Elizabeth “Libby” Lingerfelt Williams, daughter of the late E.R. and Bertie Adams Lingerfelt and widow of the late Dr. Cratis D. Williams, died Sunday, April 28, 2019 at Life Care Center in Banner Elk, after a long illness.
She is survived by one daughter, Sophie Williams, of the home; and one son, David Cratis Williams and wife Meredith Mountford, of Boca Raton, Florida. She is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews and cousins. She is survived locally by two nephews, Jim Lester (and wife Phyllis) and Steve Modell (and wife Betty).
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a brother, John Lingerfelt; three sisters, Marybelle Jackson, Helen Allison, and Shirley Reichenbach; and five nephews, Eric Lingerfelt, Mike Benson, John Benson, Bill Lester, and George Barber. She was also preceded in death by a dear friend and first cousin, Harold Lingerfelt, who owned the Lingerfelt Pharmacy in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
Libby was born on August 22, 1927, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, where her father was the city manager. While city manager, her father opposed some members of the town government who thought the covered bridge in Elizabethton was unsafe and should be torn down. He thought the bridge was sound, and to prove it, he drove a bulldozer across the bridge, thus saving it for posterity. After his stint as city manager, her father was the State Supervisor of the Adult Education Project for the state of Tennessee. He also was very involved in the Good Government movement. Her mother taught in the public schools and taught piano privately.
Libby grew up near Athens, Tennessee, and attended East Tennessee State College, now East Tennessee State University. While in school, she learned to fly an airplane, though she never soloed or obtained a license. After graduating, and on her way to live with her sister in New York City, she visited her old roommate, who was then attending Appalachian State Teachers College, now Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. Her roommate wanted her to meet a teacher of hers, Cratis Williams.
In addition to being an English teacher, he directed the theater program, so they found him on the stage of the old administration building, building a set with his students, covered with sawdust and paint. Later, he attended summer school at New York University in New York City, where he courted and married Libby in the summer of 1949, and they moved back to Boone in the fall of 1950.
In addition to raising her children, Libby was active in the community and was instrumental in the founding of the Boone Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, the League of Women Voters, and the Great Decision discussion groups. She acted in the first season of Horn-in-the-West as a villager.
She obtained an MA in political science from ASU, and she worked as second-floor stacks supervisor at the old Belk Library at ASU from 1971 to 1988. She revived a college interest in tennis in the late 60s, and played for several years with various local friends, including Pat Light and David R Hodgin. She placed third in the first annual faculty-staff tennis tournament in 1979. She also played racquetball with Sheldon Hanft.
She loved going to the beach with her children and relatives, loved to read, and gave legendary dance parties. After retirement, she took up the saxophone and played in the community band.
The family will receive friends at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship at 381 E. King St. in Boone, with a Celebration of Life at 3 p.m. at the fellowship.
The family respectfully requests no flowers or food, and suggests memorials to the Boone Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, 381 E. King St., Boone, NC, 28607 or to the Watauga County Project on Aging at 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A, Boone, NC, 28607. Or to one of the four Cratis D. Williams Memorial Scholarships: in English, Theater, Appalachian Studies, or Music, at Advancement Services, ASU Box 32014, Boone, NC, 28608.
Online condolences may be sent to the Williams family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com.
Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.