Mary Jane Johnson Williams

Published 12:32 pm Monday, June 7, 2021

Mary Jane Johnson Williams, born January 29, 1932, in Walnut Grove, Miss., died peacefully on May 29 in Maitland, Fla. She was 89 years old.

Jane was the daughter of Lynn Boyd Johnson and Una May (Dawson) Johnson of Walnut Grove. She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Betty Lynn (Johnson) Hitt (James Daniel Hitt) of Walnut Grove, and her brother, John Lamar Johnson (Annie Rongaus) of West Palm Beach, Fla. Jane is survived by her brother, Michael Patterson Johnson (Lynn Moss), of Walnut Grove, two children: John Clark Williams, II (Cynthia Coakley) of Huntsville, Ala. and Elizabeth (Williams) Thorpe (Jerry Thorpe) of Oviedo, Fla., two grandchildren: Michael K. Thorpe (Angela Jezisek), Samuel B. Thorpe, Oxford, Miss. and one great-grandchild: Alexander Maximus Thorpe, Winter Springs, Fla.

Jane attended East Central Junior College, receiving the Associate of Arts degree and received a Registered Nurse diploma in 1955 from Touro Infirmary School of Nursing in New Orleans, Louisiana. After graduation, she married John Clark Williams. They lived in Jackson, Miss., while he interned at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He performed a residency, specializing in Internal Medicine, becoming a member of the American College of Physicians. Jane worked in the Recovery Room at UMC, and later as a nurse in the UMC Heart Station, where pioneering work was performed on cardiac catheterizations.

The family moved to Vicksburg where Clark practiced medicine. Jane was a full-time mother and wife until the children graduated from high school. In the early 1960s Jane earned her general aviation license and was an early member of the Mississippi Chapter of the 99 club. She was an avid tennis player, and was ranked state-wide in doubles for several years. She was active in Town and Country Garden Club, and was a life member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary. The family were long-time members of First Presbyterian Church of Vicksburg.

In the late 1970s, Jane returned to college and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with special distinction and a minor in Spanish. She traveled with her niece, Bishop McClendon Johnson Lennon, on a round-the-world trip, going to Australia, with stops at the Coral Sea from Cairns, toured Sidney, staying on the Rocks and visiting the opera house, Alice Springs, Perth, Singapore and London.

Following one year of law school at Mississippi College School of Law, Jane achieved certification as a Certified Genealogist. In this capacity, she worked with restricted papers in the Mississippi Territorial Papers at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. In the summer of 2000, Jane researched for the British Broadcasting Company’s production of a documentary on Brown v. the State of Mississippi. This landmark case was heard before the United States Supreme Court and established case law on the use of force to coerce a confession of a crime. The documentary was filmed in Mississippi. Another interesting project was researching information on prisoners at the State Penitentiary at Parchman for Greystone Communications Company of North Hollywood.

Jane was a member of the National Genealogical Society, Certified Genealogist (1995-2010), Member of the Mississippi Genealogical Society, FRAM (Family Research Association of Mississippi, Daughter of American Revolution (NSDAR) #666234, admitted Oct. 7, 1982, former member of Ashmead Chapter, NSDAR, Vicksburg. She proved service of Major Samuel Otterson, South Carolina Militia.