Williams, Leila (Mrs. J.B.)


March 22, 1868 - February 1, 1960
“The Louisiana Conference never had a more loyal, faithful, and unselfish preacher than J. B. Williams”. With these words, Dr. W. W. Holmes began the Memoir of the Reverend J. B. Williams, published in the Louisiana Annual Conference Journal of 1942. Now, with the death of his beloved widow, Mrs. J. B. Williams, how perfectly fitting to say, “The Louisiana Conference never had a more loyal, faithful, and unselfish preacher’s wife than Mrs. J. B. Williams”. However, this writer can go even farther to say, “Miss Leila (as she was affectionately known) was one of the finest Methodist Christians ever.”
Mrs. Williams was born in Sumter County, Alabama, on March 22, 1868 She attended Thscaloosa Female College. Later she moved to Homer, Louisiana, where on February 5, 1913, she married the Reverend J. B. Williams. After retirement with Mr. Williams in 1933, she made her home in Many, Louisiana, where she continued to live until her death on February 1, 1960.
The writer had the privilege of being her Pastor for four years, up until eight months before her death. Though not present at the time of her death, and thus not knowing exactly what her last moments were like, any one who had the privilege of knowing her, would know that her faith, her assurance, her knowledge of and complete commitment of God, and her preparation for the final journey.. . all these made for a moment of triumph even in death.
Like John Wesley, there surely was in her heart, if not on her lips, during the last hours of her life—

“I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath;
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.”
And she, too, could say with him, “The best of all is, God is with us.”

Funeral services were held from the First Methodist Church of Many, Louisiana, by her
Pastor, Rev. 3. W. Matthews, Jr. and the writer. Burial was in Many Cemetery. Appropriately, these words have been placed by her family on the stone that marks her final resting place— “Faithful to her Trust, even unto Death.”

Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 197-198, 1960 by John B. Koelemay.

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