Obituary Details

Anna Parker Williams

November 23, 1947 - April 13, 2020

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Anna Parker Williams, Raleigh, NC November 23, 1947-April 13, 2020

Anna Parker Williams died peacefully at home with her family on April 13, 2020 after a very recent and unexpected diagnosis of terminal cancer. Her mercifully short illness was a reflection of the life she lived: in her last two weeks she was surrounded by carefree grandchildren playing dress-up and showing her their beloved baseballs; she had two mystery novels going at once on the bedside table; Chopin was playing and so was Emmylou Harris.

Anna was a remarkable woman. She was raised in Seneca, South Carolina to loving parents, Marshall and Martha Parker. As a small businessman’s daughter, she learned compassion, strength, and work ethic. From her mother she learned unending thrift and industry.

Anna received a degree in Psychology at Columbia College in 1969. She was married in 1975 to Thomas Russell Williams of Atlanta, Georgia. They lived in Decatur, started a family, and raised three rambunctious children. For seven years Anna stayed at home to raise her children to be kind and independent. Her souffles were legendary and her chocolate chip cookies reigned supreme. When her children grew to school age, she returned to psychology.

In 1992 Anna was awarded a Ph.D in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Doing primary research and writing a thesis from a long folding table parked in the formal living room of the house, she was formative in the development of her children’s understanding of the value of education and work ethic. In her life, she labored anywhere that she felt called to help. She worked in both private practice and institutional settings. From re-integrating brain injured patients into the community and general counseling, to providing psychological services to incarcerated individuals. She often had empathy for people that no one had empathy for. Individual Psychotherapy became the focus of her later years and she was a devoted care giver to many throughout the Carolinas.
Anna was a kind and gentle soul who quietly lit up other people in a room. Everyone who knew her recalled her laughter and the support she provided to friends and family in times of need. She loved what she loved. She did not care what anyone thought about her joys or pursuits. In her later years she enjoyed new pursuits like world travel and knitting.

With each rising sun of her too short life, she woke to follow her heart. She will be missed every day by her daughter, Kathleen Nissman; her granddaughters, Irene and Vera Nissman of Raleigh, NC; her son and daughter-in-law, Burl and Jessica Williams; her grandchildren, Marshall, Emerson, and Thomas Williams of Greenville, SC; her son, Hinton Williams of Raleigh, NC; and her former husband Thomas Williams, of Raleigh, NC. She was preceded in death by her sister, Martha Barham Parker and survived by her sisters, Susan Parker DePass of Columbia, SC and Alice Parker Day of Gastonia, NC.

She was buried in Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood Cemetery in a dais of freshly cut flowers, with as many Iris as could be found locally. The graveside ceremony was limited to her immediate family. A memorial celebration of her life will be held in Columbia, SC at a later date. If you wish to celebrate her life by donating, please do so by contributing to your local food bank or the Martha Barham Parker Endowed Scholarship (Tri-County Technical College Foundation, Inc., PO Box 587, Pendleton, SC 29670).

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