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Ramona Louise (Gammon) Williams
October 29, 1930 ~ February 22, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old
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Ramona Louise (Gammon) Williams departed this life on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at The Wexford House in Kingsport, Tennessee. She was predeceased by her husband, Austin, and sisters Jean and Lois, and is survived by four children: Everett Williams, Andrea Ragan, Carla Joinson, and Ransom Williams, and a sister, Ruth Mackaill.
Ramona was born on a farm in Thompsonville, Illinois, where she began life with a bang. When she was only two, she actually ate some poisonous mushrooms that her older sister, Lois, was only pretending to eat as they played at having a picnic. When Ramona’s lips turned blue, Lois ran in to tell their mother, who immediately administered lard to counteract the poison and coffee so Ramona wouldn’t go into a coma. Ramona’s remarkable constitution allowed her to survive another 90 years after that narrow escape.
Since there were few work opportunities in Thompsonville, Ramona and Lois boarded a Greyhound bus after high school and went to Chicago to work at the Chicago State Hospital. She met her future husband, Austin, there. They began a whirlwind romance that started when he broke off his engagement to a student nurse. Ten days later, the two married after Austin won $60 on a horse called “Can Locate” that paid for Ramona’s wedding ring. Ramona was a lovely woman who was voted May Queen in her senior year of high school; she also attended the Patricia Stevens Modeling Career School for a time. She and Austin were snappy dressers when they married, but suffered a fashion setback when a carload of their best clothes were stolen during a move.
Ramona had many interests and skills. While working at the hospital, she won a contest for peeling the longest continuous apple peel and received credit at the commissary as a prize. She played on a ball team and also enjoyed playing golf with friends. As she grew older, she developed an avid interest in collecting pretty dishware and antiques, hoping at some point to run a little shop to sell her inventory. She loved plants and birds, and had a reputation for having a green thumb. Ramona kept up with the times, and in her 70s bought her first computer and set it up herself.
Ramona and her family moved from Chicago to St. Louis, and then to West Frankfort, Illinois, where she lived until 2007. At that point she moved to Tennessee to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She continued to garden and birdwatch, and adopted several stray cats who became valuable members of the household. She was a fighter, and remained mobile and independent despite breaking both hips at different times. After a fall in 2021, Ramona lost her mobility and moved into a long-term care facility where she ended her life as she continued to watch birds at the feeders outside her window.
Ramona will be buried in a private ceremony in the Williams Cemetery in Ewing, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a hospice organization.