12/25/2010 - Friend of college, Williams, loses battle to cancer
Martha Frances Whitehead Williams, 76, of Marion died peacefully at home with her family on Christmas Day after a courageous battle with cancer.
The daughter of the late Kathleen and Roy Whitehead, Mrs.Williams grew up near Webb in the Alabama Wiregrass area where her father grew peanuts. She met a Judson College recruiter in 1952 and considered coming to Judson as a music major.Instead she enrolled at the University of Alabama where she earned a B.S. and M.S. in education and met her future husband Dr. George Williams. Her husband noted that though she didn't attend Judson, she spent her life there.
Mrs. Williams served in several positions at Judson during her tenure from 1966 to 1998. She was a faculty member in the business department, superintended the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame and served as registrar.She became a "Judson girl" in 2009 when the Judson College Alumnae Association named her an honorary alumna.
Mrs. Williams was an active member of many professional and service organizations. Foremost was her membership in The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honorary society for key women educators. She served on the local, state and national levels in various capacities, culminating last August when she received the Beta State Achievement Award, the highest award at the state level recognizing distinguished service to the Society.
Known as a "Marion treasure," Mrs. Williams was a constant presence at concerts and plays in Marion, a habit she maintained since moving to the town in 1966 with her husband, a chemistry professor at Judson.
Dr. David Potts, Judson College president, acknowledged Williams' many years of support for fine arts at the college's annual Vespers Christmas concert on Dec. 4, and Col. Deborra Street of Marion Military Institute honored her at the performance of "A Christmas Carol" on Dec. 9.
Mrs. Williams recently celebrated 28 years of writing "Martha's Vineyard," the "Marion Times-Standard's" weekly column of community news. Many readers admit they turned to the "Vineyard" first to learn about marriages, births, club meetings, concerts and other events in the community and its churches.
She served as organist at Marion Presbyterian Church for 21 years and returned home to Marion United Methodist Church in 1999 as organist. She continued to play on Sunday mornings during her recent illness.
Mrs. Williams taught Sunday School at Marion United Methodist Church for many years, including the years when she played for Marion Presbyterian, and she served as secretary for the administrative council until last month.
She is survived by her husband of 55 years; a sister, Mary; daughters Susan and Mary and grandchildren Wells and Mary Elisa.
The funeral was held Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Ramsay-McCrummen Chapel on the campus of Judson College with Drs. Daniel Thornton and Larry Teasley and the Rev. Jim Waters officiating. Burial followed at the Marion Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorial contributions be made to Judson College, 302 Bibb Street, Marion.
*Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.