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May 20, 2015

Faces of Fauquier: Native still serving her community

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“I stayed around to make changes in the community,” Joan Williams says. “It’s better for everyone.”
My love for people is very, very strong. I just knew I could help somebody. I’ve always been a helper. I wanted to do something for the community. My family has always been a good, loving people and we are always trying to help people.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Education, community and people remain central to her being.

Joan Williams, a Warrenton Town Council member, has spent much of her life striving to improve other people’s circumstances.

“My love for people is very, very strong,” Mrs. Williams said.

Through her 30 years with the Fauquier Community Action Head Start preschool program, she worked with thousands of families.

Mrs. Williams stresses the importance of education, a value instilled by her parents at a young age.

Born fifth among 12 siblings, she grew up on Falmouth Street in Old Town Warrenton and has stuck around ever since.

Mrs. Williams attended the historic Rosenwald School in Warrenton in the days of segregation, graduating in 1950 at age 16.

Mrs. Williams has made history as the first and only African-American female on the town council, serving Ward 2 since 2008. After the death of her husband, the council appointed Mrs. Williams that year to fill the balance of his term. John Williams, who previously served on the Fauquier County School Board, chaired the town council’s Economic Development Committee.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams served in many community organizations and played significant roles in Fauquier County’s peaceful integration of restaurants, other businesses and public schools. The town council in February 2013 honored Mrs. Williams and the late Roland Tapscott for their Civil Rights contributions. (Click here to watch video.)

“I stayed around to make changes in the community,” she said. “When things change, we have to change with them.”

• Age
81

• Home
Warrenton

• Work
Ward 2 member of the Warrenton Town Council. Appointed in 2008 and elected in 2012. Her current term will end in 2016. She is the first and only African American female councilwoman.

Worked for Fauquier Community Action Head Start (a federally funded community based preschool program) for 30 years holding several positions as a teacher and director of the program. Retired in 2000.

• Why do you do the job?
Head Start: Children have to feel like they are always important and they learn by doing. Education is very important for my family. All of my children have degrees and my daughter has two master’s degrees.

My love for people is very, very strong. I just knew I could help somebody. I’ve always been a helper. I wanted to do something for the community. My family has always been a good, loving people and we are always trying to help people.

• Family
Husband, John Williams (deceased); children, Brian, Gregory and Lynette; several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

• Education
Attended Rosenwald School in Warrenton and graduated at age 16 in 1950.

Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1950-52. Aspired to be a doctor and took pre-medicine and liberal arts courses. Associate’s degree, Fisk University in Nashville, 1954.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Devoted member of First Baptist Church in Warrenton. Member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion. Served as president of the Ladies Auxiliary for Post 360 for several years. Helped with her children’s Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops over the years.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
All my life. I was born and raised here in the Town of Warrenton. I would walk to town almost every day. I grew up on (what once was) East Main Street, but now is Falmouth Street.

• Why do you live here?
Because there is no place like home. I stayed around to make changes in the community. It’s better for everyone.

• How do you describe this county?
There is no place like home. There is no place like Warrenton. It doesn’t look much different besides the names of some streets have changed.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Nothing, because there is such camaraderie between the county and the town.

• What do you do for fun?
Sew. My mother taught me how to crochet, sew, embroider and cook. I like to come to the Fauquier Senior Center at the Warrenton Community Center.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Right now, it’s the Fauquier Senior Center.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
It’s basically a rural community. It will grow. I remember when the bypass and Interstate 66 were built. When things change, we have to change with them.

• Favorite TV show?
“Jeopardy”

• Favorite movie?
“A Day for Thanks on Walton’s Mountain,” because it’s so human.

• Favorite book?
“Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell.

• Favorite vacation spot?
The Black Mountains of North Carolina.

• Favorite food?
Vichyssoise, a French, cold potato soup.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
“Know thine own self” from the Bible.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My mother and father because they taught us so many things. She was the best cook in Fauquier County. My father was so polite.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Share it with my own family and grandchildren.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton








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