Julia Ann May Williams, 87, of Little Rock, wife of James Alexander Williams, died April 12, 2017. She was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on September 23, 1929, to the late John Ewell and Mildred Bidell May.She graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1947 and attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, the University of Arkansas, and graduated from UALR with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In 1950, she married the late Frank Thomas McGehee of Pine Bluff and they had three children: Frank Thomas McGehee, M.D., of Fort Worth, Texas, Peter Gregory McGehee, deceased, and Julie McGehee Honeycutt of Little Rock. The family moved to Little Rock in 1962. Julia Ann began teaching when Julie entered the first grade. She went to Parkview High School when it opened, and spent 14 years there teaching English and Journalism. She was founding advisor to the Constitution and Spirit of ('68 through '78), Parkview's newspaper and yearbook. The publications both won top awards from the National Scholastic Press Association and Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The Parkview Department of Journalism was featured in Scholastic Journalism, a textbook, as the first high school department in the United States to produce its newspaper camera-ready for the printer. Julia Ann was named Arkansas Journalism Adviser of the Year by the Arkansas High School Press Association. She taught workshops at the University of Missouri, Columbia University, Ouachita Baptist University, and Southern Methodist University. Her former students are among her most cherished friends. In 1979, she began a 10-year career as Communications Director for the Little Rock School District. She founded the District newsletter "Focus, Little Rock School District," a monthly newsletter for parents, students, staff and other patrons of LRSD. Through her efforts and the Superintendent's, LRSD received a cable television channel when cable came to Arkansas. She won a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to equip and operate the channel, and she and her staff provided programming for it, rotating schools featured, District Board meetings, and other events. She believed that the most important facet of her public relations work was responding promptly to concerns of parents and the public, and routing their inquiries to the proper administrator, department, or school. She managed eight millage campaigns in her 10-year tenure. Since retiring in 1989, Julia Ann enjoyed freelance work, her service at Second Presbyterian Church as deacon, on the Pastoral Care Committee, and as a Stephen Minister. When Alexandra Ann and Christina Lee Honeycutt were born in 1996 to daughter Julie and her husband, Mike, she spent much time caring for the twins and their family, her favorite occupation. In 2001, she married James Alexander Williams, a childhood friend, and they lived in Dallas, Texas, where he was an attorney, and in Little Rock. This third phase of her life was a blessing for which she was ever grateful. In 2005, Julia Ann and Jim moved to Pine Bluff where she was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Julia Ann and Jim moved back to Little Rock to be closer to family and doctors. Julia Ann was a member of Second Presbyterian in Little Rock, and University Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, the Pine Bluff and Little Rock Junior Leagues, Pine Bluff's Junior Sesame Club, of which she was past-president, and Pi Beta Phi sorority. Julia Ann is survived by her husband, Jim Williams; son Dr. Frank McGehee and his wife, Pam, of Fort Worth, Texas; daughter, Julie Honeycutt and her husband, Mike, who was like a son to her, and their precious Alexandra and Christina; grandchildren, William Mitchell McGehee and his wife, Jessica, of Oakland, California, Jillian McGehee of Little Rock, Carlynn McGehee of Miami, Florida, Elizabeth McGehee of Fort Worth, Texas, and Alexandra and Christina. Two cousins, whom she considered the siblings she never had, Beverly Scull Yocum of El Dorado, and the Reverend Scott May of Atlanta, Georgia, survive her, as well as three stepdaughters, Victoria Williams of San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Diana Williams of Jonesboro, and Laura Kaufman of Dallas, Texas. In addition to her family, she leaves her devotion to her beloved former students, to her lifelong cherished friends from Pine Bluff with whom she never parted, the many friends she had in Little Rock, and the friends she enjoyed in Dallas, who welcomed her into their lives. A memorial service will be held at Second Presbyterian Church, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock, Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. Her cremated remains will rest in Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff. Her family would like to thank Dr. Thomas Sneed, CARTI, her nurses and caregivers at Presbyterian Village and Arkansas Hospice. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Presbyterian Village, Second Presbyterian Church, CARTI or the charity of your choice. Online condolences: ralphrobinsonandson.com.
Published April 13, 2017