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Lena Minnie (Orso) Williams

February 12, 1923 ~ January 21, 2018 (age 94)
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Lena Minnie Orso Williams was born on February 12, 1923 in Rosati, MO, to Giovanni "John" Orso & Maria "Mary" Trettenero Orso, who both immigrated from Italy, and passed away early on Sunday morning, January 21 at Rolla Manor Care Center, at the age of 94 years, 11 months and 9 days.

Lena grew up on her parents' farm in Rosati w/ her older brother, James John Orso and younger sister, Mary Easter Orso. She attended Friendship School and began caring for her grandmother and other elderly relatives at ages 10-13. She later shared a rented apartment on E. Eldon with other girls, where she could walk to work at Rice Stix garment factory. As a young adult, Lena worked on an assembly line at a radio parts factory in Illinois, during World War II.

She married Hershel Harold "Pete" Williams on September 7, 1943, and to their union four children were born:  James, Kenneth, Rose Mary and Ruth Ann. From 1951, she raised her four children alone by taking in ironing.

Lena worked in the business of housekeeping for Dr. James Anderson, Etta Dillon, Immaculate Conception Catholic church building and rectory until 1975; Rosemary & Jim Dillon and Forest City Motor Lodge motel until 1969, followed by 16 years until her retirement in 1986 with Page Sportswear (later California Mfg.) all in St. James, MO.  Lena loved to read her Bible and write letters to out-of-town family members. She enjoyed gardening, canning, bird-feeding, her beautiful roses and flower beds, quilt-making, cooking, baking and sharing her food, hosting and spending time with and praying for her family.

Lena accepted Christ as her personal Savior and Lord and was immersed into Christ in 1975 at the Church of God in St. James.

Mrs. Williams was preceded in death by her parents John and Mary Orso, her brother James John Orso (KIA 1944), her sister Mary Orso Mars and brother-in-law Dick Mars of Wisconsin, 3 infant siblings and her son, James P. Williams and her niece-in-law, Miki Mars.

She is survived by her children, son Kenneth H. Williams (Jerri) St. James, MO; two daughters, Rose Mary Spencer (Lonnie) of Rolla and Ruth Ann Ness (Larry) of Cook Station, MO, and daughter-in-law Karen Williams.  

Seven beloved grandchildren:  Michael Williams (Lorna), Kimberling City, MO; Dawn M. Williams Kennedy of Elizabethtown, KY; Jeffrey Spencer of Rolla, MO; John D. Williams (Kymberly) of Colorado Springs, CO; Christina Spencer Cresswell, Rolla, MO; Bryan Ness, San Diego, CA; and Andy Ness (Erin), O'Fallon, MO.

Twelve beloved great-grandchildren:  Corbin Williams; Grace Kennedy, Malachi Kennedy, Rachel Kennedy and Josiah Kennedy; Audrey Spencer;  Levi, Zane and Aria Williams; Dylan Siehr; and Tucker and Zachary Ness;  One niece Sandy MacLaughlin (John) and nephew Kevin Mars of Rochester, Minnesota, and numerous Italian cousins and relatives and many friends.

Lena was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and devoted servant of her Lord, and will be dearly missed by all her family and everyone who knew and loved her. 

Visitation for Lena Williams will be on Friday, January 26, 2018 from 6 – 8 PM at the Jones Funeral Home in St. James, Mo.

Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 2 P.M. at the Jones Funeral Home in St. James, Mo. with Dan Phillips officiating Songs will be Amazing Grace, Precious Memories, and How Great Thou Art will be Sung by Alan Wyan with Marge Lynch at the organ. Burial will be in the St. James Cemetery in St. James, Mo.

Memorials may be made to the Central Community Church of God in Rolla, Mo.

Arrangements are under the direction of Jones Funeral Home in St. James.


Donations may be made to:

Central Community Church of God
400 North Olive, Rolla MO 65401
Tel: 1-573-364-1025
Web: http://cccogrolla.com


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