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Anne Marie Julia (Cassar) Williston, 75, passed away on March 16, 2022 in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was born on September 2, 1946 in Kenitra, Morocco to the late Edward and Paulette (Neble) Cassar, and was also preceded in death by her brother Robert Cassar. She is survived by her daughters Nathalie Anne Coulter (Nate) and Noelle Eileen Williston, her grandchildren, Devin Meeks, Aidan Massanelli, and Branden Meeks, her great granddaughter, Addelyn Pendergrast, her sisters Janine Sauter-Gilli and Dominique Cassar, and her brother Eric Cassar.
Anne Marie grew up in Morocco, attending French schools and eventually marrying Leland Howard Williston while he was a Navy man stationed there. After living through several years of cold weather in Parma, Ohio, they moved to the tropical climate of Clearwater, Florida, where she lived for over 50 years. Anne Marie loved the ocean and enjoyed scuba diving and spearfishing.
Following her divorce in 1983, Anne Marie earned a degree in interior design. She loved working as a designer, but after deciding that she needed a more stable income, she earned a second degree in medical technology and worked at a blood bank for several years. In hopes of getting an even better job, she taught herself to type and ended her career as a software analyst for a blood bank. Over the years, she traveled periodically to Paris and also to Bandol, France, where she visited her French relatives.
Anne Marie had a giving heart. Her favorite charity was the Christmas Angel Tree, and she shopped every year to provide all of the gifts for the family she chose from the tree. Truth be told, she loved to shop all year round, particularly if it involved getting a great deal. She also loved art, gourmet cooking (taking special pride in her leg of lamb and French pizza), and enjoyed hosting elaborate meals. Anne Marie was a fan of Edith Piaf, a French singer, and enjoyed classical music. Even when her memory had failed her, she could still hum the entire melody of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
She treasured time spent with her close friends Ola, Jo, and Pat, and always loved catching up with her childhood friend, Alice. Towards the end of her life, Anne Marie made one of her greatest friends of all, Dawn Smith, who spent several years making her laugh, taking care of her every need, and treating her with such dignity and respect that she and her family thought of Dawn as an angel. Anne Marie’s family also extends special thanks to Tanya Julian and Helen Ireland for their help and support near the end of Anne Marie’s life.
The best advice Anne Marie ever gave her daughters was, “Be independent and never rely on a man.” Her legacy to them is the example she set as a truly independent woman.
Loved by many during her lifetime, Anne Marie is now at peace. A service of remembrance will take place later this year in Bandol, France.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org .
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