Verlie Maydene “Dene” Williams Bence, 86 of Opelika, passed away peacefully on Feb. 6, 2021 in Opelika, Alabama.
Dene was born in Randolph County, Alabama to Malburn Lee and Cora Ellis Caldwell Williams, on April 3, 1934. She graduated from Wadley High School in May 1952. She and H.S. Bence married October 17, 1954. Dene loved spending time with her family and friends, and keeping in touch with everyone through Facebook, email and frequent phone calls. She also loved working in the garden, cooking large meals to entertain family, remembering her “roots” through the study of genealogy, and in general keeping everyone in line; which earned her the family nickname of “Sarge”. Dene was a member of FUMC Opelika where she was a member of the Poe-Cumbie Sunday School Class, and Joy Fellowship. She also, for many years, volunteered in the church office.
Dene is preceded in death by her parents, Malburn and Cora Williams, her husband, H.S. Bence, her brothers and their spouses; Roy Williams (Verne), Coy Williams (Nell), Howard Williams (Kathleen), Perry Williams (Jane), Noble Williams (Ruth), and her sisters and their spouses; Jean Keye (Melvin) and Louise Nix (Cerrell) as well as a grandson, Jesse Graham Harrison.
She is survived by her daughters Linda (Bill) Dixon of Midland City, Alabama; Lania (Chris) Harrison and Laura (Marrell) Hartley of Opelika; grandchildren Matthew (Hannah) Dixon, Becca (Rob) Colosky, Abbie (Tyler) Davis, Judson (Presley) Harrison, Jordan Harrison, Benjamin “Ben” and Graham Hartley; great-grandchildren Gunnar and Sydney Grace Dixon; Jordan, Justin and William Colosky, and Blair Elise Davis.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to their family and friends for their support, to the staff and caregivers of The Harbor, numerous privately contracted sitters, and to the medical staff and caregivers of Chattahoochee Hospice Care.
In accordance with Dene’s wishes, no visitation will be held. A family graveside service was held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Mount Gilead Community Church, County Rd. 79, Wadley, Alabama, with Reverend Zenus Windsor officiating.