(OPELIKA) Verlie Maydene "Dene" Williams Bence, 86, of Opelika passed away peacefully Feb. 6, 2021, in Opelika.

A family graveside service will be at 3 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, at Mount Gilead Community Church, Wadley, with the Rev. Zenus Windsor officiating.

Dene was born in Randolph County to Malburn Lee and Cora Ellis Caldwell Williams on April 3, 1934. She graduated from Wadley High School in 1952. She and H.S. Bence married Oct. 17, 1954. She 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."

She is survived by her daughters Linda Dixon (Bill) of Midland City and Lania Harrison (Chris) and Laura Hartley (Marrell), both of Opelika; grandchildren, Matthew Dixon, Becca Colosky, Abbie Davis, Judson Harrison, Jordan Harrison, Benjamin "Ben" and Graham Hartley; great-grandchildren, Gunnar and Sydney Grace Dixon, Jordan, Justin and William Colosky, and Blair Elise Davis. Dene is preceded in death by her parents; husband, H.S. Bence; brothers, Roy Williams (Verne), Coy Williams (Nell), Howard Williams (Kathleen), Perry Williams (Jane) and Noble Williams (Ruth); and sisters, Jean Keye (Melvin) and Louise Nix (Cerrell); as well as a grandson, Jesse Graham Harrison.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, Opelika.

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