Imogene Williams, age 96, was born on April 25, 1925, near Hodgenville, KY and went to be with the Lord on Monday, May 24, 2021, at Willows at Hamburg in Lexington.
The third of 8 children, she was a member of Union Christian Church and as a lifelong missionary received primary support and was associated with Broadway Christian Church in Lexington.
In 1936, she gave herself to Jesus and two years later at a Christian Service Camp, after a hearing a missionary message, committed her life to missionary service. From High School she attended Cincinnati Bible Seminary and graduated in 1946. She also received nurses training, but felt the Lord’s calling to go to China and in December of 1948 set sail on a Norwegian freighter from Vancouver, B.C., Canada to China. Ten months after her arrival in China, a communist country, missionaries were forced to leave, so she sailed to Thailand and spent the first part of her ministry there working among lepers and making many trips to the mountains to care for and serve the Miao (Hmong) tribespeople there.
Imogene moved to Pua, Nan in 1963 to run a hostel for Hmong tribal children. She served as the house-mother in that hostel for 28 years. In 1968 she adopted Tina who got her name because she was so tiny and frail as a baby. Over the years Imogene cared for many other Thai babies and helped establish the Hmong church in Paklang, Pua. Imogene retired from the mission field in 1990 and became an active member of Broadway Christian Church and the Lexington community. She was active in the Christian Student Fellowship at the University of Kentucky and was a host family to many international students at UK. She also was a longtime volunteer at UK Hospital.
Imogene was the Lord’s servant her entire life, praying for and ministering to people she came in contact with during her many years living at Waller Place and later at the Willows, both in Lexington. She also kept in close contact with missions and missionaries around the world, and especially her Hmong students and Pastor Banya (the first Thai student she led to Christ) and the Hmong church in Paklang, Pua. She made numerous trips back to Thailand the last about February 2008.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Virgil “J.V.” and Katherine “Kate” Dunn Williams; a sister, Juanita Sprowls and four brothers, Lyman, J.C., Lewis and Larry Williams.
Imogene is survived by her daughter, Tina (Houston) Carr of Dallas, TX; a sister, Jeanetta (Bob) Green of Springfield, IL; a brother, Winford (Wilma) Williams of Hodgenville; a sister-in-law, Linda Williams of Hodgenville and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 AM, Saturday, May 29, at Union Christian Church with Bros. Sid Lewis, Steve Campbell and Craig Yates officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 PM, Friday at Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home in Hodgenville and after 9 AM, Saturday at the church.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to A Christian Community Ministry, PO Box 9141, Vallejo, CA 94591, to support ongoing missionary work in Thailand.
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