Alcie Mae Faust Williams, 97, eldest child of eight born to William Robert Dearl Faust and Emma Elizabeth Lawrence Faust in Butler County Alabama on November 28, 1919, died Sunday, April 9, 2017, at Heritage Health in Chillicothe. Her children, all four of her grandchildren, and three of her four great grandchildren had been privileged to be in attendance at her bedside the week of her death. Her fourth great grandchild was attending high school at a boarding school in Massachusetts at the time of Alcie's final illness.
Alcie spent her girlhood watching over her younger siblings, rising at 3 a.m. to grind the coffee beans for her daddy's breakfast before he set out to walk to his job with the lumber company. She accepted Christ as her lord and savior age 13 at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Mount Olive Community, Butler County, Alabama, and she served him unwaveringly for 84 years, reading her Bible, praying, and living according to His precepts. After clerking in country stores as a girl, Alcie and her next younger sister Reace moved to Andalusia, AL, where they worked for the Alatex Shirt Company. It was there that she met and married four months later Minnesota native and Washington state resident army Staff Sergeant Elgee Jay "Bill" ("E.J." to his mother and siblings) Williams, stationed at Camp Rucker, AL, with the 81st Infantry "Fighting Wildcats" Division. They were married on December 5, 1942. Alcie and Bill moved to Dothan, AL, and from there Alcie followed Bill to Lebanon, Tennessee, when his outfit went on maneuvers there. Later she traveled by auto to Buckeye, AZ, where Bill underwent desert training. Prior to moving to TN, Alcie had never been out of Alabama.
When Bill shipped out for California, he sent for Alcie, who met him by train, and they shared a tourist cabin with another couple on the beach at Cayucas by the Sea. From there Bill was sent to the South Pacific for Ranger training in Hawaii, and Alcie proceeded to Grass Valley, California, where their first child, Pamelia Linda, was born a month later. Pammy would be 13 months old before her daddy would be released from the battles of Anguar and Pelilieu and return to meet his daughter.
After 2 years of recuperation from the battlefields, Bill was ready to move the little family back near Alcie's folks in Alabama, but housing was nearly impossible to find, so Bill was on his way back to the state of Washington to investigate prospects there. In his travels he happened to stop to visit Alcie's sister in Chillicothe, IL, and found his brother-in-law, another recent veteran, working for the Santa Fe Railroad.
Bill decided not to continue to Washington but to try railroad work, so he sent for Alcie and Pam. Arriving to a familiar housing shortage, the family briefly lived in half of a boxcar in the yard of their landlady. The refrigeration for the unit was a window box, operational only during the winter.
Soon an upstairs apartment became available, and after one more move, the couple built their own home on Hoyt Street in Chillicothe in 1948. They moved in on Alcie's 29th birthday. In 1950 their second daughter, Janet Lynn, was born. Bill borrowed a car without brakes to take the expectant mother to the hospital and stopped the vehicle by running it into the hospital wall.
Alcie was known for her hospitality, to her large family of brothers and sisters, to her church family at Rome Baptist Church, and to Bill's acquaintances on the railroad. Missionaries and other servants always had a bed at Alcie and Bill's house, and she fed visitors to the church as well as railroad workers stranded in Chillicothe on major holidays when restaurants were closed. As a result here were always strangers welcomed at holiday meals. In addition, for months she sheltered an out-of-state run-away teen and stayed in contact with the girl's family until she was coaxed to graduate from Chillicothe Township High School.
A talented seamstress, Alcie was known to make prom dresses and wool coats for her daughters, Hallowe'en costumes for her grandchildren. She loved to read, and she told about being scolded for neglecting her girlhood chore churning butter in a crockery churn when she became lost in a book and churned slower and slower...
Growing up in a household of ten, Alcie and her sisters specialized in their domestic skills. One was the kitchen helper, another assisted with the cleaning, and Alcie was responsible for the beds and childcare. As a result, Alcie was a better-than-average but indifferent cook, a proficient but not obsessive housekeeper, but a fabulous bed maker and tireless caregiver, named for a WWI nurse who saved her dad's life during the flu epidemic of that time. As she aged, she cared even less for cooking and simply could not be bothered to stand over a stove for any length of time. Her house filled up with mementoes that she was unwilling to discard, but her beds were made up in spotless white quilts with matching shams, the sheets were precisely tucked and folded, and each pillow case opened away from the center. The blankets were folded neatly and evenly over the coverlet, and blankets and coverlet were never carelessly allowed over the pillows.
Relentless as a caregiver, Alcie phoned each of her siblings every day as long as each of them lived until she entered a skilled nursing facility last year. At one point she was unable to reach a brother by phone. Instead of shrugging off this odd occurrence, she phoned his neighbor in Alabama and persuaded her to go to his house. When the neighbor knocked on his door, she heard Alcie's brother fall. As it turned out, he was delirious with pneumonia and would have perished had she not persisted in her efforts to look after him, even from 900 miles away. If her children stayed overnight at her house, Alcie checked on them as though they were infants, and in her final months in the nursing home, held a daughter's hands during an entire visit because "they feel cold."
Bill and Alcie loved to travel and had visited every state in the contiguous United States except one in New England. On a trip to visit grandchildren in New Hampshire, Alcie made a detour to that state, Rhode Island, to complete her goal of visiting every mainland state. She refused to go with Bill back to Hawaii, however, because she would not fly over an ocean.
Bill died in 1980, and Alcie moved back to Alabama to care for her parents. In 1993, at the age of 72, Alcie fulfilled a life-long dream and received her high school GED, in the same year that her granddaughter Carissa Angerhofer graduated from high school. Following the deaths of her parents in 1987, Alcie and her sister Doris traveled together between their homes in Chillicothe and their home state of Alabama every year until their late eighties and earned the name "the Rocket Sisters" for their speed in traversing the route. 2016 was the first year that neither sister made it to their family reunion in south Alabama.
After her children were in high school or beyond, Alcie worked for Ben Franklin and J.C. Penney in Chillicothe, ending her career at Foster Gallagher in Peoria. She was a member of Martha Washington Chapter of the Eastern Star, serving one term as Worthy Matron, and a charter member of Rome Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School for many years.
Although she described herself as shy, Alcie engaged with everyone she met. A wrong number would result in a prolonged conversation that would blossom into a budding friendship and a promise of a trip to Mexico if she would just come visit the border state call recipient she had reached by accident. These friendships were across racial, generational, and geographical lines, and more than a few nursing home employees have come to her daughters to tell them how much Alcie loved them and they her. She maintained all of her friendships from her girlhood, from WWII, and from her church as long as those friends lived and supplied a current address or phone number.
Given an opportunity to watch his obsessively beloved trains in Chillicothe, Alcie's visiting 4-yr-old great grandson Lucas announced, "I'd rather just stay with Nannie Williams." His younger sister, told of her death, was unable to finish eating, saying, "I'm sad." A sweet, quiet, Southern lady, Alcie was a remarkable magnet for people of all ages.
Funny, witty, creative, stoic, intelligent, resilient, generous, devoted, loyal, selfless, logical, guileless, strong, kind, determined, thoughtful, and possessed of a phenomenal memory, Alcie could take you back to anywhere she had been, no matter how long ago nor how far back in the country. She would hesitate at an intersection of dirt roads and say, "I THINK it was this way..," and lead you unerringly to wherever she was headed. She traveled by ox-drawn wagon and jet airplane, but her greatest loves were road trips and "rambling in the woods," whether picking berries or gathering walnuts or pecans or scup'nong.
Alcie was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, Tearance James Faust, Thurl Ray Faust, Dearl Carlos Faust, and Thomas Woodrow Faust, one sister, Ella Reace Faust Lynch, two sisters/in-law, Sarah Margaret Crose Faust, and Vannie Lee Cole Faust, two brothers-in-law, Robert C."Bob" Underwood and Thomas Edward "Tommy" Lynch, and her husband E.J. She is survived by two daughters, Pam (Donald Rudy) Angerhofer, of Western Springs, Illinois, and Jan Jones of Chillicothe, one sister, Doris Elizabeth Underwood of Chillicothe, and one brother, Gary Donald (Mary Frances "Nick" Nixon) Faust of Andalusia, Alabama. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Peter Hans (Melissa Greer Solomon) Angerhofer of Stratham, New Hampshire, Carissa Jill (Jeffrey Douglass) Means of Burr Ridge, Illinois, William Eugene "Will" Jones of Parachute, CO, and Charles Tyler "Ty" Jones of Silt, CO, and four great grandchildren, Jackson Donald "J.D." Angerhofer of U. Of Michigan and Stratham, N H, Maddox Gahr "Maddie" Angerhofer of Lawrence Academy, Groton, MA, and Stratham, NH, Lucas Peter Means, and Lindley Grace Means, both at home in Burr Ridge, IL. She is also survived by numerous beloved nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, great great nieces and nephews and dear cousins of various levels with whom she remained in contact.
The world was made a better place by Alcie's life.