Sarah Williamson, 86, was recently called to her eternal heavenly home to be reunited with her late husband Bill.
Born and raised in Texas, Sarah somewhat reluctantly moved to the "frozen tundra" of Rochester in 1960 (and in the middle of a blizzard, of course) where Bill was called to minister. Over the years, she learned to enjoy the beauty of the state in all seasons, including skiing, canoeing, hiking and bird-watching among her many favorite activities. While she remained ever-proud of her Texas roots, there was no question that Sarah slowly but completely became a true Minnesotan at heart.
Sarah Elizabeth Pitschmann was born on Oct. 11, 1932, in Houston, Texas, to Carl and Marion (Hammond) Pitschmann. She died on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, at Shorewood Senior Campus in Rochester.
Sarah graduated cum laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas (in only three years!) where she met her soon-to-be husband Bill, whom she married in 1952. Following their graduation from Baylor, they moved to several locations in Texas as Bill attended seminary in Fort Worth and pastored churches in Thicket and Beaumont, Texas, before God called them to Rochester so that Bill could pastor Emmanuel Baptist Church and be a chaplain at Mayo Clinic Hospitals.
Despite some initial misgivings about the move, Sarah enthusiastically participated in helping Emmanuel to grow from a tiny group of six to a thriving church that has been a part of the Rochester community for 60 years. As part of the ministry of the church, Sarah founded an English as a Second Language program that reached out to those in the community who were non-English speakers and she remained active and involved in that ministry for over 40 years. During that time, Sarah also maintained her teacher's license and would often fill in as a substitute teacher in the Rochester school system.
Sarah was a supportive wife, a terrific homemaker and loving mother to her four children. She often ventured outside of her comfort zone to help the kids to explore their interests. When one child became interested in camping, the family tried the activity and through this Sarah discovered a love of travel that remained with her for the rest of her life. She would spend winters planning the next great camping trip and through these trips she helped her family to discover the beauty and wonder of God's creation all over America. This, in turn, led Sarah and Bill to become world travelers and they would often combine missions work with their vacations in exotic locales. As much as she enjoyed those trips, it remained true for all of her years that there was no place more special to her than northern Minnesota.
Survivors include her four children, Richard (Linda) Williamson of Oronoco, David Williamson of Rochester, Gail Williamson of Rochester, and Daniel (Ann) Williamson of Chanhassen, Minn. She was also a loving Nana to six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Sarah was preceded in death by her husband Bill, her parents, and her brother Carl.
Funeral services will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2911 18th Ave. NW, Rochester, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. Services will be officiated by Rev. Dr. Leo Endel, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, and Rev. Dr. Steve Melvin. Visitation will be on Friday, Aug. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home, and also one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Oakwood East Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to any of the following:
• Emmanuel Baptist Church (www.ebcrochester.org)
• Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention's Baptist Foundation (www.mwbc.org)
• Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org)
• Elder Network (www.Elder-Network.org)
• Seasons Hospice (www.seasonshospice.org)
Arrangements are being handled by Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Place NW Rochester; 289-3600; www.ranfranzandvinefh.com