Joseph Williams, 79, of Hertford, formerly of Carteret County, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at Vidant Chowan Hospital in Edenton while in hospice care.
Joe requested to be cremated, with his ashes interred next to his mother and near his favorite older sister, Sissy, at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Newport. The date for the interment is to be determined.
Joe was born June 6, 1940, on the family’s Mill Creek farm in the Harlowe township to father Walter Williams and mother Annie Small Williams, who predeceased him. He grew up in a large, active family with three sisters and three brothers. At 17, Joe joined the U.S. Coast Guard, which he served proudly and nobly for 20 years at stations from Ketchikan, Alaska, to Atlantic Beach, until retiring as a senior chief petty officer. Attaining his captain’s license, Joe began a second career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served as the master of coastal dredging ships, primarily serving in the South Atlantic Wilmington District, keeping waterways clear and navigable up and down the East Coast. Retired for a second time, Joe settled in Hertford.
Joe married Paula Hill Feb. 20, 1959, and they raised their two daughters, Jo Anne and Jackie, in various locations around the U.S., from Coast Guard assignments in Alaska to North Carolina, finally settling in Beaufort, where Joe would eventually transition from the Coast Guard to the Army Corps of Engineers. With the girls grown and raising families of their own, Joe and Paula later divorced.
While serving on his many ACE assignments, Joe eventually met and fell in love with Ruth, whose child, Susan, would come to regard Joe as a father. Joe and Ruth lived together in Hertford, where they would eventually help Susan raise her own children and happily made the time to see Joe’s daughters and their children, often meeting in Greenville to have a meal and attend East Carolina University football games, one of Joe’s favorite things to do.
He leaves behind his partner of more than 30 years, Ruth Mengel; his two daughters and their husbands, Jo Anne and John Wilkerson and Jackie and John Lancaster; Ruth’s daughter, Susan Revels; and a total of five grandsons, one granddaughter and two great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents and all but one of his siblings.
Arrangements are by Miller & Vanessendelft Funeral Home in Hertford.