Cover photo for Princess Williams's Obituary
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1929 Princess 2024

Princess Williams

November 23, 1929 — May 6, 2024

Princess Stellings Williams, 94, of Chapel Hill, died peacefully at home Monday, May 6, attended by her three children. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Edward Sutherlin Williams, MD, in 2014.

Princess was born in Wilmington, NC, November 23, 1929, and grew up with her mother, Bereniece B. Stellings, and sister, Isabel S. Holmes, in the family home they shared with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. She attended New Hanover High School (Class of 1947), Stephens College, and UNC, where she received her degree in broadcasting in 1951. She belonged to Pi Beta Phi sorority. She met Ed Williams, the love of her life, in a classroom when she reached forward from her seat behind him to help him with his jacket. They were married July 19, 1952 and remained inseparable, remarkably happy companions until Ed's death.

Always invested in words and conversation, she hosted her own radio shows in high school and college. Until days before her death, she was still reading novels and completing her daily New York Times puzzles. Princess reigned unchallenged as the family maven of grammar and usage.

In her history of community services and volunteer roles, she had two special favorites: sitting at Wrightsville Beach in the dark with binoculars during WWII, plane spotting with her aunt; and teaching the neighborhood children of her adult friends to bake cookies and biscuits. She was a talented seamstress, creating Halloween costumes in the 60's that could still be worn by grandkids in the 2000's. She adored the legion of bridge club friends she collected wherever she lived. At 94, she was proud to be a yelling, arm-waving fan of Carolina basketball who scheduled her life around the season.

Prin and Ed were unusually compatible. As two teetotalers, they had an inordinate amount of fun. All through the years, they loved music and dancing, randomly kicking off their shoes at home to swing around the room. They spent many happy years enjoying Ed's retirement at their beach house in Pine Knoll Shores, making new friends and entertaining often. Later in life, they eagerly undertook the travel they had earlier postponed. Throughout their marriage, Prin and Ed shared their own slightly wicked brand of humor, which they understood to be integral to daily life. Underlying their readiness to laugh was a true appreciation of the richness and messiness of human experience; this was an enduring bond between them and a gift to their children.

Princess never stopped seeking to grow as a person, becoming more open minded with age. She remained a curious, extroverted, gracious, and warm individual. Raised to be proper, she clearly relished being a bit of a maverick. Her proudest achievement was the sum of accumulated experiences her family enjoyed; she once wrote that being a mother was ""THE greatest job"".

In her last days, Prin spoke often of her deep love for her relatives and friends. She faced the end of her life with serenity, grace, and even, typically, with humor.

She is survived by her children, Princess A. Williams, MD, of Pittsburgh, PA, Martha M. Williams, of Chapel Hill, who was her devoted caretaker during her final years, and Edward S. Williams III, of Lewes, DE; five grandchildren, Edward S. Williams IV of Greenville, SC, Thomas H. Williams of Richmond, VA, B. Bailey Yousem of Maui, HI, Emilie D. Yousem of Brooklyn, NY, and Jacob W. Yousem of Pittsburgh, PA. The family wishes to recognize the loving care given by Beverly Yarborough.

Funeral services will be held at 2 pm Monday, May 13, at Christ United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, followed by family visitation there. Graveside services will be conducted by Rev. Dr. Homer Morris at 11:30 am Tuesday, May 14, at Cherry Hill Cemetery in Greenville, NC, where she will be buried at Ed's side.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mary Ann Morris Animal Society at https://www.maryannmorrisanimalsociety.org
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Princess Williams, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, May 13, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Christ United Methodist Church

800 Market Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

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