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St Mark’s Own Joe Williams

PORTSMOUTH – Joseph “Joe” Maupin Williams, 83, of the 5800 block of Hedgerow Lane, entered Heaven peacefully on June 29, 2018, while surrounded by family and friends.

Joe was born in Portsmouth, VA on April 4, 1935 to parents, Eugene “Keeley Rock” Williams and Margaret (Raymond) Festa Gregory. He attended Wilson High School and it was then, at the age of 15, that he started a dance band called The Knights, thus beginning his lifelong love of playing music. Joe was a member of St. Mark’s Methodist Church in Portsmouth, where he had been a member for over 25 years.

Joe proudly served in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960. He was part of the 3rd Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas and a member of the Army band. While serving his country, PFC Joe Williams, became friends with another PFC by the name of Elvis Presley. He would often tell stories of the time he spent in Texas and Germany, recalling playing drums with Elvis or helping to hide him from adoring fans.

In 1962 Joe married Alida Lapham Kravitz and adopted her young son Leon as his own. He and Alida had a daughter, Lisa, and a son, named Brian.

Joe was devoted to his family and proud of his Italian Heritage. He was a long time member of The Italo-American Citizens Lodge in Portsmouth, of which his grandfather was a founding member. He loved to spend time with his many aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of his family and he loved being a big brother to his sister Denise. He had a huge heart and his home was always open to welcome in people who needed a “Dad”. He was also crazy about animals and they were a big part of his family too. He was an amateur photographer and used his photography to document his personal and family life.

Joe had many occupations in his life. In his early married years he worked for Sylvania Electric, delivering batteries, TV tubes and other supplies to local drugstores. He would tell his children that he was going to Newport nubes to sell some tubes. He was a general contractor for his company, ALJO Construction, for most of his working career. He even sold life insurance at one time.

Joe liked to stay busy and be involved with his community and loved working with various organizations to raise money for charitable causes. Much of his life though, revolved around his passion for playing music. He played drums from High School way into his 70’s. He was in quite a few bands during his lifetime and met many local musicians, singers and bandleaders some of whom were very well known Portsmouth natives, like singer Keeley Smith and her husband, singer Louis Prima and Johnny Carson’s bandleader and musician, Tommy Newsome. In the early 1980’s he became President of the American Federation of Music in Norfolk of which he was very proud of. Most recently he played with the Tidewater Community Concert Band and The Dixie 7.

Joe was very active in sports and the sporting community. He was instrumental in helping to form Churchland little league and coached baseball and softball for many years. He had trophies for bowling and diving and used his skill as a diver while being a lifeguard at Club Lake Ahoy. He loved golf and you could often find him putting around on various golf courses from Sleepy Hole and Bide-a-wee to courses in North Carolina and Myrtle Beach. He was a pool player, crossword puzzle solver and loved to play cards, never missing Thursday night poker with his friends.

He believed in giving to local athletes and as President of the Portsmouth Sports Club, was able to do so with scholarships and community involvement.

If you could use one word to describe Joe Williams, it would probably be “funny”. He was a comedian who loved to laugh and to make others laugh. He had a repertoire of funny phrases and jokes, sometimes off color, and he knew how to work his audience. He was a great father and family man. He was talented, giving and very kind. He will be greatly missed by those he loved.

Joe is predeceased by Alida Lapham Williams, his loving wife of 31 years and mother of his three children.

The surviving members of his family who are left to cherish his memory are his sons, Albert Leon Williams and his wife Ana and Brian Joseph Williams; his daughter, Lisa Williams all from Portsmouth, VA; his beautiful wife of 20 years, Melissa “June” Williams; stepson Joey (Maria) Schneider of Los Vegas, NV; stepdaughter, Rebecca Kraemer of Myrtle Beach, SC; his seven beloved grandchildren; by his sister, Denise (Glen) Gregory Cox of South Hill, VA; and all of his children’s friends who called him “Dad”.

A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Friday July 7, 2018 in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens by Rev. Kirk Culpepper. Sturtevant Funeral Home, Portsmouth Blvd chapel, is handling the arrangements.

Condolences may be made to the family online at SturtevantFuneralHome.com
If you have a story or anecdote regarding Joe, please add it to his tribute wall.
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