Velma “Jean” Griffis Williams entered this world on June 24, 1933, in a small rural area known as County Line, in Bowie County, Texas. She was the fourth child and only daughter of Elzy Joseph and Georgia Anderson Griffis. After a brief childhood in east Texas, the family made it to the Odessa/Midland area in 1947 due to Elzy’s employment with the Shell oil company.
Jean, as she preferred to be addressed, grew up as normal as a kid could in the waning years of the Great Depression. She went on to graduate from Odessa High School in 1950 and continued on to Odessa College where she earned her accounting degree.
While putting her degree to use in the Oil and Gas and Ranching industries, her soulmate, John Kemble Williams, was serving in Korea with her brothers, Neal and Channie. It wasn’t long after their return, when Jean and John were married on December 16, 1951. After a short period, John started his own business, John’s Machine and Manufacturing Company Inc., and Jean managed the books.
Young, and in love, Jean and John had two daughters, Deborah Jean “Dede” and Kimberley Suzan “Kim”. They enjoyed traveling around the country to different State and National Parks with their children. Jean became a Girl Scout troop leader and imparted her love and wisdom to other children besides her own. They also spent many years dancing with one another. George Strait was one of Jean’s favorites.
Despite the times, Jean and John created a loving home and a fulfilling and educational life for their children who have gone on to have families of their own. They continued to live and love one another up until John’s passing on September 8, 2017. Despite her painful loss, Jean fought to carry on for her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, as long as she could and was finally called home, at 90 years old, on November 9, 2023.
Jean is preceded in death by her parents, Elzy and Georgia; her husband, John; her three brothers, Earl Wayne, Alvin Neal and Eldon Newton “Channie”; her nephew, Alvin Neal Jr.; her step-grandson, Kenneth Lee Putnam; and her great grandson, Tristin Anthony Gray.
She is survived by her two daughters, Kim and Dede; her son-in-law, and Dede’s husband, Daniel Viscarde; her grandchildren, Justin and Chad Gray, Kris Putnam, J.R. Carey, and Kevin Putnam; her 2 step granddaughters, Venus Gray and Angel Rene Cottrell; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren.