Having lived a long, full and happy life, Julia Murray Nelson Williams died April 27, 2020, age 96. She was born May 26, 1923 in Baltimore, the daughter of Spotswood Page Nelson and Julia Murray Forrest Nelson. During the War she worked for the British Admiralty in Baltimore. Ostensibly they were tracking British ships, but in truth they were also tracking German ships near U.S. waters.
She married Edward Monroe Williams, a dashing Coast Guard Lieutenant ten years her elder, in 1943. After the war they made their home in Danville, Virginia, where “Red” made a career as an
officer and broker with Dibrell Brothers Tobacco Co. He traveled the world and Julia joined him on numerous occasions, forming a world-wide group of friends. They raised two children: Edward Monroe Williams, Jr. (Suzanne), and Julia Murray Williams Boyd (Randy).
She was a generous, loving wife, parent, aunt and friend, always ready for adventure or a party, a good game of golf or tennis, or a camp-out in the mountains with extended family. At age 71, she proved she could still get up on water skis (no longer slalom) and stay up for a long way. She was a game sort of person, proper but with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
She loved games and puzzles: Scrabble, crosswords, cards, conundrums, all of which take patience and concentration, of which she had a great deal. With equal concentration, she produced some beautiful needlepoint. She loved to have her hands in the soil, delighting in growing vegetables and flowers. She loved the French language; her grasp of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary was such that she taught college-level French for two years and often tutored students. She loved opera, and would tune in to the Met radio broadcasts on Saturdays, listening with eyes closed and tears streaming down her cheeks. Best of all, she loved re-arranging furniture with her dearest friend/ally/co-conspirator, Susan Dibrell.
She was adventurous and traveled widely: in her 80s she took a helicopter ride to hike on a glacier in New Zealand. In 2000, she took her daughter on the Concorde to Paris. She went to Antarctica. She sailed down the Amazon, saw the Gallopagus Islands, went whale watching off Baja, traveled through Europe, and India.
Though she was an introvert, she never wanted to miss out on the action. Underneath the tweed, cashmere and pearls lurked a playfulness and wonderful sense of humor, probably inherited from her father. He taught her some fairly purple limericks. On the proper side, she was nurturing, supportive, loyal, endearing and flexible.
She is survived by her children, four adored grandchildren (Carter Williams Norman, Braxton Williams, Peter Boyd and Alexander Boyd), their spouses, and eight great-grandchildren. Her family is extremely grateful to her caregivers of the past four years from The Williamsburg Landing, where she lived for the past thirteen years, and her caregivers from Home Care Assistance.
A memorial service will be held at Westover Episcopal Church, Charles City, VA, at some point in the future, followed by interment of her ashes next to her husband in Brookneal, VA.