Sarah Williams, age 87, of Chatham, died Monday, March 9, 2020 at the Trillium Hospice House in Marquette, under the loving care of her family, Lake Superior Hospice and the Trillium House staff.
Sarah was born in her family home in Chatham on October 12, 1932 to her parents Axel & Sophie Parkkila. Unfortunately, her father was killed in an auto accident when she was 3 years old leaving her mother and grandfather to raise her and her sister Bernice and brother Elmer on the family farm. It was a tough upbringing but definitely shaped the strong, independent, and fearless woman she became.
Sarah attended and graduated from Eben High School in 1950. Following graduation, she married William “Sonny” Williams and raised a family of six children. Her children were her main priority and she sacrificed and worked extremely hard to provide for them. She had a variety of jobs: housekeeping, church secretary, delivering meals on wheels, and was as an outreach worker for AMCAB for 25 years. During her years at AMCAB she was the voice for the poor in Alger County. With the grace of God and a dedicated youth group from Hastings Michigan they built 27 homes for those in need. She was Alger County’s Habitat for Humanity. She also developed a Toys for Kids Christmas program and chased many blue lights at K-Mart to accomplish this. Her love for the youth didn’t stop there as she opened the “infamous” roller-skating rink in Chatham. Fundraising for these projects included a Donkey Basketball game and countless other activities. Sarah also helped to build and open the Nifty Thrifty consignment store which helped many underserved families.
Her commitment and love for Christ was evident in all that she did from serving the poor and raising her family. She instilled in her children the importance of giving to others. Her motto was, “Giving feels good.” The gift of love and time were given to her grandchildren. She relished every moment she spent with them making memories and sharing her stories and wisdom. She had a unique bond with each of them and attended every event of theirs. One of the most memorable being Blade’s wedding where she danced to “Shout” with her grandkids surrounding her. Sarah has accomplished so much in her lifetime that there isn’t space for all of it. She was a very humble servant who accomplished so much with so little. She was a blessing from God and brought joy and comfort to all she touched.
Sarah is survived by her children, Gerald “Jerry” (Dawn) Williams of Skandia, Linda (Bob) Lancour of Chatham, Dennis Williams of Chatham, Pam Nebel of Munising, and Karen (Todd) Beckwith of Marquette, grandchildren Renee (Daren) Pederson, Tara Patt, Todd (Valerie) Lancour, Loni Burnett, Cameron, Keegan, and Chase Nebel, Blade (Holly) and Destiny Beckwith, great-grandchildren Derek Pederson, Gehrig Patt, Mollie, Maddie & Branson Lancour, and Collin Burnett. Sarah was preceded in death by her parents Axel and Sophie Parkkila, siblings Bernice Anderson and Elmer Parkkila, husband William Williams, daughter Cathy Williams, and daughter-in-law Theresa Williams.
Friends may call at the Sion Lutheran Church in Chatham on Saturday, March 14 beginning at 11am until funeral service at 12pm. The funeral service will be conducted by Pastor Paul Kelto with a luncheon following after the service. Spring interment will be at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Chatham. She will be escorted by grandchildren Todd Lancour, Cameron, Keegan and Chase Nebel, Blade Beckwith and Zach Boucher.
Memorials may be directed to the Warming Center (447 W. Washington Street) and/or the Trillium House (1144 Northland Drive) in Marquette.