A Love for All Things Great and Small.
Judy and Jim Williams share many loves in this life — their passion for hiking and the great outdoors; their faith and devotion to their church; and of course, their adoration for their three kids and ten grandchildren. But there’s one they hold dear that has stood the test of time — their love for one another. This past year, Judy and Jim celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary.
Their story began in northeast Georgia at Young Harris College where they met as students. For Judy, it was love at first sight: “Jimmy was just so darn cute!”
After dating for a couple of years, the two married and moved to Judy’s hometown of Valdosta, Georgia, where Jim, who’s originally from Fort Valley, Georgia, finished his degree in accounting at Valdosta State University. After he graduated, they packed their bags and moved to Atlanta for training for his new job at Georgia Power before eventually settling in Athens. He spent 36 years with the company before retiring in 2002.
Soon after their move to Athens, they began a family and purchased a home on a small lake in Arnoldsville, about 10 miles outside of Athens. The country life suited them well. “It was a great place to raise a family,” said Jim. “We did do a lot of hunting and fishing. We gardened. We had a couple of dogs, a lot of cats, and two horses.”
“We had those horses for about 19 years,” Judy recalled, “and Jim got into saddle making. He made a beautiful saddle and still has it.”
They also became avid mountain hikers with a group from Tuckston United Methodist Church, where they’ve been faithful members for the past 46 years. They’ve trekked all over the country to places like Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande in Texas, and Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.
Judy expounded on their love for hiking by adding, “Everything is beautiful. You get in the zone. It’s a whole different view of the world.”
When the kids, two girls and a boy, were grown and went off to college, Judy went to work as office manager and pastor’s secretary at Tuckston Methodist, positions she held for about 18 years before retiring in 2006. Both Jim and Judy remain very involved in their church. They’re Bible teachers, and Judy’s taught Sunday school for nearly 35 years. They chair major committees and have taken mission trips to Brazil, Egypt and Israel.
“We’ve done a lot of traveling since retiring,” Judy said, “including several cruises and a three-week trip to Scotland.”
In 2014, Judy published a book of inspirational short stories titled “I’ve a Story to Tell.” It includes many personal stories Judy has used in her Bible study teachings and Sunday school lessons as illustrations. She has also been an inspirational speaker in Athens and the surrounding areas as a result of her book and stories.
Today, after 42 years in the countryside, Jim and Judy have come to a point where, as she put it, “we’re not getting old, just a little older, and we needed to make a decision about our future.”
“We love our lake place,” Jim added, “but we’re starting to feel a little isolated.”
So after some friends told them about Presbyterian Village Athens, they took a look for themselves and liked what they saw. “We chose a beautiful cottage, which will give us our independence, yet still be around so many wonderful people and things to do,” Judy stated.
“We’re very active, and Presbyterian Village Athens offers so many wonderful opportunities to get involved,” Judy said. “We really look forward to the social life and all the activities, also the health care.”
Judy knows they’ll have plenty of chances to stay busy. She’s a bridge player and also walks 5 miles a day, so the walking trails caught her eye. She also likes that Jim can continue his gardening, work out in the fitness center, and how they can still get away on trips to Edisto Island, South Carolina, where they have a boat for fishing and tubing with family and friends.
While Presbyterian Village will bring so many new things to love in their lives, it will also bring some familiarity. They recently found out that their friends who lived in the same neighborhood all those years ago in Athens before they moved out to Arnoldsville will now be joining them at Presbyterian Village Athens.
“Imagine that!” Judy exclaimed. “We lived in the same neighborhood 42 years ago and now we’re going to be neighbors again.”