Cover photo for Jesse Gray Williams's Obituary
Jesse Gray Williams Profile Photo
1927 Jesse 2023

Jesse Gray Williams

April 23, 1927 — May 3, 2023

St. George

Jesse Gray Williams 96, passed away peacefully at home in St George, Utah, surrounded by family, including the love of his life and wife of seventy-five years, Charlotte.
 
Jesse was born on April 23, 1927 in the wood framed family home in Axson, Georgia, the second child born to Jesse Green Williams and Bertie Cole Williams. His mother died when he was four years old. For the next year or so, Berniece 6, Jesse 4, Byron 2, and MaryAnn, an infant were cared for mostly by aunts and uncles who came to stay a while. After about a year, Jesse’s father married Irene Porter from Quitman, Georgia, and they were all sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, 1934. All four children and Irene’s mother traveled west with them and they became a family. They soon returned to Axson and the reality of family life. Two more little boys joined the family, Jackie and Ronald. These six siblings grew up together and always had a special bond of love and loyalty to one another.
 
Jesse worked hard and had lots of fun growing up on the farm. He loved little children and he was loved and admired by his siblings, who considered him a peacemaker in his family. He and Byron enjoyed hunting and shooting as soon as they were old enough. There were quail in the brush, and rabbits on the run. There was always a large garden with collards, cabbage, corn and tomatoes, red potatoes and sweet potatoes. Patches of watermelons grew everywhere, and Jesse and Byron knew just how to tell when they were ripe. They joyfully lifted the large bounty over their heads, then let them drop to split open, revealing juicy red hearts. After eating their fill, the long large melons became skis and they ran in place to their hearts’ delight.
 
Jesse tinkered with tractors and old cars or pickup trucks on the farm and at the garage in Axson. He had a gift for how things worked and he craved learning. Jesse graduated from high school at only 16, so his foundation in mathematics and physics were limited, but he knew how to work hard and he dreamed of doing something exciting in the world. That summer he took a bus to Brunswick, Georgia, to work in the ship yard. With World War II raging in Europe, Liberty Ships were being built and launched in that area. He was not only hired, but soon found himself in charge of a team of riveters. Around a hundred ships were completed and put to sea from Brunswick, Georgia, and Jesse Gray began to think more about the war effort and how he could contribute.
 
Jesse is a WWII Veteran, enlisting at Fort McPherson, GA May 1944. Three weeks residing in the the hull of a ship, then they docked at Nagasaki, Japan just 30 days following the second atomic bomb. They took a train through Nagasaki, stunned at the devastation they witnessed. Jesse had such compassion for the people left in the rumble, and especially the children. He spent about a year in Japan building infrastructure for the AirForce. His separation from the Army/Air Force was in Dec 1946, at Camp Beale, California.
 
The train that rumbled through Axson, Georgia, usually threw out a bag of mail but one day they slowed more than usual with a special delivery, Jesse Gray! His parents Irene and J. Green Williams were waiting with open arms and it was a tearful, joyous reunion!
 
Just three weeks after returning from Japan (Jesse had visited relatives in the West for several weeks) he would soon meet Charlotte Carver and fall head over heels in love. They met by accident at Charlotte’s grandfather’s funeral in Douglas, Georgia. She spoke to him, a stranger and was embarrassed as she introduced herself as Brother Carver’s grandfather, rather than his granddaughter. But there was a spark there! Charlotte wrote the first letter and the next time they met Jesse came to Atlanta to see a friend. They both wrote letters to one another for the next nine months and saw one another only off and on as they lived 250 miles apart. They began planning their marriage and a trip to the Idaho Falls Temple. They were married and sealed September 19, 1947. Following a short Honeymoon in Idaho, they retuned to Georgia the same way they arrived, on a Greyhound Bus!
 
That was only the beginning! After living in South Georgia for two years where Mark was born in Douglas, Georgia, they moved a small trailer into the yard in Atlanta, Georgia, where Charlotte’s Mother and Dad lived. Stephen was born soon after in Atlanta. Jesse worked at night and attended a technical education training school with Minneapolis Honeywell Co by day, paid for with the GI Bill benefits. He graduated first in his class and was hired immediately by them, moving to Birmingham, Alabama, where Angela, John Scott, and Benjamin David were born.
 
After eleven or twelve years working for Honeywell, Jesse decided to go into business with several of his brothers in the Mobile Home Industry. There was another move back to Atlanta, Georgia, where most of the children did their growing up. Jesse enjoyed several more career changes, always craving the chance to be in business for himself. Many of his dreams were realized through hard work and perseverance, though there were good years and some lean years too.
 
 Jesse Williams was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loved the association of Church members and was grateful for the opportunities it gave him to serve. The family moved many times and everywhere they landed the Church of Jesus Christ became their new family and foundation!
 
Jesse and Charlotte served in the Atlanta Temple beginning in 1983 and served together for many years. They made many lasting and lifelong friendships. Jesse retired when he and Charlotte were called to serve a mission in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Mission in 1990. They spent one year in the small town of Ava, Missouri, where Charlotte joined the Art Guild and they both spent time in town acting as Ambassadors for The Church of Jesus Christ. They were loving and open as they made friends out of strangers. They drove out in the country contacting and teaching estranged Church members. Jesse and Charlotte truly loved their time spent in Ava and gave great service to many folks in and out of the Church.
 
Jesse is described by those who know him as a Southern gentleman. His sense of humor was keen; he was gracious and honest with a generous spirit. He truly had Christlike love for all in his circle of influence. Jesse loved his family and friends in a quiet way. He had many talents and was a doer, not a talker. He quietly served others, helping many without calling attention to himself. He loved little children, especially his own children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as they came along. He simply relished bouncing them on his knee and kissing their chubby cheeks! Meekness, humility, grace, and gratitude were evident in his final years. He was slow to anger and kept his tongue. He understood that God was in charge and would prevail in his life. Jesse’s posterity includes five children, 17 grandchildren, and 27 great grandchildren.
 
Highlights of Jesse Gray’s life might include:
Attendance at the formation of the Jacksonville, Florida LDS Stake
The birth of each of his children and grandchildren
A lonely cruise around South America on a ship, on which he had designed heating and cooling systems (Charlotte had to stay home with small children)
Going into the Mobile Home business with his brothers
Taking Triple A stock public
Any trip to Axson, but especially
Draining the fish ponds at Axson, the Thanksgiving Day Fish Fry and Pot luck
Hunting trips with his brothers to NewFoundland and Wyoming for big game
Travel to Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to visit son Stephen and family
Attending Scott’s graduation from Law School at BYU
Attending graduation for Ben’s MBA and trips to Ann Arbor for the Art Fair
Getting his pilot’s license
Building an airplane and flying it himself, sharing the experience with son, Mark
Trips with Charlotte to Florida and camping with the Fly Club
Serving a mission with Charlotte and serving with her in the Atlanta Temple
Moving to Idaho to live, something he had often dreamed about
 
Jesse is survived by his wife, Charlotte, St George, Utah, sons and a daughter, Mark Williams, (Sheila), Atlanta, Georgia, Stephen Williams (Maritza), Dominican Republic, Angela Bergeson (Kim), St George, Utah, John Scott Williams (Kathy), Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and Benjamin David Williams (Susan), Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jesse is also survived by five siblings; Berniece Boyle, Rexburg, Idaho, Byron Williams, Idaho Falls, Idaho,  MaryAnn Clark, Provo, Utah, Jackie Williams, Destin, Florida, Ronald Williams, Parker, Colorado.
 
He was preceded in death by parents Bertie Cole Williams, Jesse Green Williams, Irene Porter Williams, two infant sisters, and Foster son, Ronnie Locklear.
 
A special debt of gratitude is given to Alliance Home Health; our thanks to Rome and Karen for their tender and loving care. And to Hollie Norton, Diane Savage, and Tammy Grann, love to our Miracle Caregivers!
 
Click this link to view additional details about Jesse's Services: https://my.gather.app/remember/jesse-g-williams
To send flowers to the family in memory of Jesse Gray Williams, please visit our flower store.

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