Mildred Sykes Williams, 94, died on January 10 at her home in Franklin County’s Pine Ridge community, surrounded by family. She was born September 29, 1928, to Amelia and Arie Sykes in Nash County near Spring Hope.
Mildred was independent, graceful, decisive, and hard-working. A voracious reader, she enjoyed novels, religious literature, and current events. She took joy in quilting, gardening, cooking, and canning. An especially skilled angler, she always harvested her catch for eating. She had an optimistic and cheerful nature and was voted friendliest person in Spring Hope High School’s class of 1949.
Mildred married Charles Boice Williams of Pine Ridge on February 23, 1951, and they purchased a home and 18-acre farm. They both worked outside the home while they raised their family. Mildred retired with 30 years of service to North Carolina in a career that included Franklin County Cooperative Extension and management of Bunn Elementary’s lunchroom program. She was especially proud of her outreach work to county residents experiencing food insecurity.
Mildred cherished her faith and was an active member of Pine Ridge Baptist Church, where she served for years in roles including Sunday school teacher and deaconess. She was a wonderful role model and teacher, with many close friends in the church and the wider community.
In retirement, Mildred and Boice enjoyed farming produce for the table and for sale. They also routinely kept and cared for their grandchildren, who have fond memories of visits to “the farm” with Grandma and Granddaddy. Mildred took lifelong pride in keeping her home spotlessly clean and her farm manicured “like a golf course.” The family managed to coax her off the riding lawn mower at age 92 (well, mostly).
Mildred was predeceased by her husband, Boice, in 2006, after she cared for him through a long illness; her sister Peggy; and her brothers Vick, Wilton, and Arie Jr. Left to cherish her memory are sons Mike (Eileen), Robin (Debbie), Tommy (Denise); grandchildren Jon (Emily), Anne (John), Kelli (Justin), Matthew and Lance; and great-granddaughters Heather and Haley.
The family is grateful for the work of Transitions LifeCare and of caregivers Fatou and Pauline during the final few months of Mildred’s 70 years at her home. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Transitions LifeCare, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements entrusted to Strickland Funeral Home. A celebration of Mildred’s life will be planned for a later date.