Cover photo for Katie R. Williams's Obituary
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Katie R. Williams

October 20, 1951 — February 15, 2022

Dr. Katie Rachel Williams of Hartland, Wisconsin passed away peacefully on February 15, 2022, aged 70, from a severe stroke. Surrounded by her husband of 50 years, John Jay Williams, and all four of her children Rachel Williams (Christopher Nelson) of Minnetonka, Minnesota, Anne Williams (Lucas Eckels) of Newark, California, Katherine (Ben) Williams Booth of Sandy Springs, Georgia, and John Andrew Williams (Kaitie Adams) of Savoy, Illinois. Born in Tacoma, Washington, she was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Rachel Bradley, whom she cared for for many years. She leaves behind 6, soon to be 7, well-loved grandchildren.

She is remembered as a keeper of family traditions carried on from her mother and aunt including monthly letters to extended family and custom crafted gingerbread to mark special occasions, along with spritz cookies and carrot pudding at holidays. Any of her kids will gladly share the recipe. Birthdays were celebrated with home-made sculpted cakes honoring a theme or interest of the year, such as a steak (with bone) for a hungry teenager and a Starship Enterprise for a science fiction fan. She enjoyed documenting and sharing her family’s history, connecting with her grandparents’ medical work in China.

Katie shared her love of learning and science throughout her life. After studying microbiology at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, she earned a PhD in Immunology from University of Michigan, followed by post doctoral research at the University of Iowa. While teaching college biology courses in Iowa and Wisconsin, she would correct assignments using a green pen in order to give students plenty of feedback without frightening them.

After supporting her children to launch into a wide variety of careers, she shifted to teaching K-12 science outreach programs through the Medical College of Wisconsin and her own non-profit Science Quest. She enjoyed leading hands-on advanced science workshops with children and training elementary teachers in bringing science to their classrooms. These lessons were often tested with her children and grandchildren, such as dissecting cows’ eyes for Halloween!

Katie’s freetime was filled with service to others as president of her local AAUW chapter and volunteer work at the county Democratic Party campaign office in several recent campaigns. Previous work has included serving as president of the local school board and leading Girl Scouts. Her roles there included troop leader, service unit manager, cookie director, and day camp coordinator where her large quantities of caramel apple dip were an annual favorite.

At home, she was a lifelong learner, who enjoyed word puzzles, NPR, and PBS. She lovingly sewed projects for kids and grandkids, providing many of them with their first sewing lessons. She enjoyed the outdoors through gardening many flowers and frequent hiking, canoeing, and camping trips shared with family. She gave wonderful hugs and cried whenever it was time to say goodbye. As she told her mother, her children now repeat to her: “Out of all the mothers I’ve ever had, you were my favorite one.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Girl Scouts STEM programs or your local Girl Scout council in honor of her love of science education and outdoor experiences for girls.

Please join us for a Celebration of Life on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at Hawk's Inn - Delafield History Center 426 Wells St, Delafield, WI 53018. Come and celebrate anytime between 1:00PM and 5:00PM. Share your stories and memories of Katie. Snacks and refreshments will be provided including the legendary carrot pudding.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Katie R. Williams, please visit our flower store.

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Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 12, 2022

1:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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Hawk's Inn - Delafield History Center

426 Wells Street
Delafield, WI 53018

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