Verna Ann McWilliams


Graveside service for Verna Ann McWilliams, 83, of Alpharetta, Georgia formerly of Timpson, Texas will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, September 15, 2018 with Bro. William Dee Daniel officiating at Woodlawn Cemetery, Timpson, Texas. Ms. McWilliams passed away on September 7, 2018 in Roswell, Georgia. Born June 18, 1935, in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Verna Behnke was born and raised in Mishawaka, Indiana. She was the youngest of five children. At a very young age, Verna lost her father, Harry Behnke to cancer which left her and her siblings under the care of their beloved mother during a very difficult time. Facing this personal hardship, along with living through the Great Depression and World War II, Verna and her family marched through day by day making the best of what they were given. Verna’s mother taught them to face all challenges with complete faith in their Lord and Savior. She learned to seek Him first above all and to rely on His strength and provision.

Verna graduated from Mishawaka High School and continued her education at Butler University. The cooler norther temperature was too much for Verna so she decided to move to Arizona to live with one of her older brothers, Don. There she worked as a medical secretary. It was a divine plan that Verna come to Arizona. There she met the love of her life, Joseph McWilliams, Sr. The two were married and later moved back to Joseph’s home in Texas. Together they built a beautiful life that would bless them with two amazing children and take them around the world to places some only dream of seeing.

No matter where the family went, Verna used it as an opportunity to share the love and message of Christ’s saving grace. She made the world her mission field witnessing to homeless children on the streets in foreign countries, overcrowded orphanages and supporting missionary families across the globe. When Verna and her family settled back home in Houston, she continued her valiant work for Christ and guided her children to follow in her footsteps. They would volunteer together at their church food bank and would take advantage of any opportunity in the area to witness to others.

Verna was a living light that brought love, compassion, generosity and kindness to every single person she met. She impacted innumerable lives throughout her years as God’s servant on this earth and even in her battles with cancer and heart disease she continued to use those opportunities as a platform to proclaim God’s mercy and strength. She was the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman, and she truly left the world around her a better place than when she entered this life. While Verna may have gone on to meet her precious Savior, the evidence of her walk with Christ still remains on the many lives she touched.

She is survived by her son, Joseph B. McWilliams and wife Andrea; daughter, Jennifer McWilliams Burrus; brother, Everett Behnke; grandchildren, Austin, David, Shelby and Trevor Burrus, and John, Hannah, and Madison McWilliams.

Verna is preceded in death by her loving husband, Joseph B. McWilliams; parents, Harry Behnke and Florence Alice McAuthur Behnke; brothers, Roy Behnke, Don Behnke; and sister Emily.

To send condolences and sign the online guest book you may go to