Mary peacefully joined her 8 siblings and parents on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. She was born and raised near Reynoldsburg, Ohio. She graduated from Watkins Memorial High School in 1959 and received a Bachelor of Science in Education in June, 1963 from Ohio State University. One week later, following her high school sweetheart, Dean Williams’ graduation from Cornell University, they married and honeymooned in Los Angeles. There she taught at Kester Elementary and Delevan Drive Elementary until the birth of her first two children, Sean and Jill. Dean’s job as Project Manager moved them temporarily away from and back to their La Canada home 3 times. On the final move from Virginia Beach, they returned with their surprise baby boy Steven.
Throughout all three children’s school years and later during her grandchildren’s school years, Mary volunteered in activities to keep close to each child, and embraced roles in PTA, church in each locale, Scouts, school choirs as pianist, hostess for Japanese and other foreign students, the Women’s Club, Scholarship League, sports team mom, and wherever needed in grandchildren’s activities. She taught Parent Education at Glendale Community College and finally retired from teaching pre-kindergarten classes 29 years at the Center for Children in La Crescenta. Ask her what made her happy and she would say children. Ask her why she taught 4 year olds for so long, she would quote… “To love what you do and feel that it matters–how could anything be more fun?” based on Psalm 128:2: “When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy and it shall be well with you.” She took great interest in each child’s future and sought them out daily on Facebook to see how their lives had unfolded, and to encourage them in their endeavors.
Mary loved to travel with Dean all over the world. However, her favorite trips were always to see her children and grandchildren. She was a night owl and immersed herself into writing children’s books. A hobby, she called it. Trying to make a living from writing would interfere with the fun of expressing what was inside her, not what the media deemed important. Being around other writers, beating Dean or her kids in Scrabble, cheering for her favorite teams whether it be home town, Lakers or all the family colleges combined…she never felt she had enough years left to do all she wanted to accomplish.
Although a quiet believer, there was no doubt Mary held Jesus in her heart as her personal Savior. She accredited Him for her strength to accept family and friends’ passing with the assurance of an Eternal reunion. She wanted everyone to be happy for her final journey and everyone to prepare for their own journey so the next reunion will include them in the Eternal celebrations.
Mary is preceded in death by her father Arthur C. and mother Nellie B. Van Buren of Ohio, her five brothers Arnie, Lester, Russell, Richard, and Harvey, and her three sisters Dorothy, Freida, and AnnaBelle. Surviving her are husband Dean, children Sean, Jill (husband David), Steven (wife Melanie), and nine grandchildren.
Memorial gifts may be sent to Special Olympics, Door of Hope, or Ovation Services at La Canada Presbyterian Church. A memorial service will be held at La Canada Presbyterian Church at 3:00pm Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, and live-streamed at https://live.lacanadapc.org.