2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Friday, August 17, 2018
4900 Olive Avenue
Olivehurst, California, United States
Obituary of Leuwanna Gernell Williams
Lawanna “Laughing Water” Lawanna (Leuwanna) Gernell Pruitt Williams crossed over August 5, 2018 at her home surrounded by family. Lawanna was born in the small town of Baxter Springs, Kansas and moved to California with her family at the age of two. A great grandmother “Frona” (Mary Saphrona Harmon) and Great Aunt (Irene Keck Snyder) named her Lawanna Gernell, “Lawanna” being Cherokee for Laughing Water. However in grade school, a teacher told her she was spelling her name wrong and so she changed the spelling to “Leuwanna” . Many years later she obtained a copy of her birth certificate showing her birth name as “Lawanna”. After this discovery she decided to use both spellings. She will always be remembered for her loving heart, beautiful smile, and ready laugh. Family was always a big part of Lawanna’s life. Most of her married life she often had family gatherings. Not just for her family, but for others too who needed a place to meet. She opened her home to several Cherokee and non-Indian weddings, Indian ceremonies and drumming circles. After the birth of her oldest daughter Deborah, she started asking about her family history and was surprised by how many of her questions had no answers. Her pursuit of these answers developed into a passion for Genealogy and Native American history and culture. For the past 30 years, she was an Indian Research specialist, at the local Family History Center (FHC-LDS Library). Although she wasn’t a member, she also taught Indian Research classes at several other FHCs, and at the local Indian Ed Center. The many years of her family genealogy research culminated in co-authoring “Our Puzzling Ancestors”, a four volume set of books compiling genealogical information accumulated over decades. Lawanna was a member of the Cherokees of California serving as Treasurer, Elder, and past Council Chief of Yellowbird Council, She was an Honored Elder of the Marysville Indian Education Center, often gathered with Tsa la go (Cherokee) Thunder Drum, Women’s Drum Society, and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She enjoyed sewing and became a skilled seamstress. Making her youngest daughter’s hand beaded wedding dress, many Cherokee Tear dresses, Ribbon shirts, and decorative bags for hand drums. She did beautiful and intricate bead work and made copies of a loomed necklace that belonged to her great grandmother Nancy Jane Watson. She also worked with gourds and made herbal oils and salves to the delight of her friends and family. Lawanna is survived by her loving husband Chuck Williams of Olivehurst, CA who was always supportive of her research and traveled with her to cemeteries, funeral homes, court houses, and other places her research took her; Children Deborah Consulo, Pamela Consulo, Timothy (Lisa) Consulo, Charles Williams, and Melissa (Gary) Hatten; Grandchildren Jeremy Consulo, Stacey Consulo, Sarah Williams, Savanah (Mark) Elisan, Elijah Hatten, Samantha (Ricardo) Seger-Martinez, and Charles (Lottie) Hughbanks. Great-grandchildren Dailynn, Quinn, and Reese Consulo; Levi, Monty, & Cooper Hughbanks; Jordan, & Jesse Padilla, and Jonah Seger-Martinez; Siblings Jim (Jeannie) Pruitt, Bob (Shirin) Pruitt, Judy (Hardy) Story, Sharon (Marvin) Smittle, Lucy Moomaw, Rick (Pat) Pruitt, and Jackie (Gary) Helzer. And many many nieces, nephews, cousins, and second cousins. Preceded in death by her parents Edna & Ray Pruitt, brothers Lee Ray Pruitt and Ronald Gene Pruitt and sister Carolyn Sue Fletcher. Services will be held at Sierra View Memorial Park 4900 Olive Avenue, Olivehurst, CA 95961. Services include a viewing on Friday August 17, 2018 from 2pm - 5pm and then on Saturday August 18, 2018 10 am a memorial led by Ordained minister Rebecca Magdalena Escobedo-Steele of the Chicana/Chiricahua tribe musical tribute by Women’s Drum Society.