for those in need. Find out more about Chrysalis on their website: https://chrysaliswomenidaho.org/ Donations can be made on their website under the “Get Involved” dropdown menu, or can be mailed to Chrysalis P.O. Box 7494, Boise, ID 83707.