Obituary: Margaret Williams, administrative aide in the History Department, 59

Margaret Williams

Margaret Williams, administrative aide in the History Department in Arts & Sciences, died Saturday, December 15. She was 59.

Williams worked in the department for eighteen years. She was a pillar of the department’s staff, where she could always be counted on to provide a kind word and witty joke. Williams came to the university with a BA in anthropology and art history from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, but her passion for learning soon took her back into the classroom.  She cherished the opportunity to pursue coursework in University College, and at the time of her death she was completing a second bachelor’s degree in history from WashU.

In addition to her work with the university, Williams worked at the St. Louis Science Center and at the Chesterfield Police Department.

“All of us in the department are deeply saddened to lose Margaret,” said History Department chair Peter Kastor.  “Hers was the face that greeted us in the department, and she did so with warmth and good humor despite numerous physical challenges that made every day difficult.” 

Margaret’s longtime colleague Sarah O’Donnell described her as “more than a co-worker; she was a great friend. I miss her laugh, I miss her smile, I miss her huge hugs. But most of all I miss the energy and warmth that she brought to Busch Hall.” Stephen Scordias also recalls the warmth and joy that she brought to her work: “I do not remember a day where we didn’t share a laugh about something, and her kindness was always at the forefront of every interaction with everyone she met.”

She was fond of puzzles and loved a good game of scrabble. She was also a lover of animals, having rescued many dogs. She cherished her beloved Boston terriers, Artie and Earl.

Williams is survived by parents Glennon and Valerie Myers, children Jesse (Stephanie) Grelle, Lauren (James Athanasiou) Grelle, Emily (Tim) Petrillo, sister Rachel (Terry) Cronin, and grandchildren Stevie Petrillo and Zachary Petrillo.

Memorial donations may be made to the MS Society or Mid America Boston Terrier Rescue.