Era Williams: Surviving Spouse of the Month | May 2021
Emma “Era” Williams, born Emma Baker, was the youngest of eight children born on a ranch in Fort Sumner, NM, in 1923. Era grew up in New Mexico, attending grade school there before her family moved to McLean, TX. In McLean, she attended high school and eventually met her future husband, James “Jake” Williams. Jake was working with her brother-in-law as a bulldozer operator building a dam in Texas when they met. Although they dated off and on for two years, she stated with a laugh, “He had a hard time keeping me and catching me, but he finally got me though” They were married May 25, 1940, and soon after, they had a son. Eventually, the Williams moved to Oklahoma for work, but Texas was always home.
In December of 1941, Jake Williams was drafted by the United States Army. He was sent to California for basic training and then transferred across the country to Florida for more training. Era was fortunate enough to have friends with a car to take her and her young son across the country to visit her husband while he was training in California and Florida before he was sent overseas. Era had her sister, brother-in-law, and close friends to keep her busy while he was gone. When Era was asked if it was a struggle to care for a child while worrying about her husband fighting overseas in World War II, she disclosed, “I’ve always been pretty good about doing everything I needed to do.” As Era reminisced on the years that her husband was away, she confessed, “It seemed like he was gone a lot longer.”
Era was living in downtown Canyon, TX, when she received the surprise of a lifetime. You could hear the smile in her voice as she described the day her husband returned. “Somebody knocked on the door, and I went to the door, and he grabbed me! That was a shocker. I didn’t even know he was coming!” she excitedly declared, “I always liked surprises and still like surprises to this day!”
Jake and Era Williams were married for 67 years. They had one son and two daughters, sadly losing their son when he was eight years old after he had a tonsillectomy. Era still has one daughter that lives close. Era proclaimed, “I have always tried to live right, I never drank, never smoked, and I didn’t even cuss!” She continued, “It was a good life, no regrets.”
At 98 years old, Era is cared for by Caring Senior Service of Amarillo, TX, because of the Pension with Aid and Attendance benefit. Era and her caregiver, Debbie, love to talk over coffee and donuts. Era stated, “Everything she does is so nice.” Getting out for a walk on a sunny day with her caregiver is one of her favorite things to do. “I have a walker, but I’m still pretty active.” She went on to say with a laugh, “No dull moments!”
Ashlee Wortham from Caring Senior Service, Amarillo, TX, stated, “Partnering with VCC has allowed us to work with such amazing clients like “Era.” She has brought us such joy!”
In the end, Era just wanted to say thank you. She proclaimed, “I am so glad I was able to talk to all these nice people that come and help take care of me.”
Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Era Williams for her support and sacrifice to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes.