Jackie Sue (Baker) Williams, one of two daughters of Carl and Janet Lee (Storant) Baker, was born February 8, 1958, at Falls City, Nebraska. Jackie grew up in rural southeast Nebraska, she was baptized, attended Sunday School, and sang in the choir at the Nemaha Christian Church. Jackie attended school in Stella, graduating with the class of 1976 from Southeast Consolidated Schools.
Jackie loved the outdoors. As a child that meant showing calves at the county fair, racing up a dirt road on a motorcycle, or riding her horse Prince Leo Star at full speed through the field. She and her sister Cindy argued their way through their preteen years before becoming inseparable as young women. Quiet yet ornery, Jackie was the instigator behind many of the exploits of the Baker girls.
After high school she earned her associates degree from Peru State College, but more importantly her Bobcat years introduced her to Keith “Sunshine” Williams from Belle Glade, Florida, who became the love of her life. They married in 1977 and built their life together on the Peru bottom where they were blessed with three children. Jackie and Keith loved following the kids’ school activities, but they also loved to kick back and “go fishing.” Two of Jackie’s closest friends were cousins Carol and Nancy. They renamed each other Opal, Mildred, and Fern and solved life’s problems through laughter.
Jackie was part of the Peru Area Ladies (PAL) group that supported community activities, and she was awarded “Woman of the Year” in 2000. She also received the PSC Barb Lewellen Award in 2002 for her outstanding work in service toward students of the college. She and Keith enjoyed spending time with friends and played many a game of pitch with competitive fire. In recent years, she enjoyed her secret sister get-togethers and her Bible study groups.
Jackie worked as a secretary at ACI then later at Peru State where she formed life-long friendships and her escapades continued. In recent years, Jackie was often mistaken for the Keeping Room owner because she ran the home décor store and served as head designer, a sense of style she inherited from her mother Janet. Working at the store alongside good friends brought Jackie much joy. But life’s sweetest joy came from being an active part of her grandchildren’s lives. Her motto was “what happens at granny’s, stays at granny’s” which literally meant “no” wasn’t part of her vocabulary.
During Covid, with the help of Cindy and Matt, Jackie renovated a home in Auburn, bringing the Florida beach to her Nebraska home. She accented it with seashells she had combed from the beaches during their many trips to visit Keith’s family.
Jackie was never judgmental, always giving others the benefit of the doubt. Her faith was ever present, but it deepened during Keith’s battle with pancreatic cancer. As her health failed, she placed her trust in God and felt at peace with whatever the future held. She died on June 14, 2022, at the University Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha following complications from her heart transplant. She was grateful to the donor’s family for this gift and encouraged others to become donors. Jackie will be missed by so many. While her earthly heart is gone, her loving heart lives on in the lives of those she touched.
Those left to mourn her passing include her sons Justin Williams (Jackie Jensen), Nathan (Ashley) Williams; daughter Jennifer Smithpeter; grandchildren Samantha Chaney, Brent and Ty Smithpeter, Madalyn, Laynie, and Keith Williams; sister Cindy (Matt) Kreifels; her beloved Florida family and friends; other relatives and many, many friends.
A memorial service will be held Monday, June 20, 2022, 10:30 a.m. at Auburn Christian Church. Visitation will be on Sunday at Hemmingsen Funeral Home in Auburn from noon to 6:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 4:00 to 6:00.
Memorials are suggested in lieu of flowers to establish a fund for Jackie’s grandchildren’s future education.
Jackie was very grateful to have received a donor heart. To register as an organ donor click on the following link: www.organdonor.gov/sign-up
View Jackie's service via the Auburn Christian Church website at: