Janice Carr Williams, 96, of Bristol, died peacefully at home on Saturday September 28, 2019.
Born on January 4, 1923, in Providence, the only child of Ethel (Tuttle) Carr and Arthur Homer Carr, and raised on Frenchtown Road in East Greenwich until moving to Bristol in 1932. Her husband of 61 years, Dudley Aldrich Williams, 97, predeceased her on September 21, 2012. She was a direct descendant of Robert Carr who settled in Rhode Island from London, England, in 1635. Robert purchased the island of Conanicut (Jamestown, RI) in 1657 with a group of partners from the Narragansett sachem Conanicus. He was also a shareholder of the Monmouth Patent in New Jersey in 1665, supporting the founding of that state.
She graduated from Mary C. Wheeler School, Providence, RI, in 1941, and attended Marot Junior College in Thompson, CT, which closed during World War II. During the war years, she willingly delivered milk for neighbors at Ferry Cliff Farm in Bristol to Providence’s East Side. Driving the milk truck down the steep slope of College Hill was a harrowing experience for a young woman of 20. She worked shifts at Carr Fulflex, her late father’s rubber thread factory in Bristol, and was a hostess for the U.S.O. at the Newport Navy Officer’s Club.
A competitive tennis player, equestrian, and sailor, she won many awards and trophies at tournaments, horse shows, and regattas. She loved swimming in Mt. Hope Bay at Fish Hawk Farm, her home of 84 years. One swim was unlike any other when the tide rose beyond the beach into a hayfield. She and her friends could not resist the rising surf and went swimming, unaware until days later it was the eye of the 1938 hurricane.
Mrs. Williams was a devoted daughter to her mother who was widowed in 1941, seeing to her wellbeing and traveling with her on trips abroad. Her first trip to Naples, FL, was with her parents in the winter season of 1938 when they stayed at the Keewaydin Club. She continued wintering in Naples with her husband at their residence on Alligator Lake, near the Gulf of Mexico until 2005.
Visits to Prudence Island, RI, were welcome occasions. In 1948, she was on the island at the invitation of a U.S.O. acquaintance. Her friend’s brother offered her a ride in a 1932 Ford 3-window coupe with a rumble seat. Little did she know the tour would entail a stop at the community’s dump and the driver would one day become her husband. Together with him she would champion Rhode Island land conservation ensuring wildlife habitat preservation on Prudence Island and Bristol’s environs.
She was an avid gardener, knowledgeable in methods and species. Mrs. Williams drew, painted, and was a prize winning watercolor artist. Thanks to her formative years in Wheeler School’s art studio, she was a lifelong student of plein air painting with the Newport Art Museum and the Naples Art Association. In Naples, she would annually host the plein air group at her mature, native growth property, affectionately called “the jungle”. She had a great rapport with animals, owning a horse and several dogs. Cats were constant companions, especially her attentive Siamese, Burmese, and Abyssinians.
Mrs. Williams persisted embracing her interests in her later years. Instead of birdwatching adventures, she attended Audubon’s Raptor Weekends. Participating in equestrian competitions transitioned to spectating Newport International Polo matches. Competing in tennis tournaments became following the progression of upcoming players from her box at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Sailing and racing her Herreshoff 12½ Fish Hawk became visiting the Volvo Ocean Race village in Newport in 2015 and 2018. Always athletic, she maintained a consistent walking schedule with her husband on beaches, and recently in Colt State Park with her accommodating assistants.
She leaves two daughters: Holly Williams of Bristol, RI, and New York City, and Shawen Williams with her husband Andrew C. T. MacKeith and two grandchildren, Hope D. MacKeith and Arthur K. MacKeith, all of Bristol, RI; and leaves two nephews: Stephen C. Williams with his wife Barbara S. Williams of Bristol, two grandnieces, and two great-grandnieces, and Nicholas B. Williams and a grandnephew, and was predeceased by her third nephew Brian C. Williams, who is survived by his husband Craig M. O’Neill, all of Orlando FL.
A memorial service will be held SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 at 2:00 P.M. in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 399 Hope Street, Bristol. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Janice C. Williams may be made to either of these non-profit organizations: Audubon Society of Rhode Island, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI 02917; Blithewold, Inc., 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the SANSONE FUNERAL HOME, 192 Wood Street, Bristol, RI 02809. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go to: www.sansonefuneralhome.com.
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101 Ferry Road, Bristol RI 02809
Audubon Society of Rhode Island
12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield RI 02917