Gillaine “Jill” Williams


Gillaine “Jill” (Lainey) LaVae (Jensen) Williams, age 81, Worthington, passed away Friday, March 19, 2021, at Sanford Hospital, Sioux Falls, S.D., after a battle with cancer, heart issues and finally a stroke. She was born to Marvin and Alvina Jensen on Feb. 1, 1940, in Walnut Grove Township, Redwood County, Minnesota.

Jill grew up and attended school in Walnut Grove. She married Robert “Bob” (Tinker) Williams on Aug. 2, 1959.

Jill graduated from Mankato Business School in 1959 and worked for Doctors Valentine and Remsberg in Tracy before moving in 1962 to Worthington. During her employment at Worthington State Bank (1962-66), she became known as “Jill” because the bank thought “Gillaine” and “Lainey” were too long or unique for customers to easily remember. In 1966 she joined the Wheel Camping Sales team with Bob and partner Dale Molitor, serving as office manager and accountant. In 1972 Bob and Jill bought out Dale and owned Wheel Camping and Marine Center for 43 1/2 years, retiring in 2009. Jill loved interacting with customers and selling and servicing all kinds of campers, RVs, boats, snowmobiles and mobile homes. As generations of families shopped with them, she became known as “Grandma Jill.” She also maintained The Dance Academy books and was its office manager for many years.

Jill deeply enjoyed her family, friends and customers. Growing up, she loved being a farm girl and she hunted, fished and trapped with her brother and dad. She was an outstanding baton twirler & majorette. She sang, played piano, and was first chair saxophone. She caught Bob’s eye as she was performing in a water dancing/synchronized swimming show. She loved to perform. As an adult, one of her passions was sewing. She made many quilts for her kids, grandkids and great grandkids, wrapping them warmly in her love. Jill also made many of daughter Kay’s dance competition costumes and pageant outfits. Other favorite pastimes were fishing, boating, gardening, snowmobiling and waterskiing. Jill’s greatest joys were the activities and accomplishments of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and she attended everything she possibly could. She was known and loved by kids all over as she attended her grandchildren’s sports, music, dance, and school events, and all of The Dance Academy’s dancers and families knew and loved her, too. Jill was her family’s biggest cheerleader and encourager.

Jill is survived by children Shelley (Denny) Stofferan, Mitzi (Scott) Goheen, Scott (Tammy) Williams and Kay (Mark) Prunty; 10 grandchildren (Kirstin Stofferan, Nicholas Williams, Megan Maas, Kyle Doss, Maranda Hernandez, Brittni Stofferan, Alyssa Stofferan, Mitchel Goheen, Jacob Prunty and McKenna Prunty); nine great-grandchildren (Mason Koster, Jaxson Koster, Jaelyn Doss, Bryson Koster, Gabriel Hernandez, Adelynn Maas, Janessa Doss, Sophia Hernandez and Quinnley Maas); and numerous members of her extended family.

She was preceded in death by her husband Bob, parents Marvin and Alvina, and siblings GE Jensen and Gloria Olson, as well as by her sister-in-law Carol Jensen, brothers-in-law Larry Walterman and David West, and grandparents, aunts and uncles.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, March 26, at American Lutheran Church, Worthington, Minn. Visitation will precede the service (11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and dessert will follow. We will practice social distancing and wear masks. Burial is at the Worthington Memorial Gardens. Memorials are preferred to American Lutheran Church or Worthington Trojan Sports Booster Club.

Benson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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