Marjorie E. Williams of Milwaukee died peacefully on May 13th at the age of 101. Preceded in death by her husband Harry, parents Ruth and Harvey (Tommy) and sister Shirley, she is survived by son Dick (Venetia Bennion), daughter Mary Sladek (Don), son Bill (Anne Harrop) and grandchildren Becky (James), Sara (Hanz), Kathy (Jeremy), Jenny (Mark), Jess, Joe and Matt. She also leaves behind nieces, nephews and many friends.
Born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, Marge grew up in Niagara and Neenah, Wisconsin, where she enjoyed music, tennis, cycling, skating and swimming. After graduating from Neenah High School, she attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she met Harry and earned a degree in Economics. Following graduation, she worked for the Continental Bank in Chicago, living for a time at the Three Arts Club, a residence for women in engaged in music, painting and drama. Asked recently to recall which of the three arts (none of which she was known to practice) had qualified her for membership, she thought it must have been the art of deception. It could well have been the art of the pun, which she considered the highest form of humor, and often featured among the quips and humorous remarks for which she was renowned.
In 1946, Marge returned to Wisconsin to marry Harry. They lived in Madison while he completed his degree at UW, then moved to Milwaukee where their three children were born. As a homemaker raising three children, Marge was active in the Cub Scouts and Brownies, planting her favorite flowers and supplying her family with cinnamon buns, cookies and other baked treats.
As the children grew up, she took up part-time work and spent more time ‘antiquing’, eventually buying and selling antiques while furnishing the new home that she and Harry built in 1964, to plans that reflected her taste for colonial design. The new home and yard also gave greater scope to her gardening activities, including membership in the garden clubs tending the grounds of historic Lowell Damon House.
Antiques and collectibles were a lifelong interest, furnishing her house with an ever-growing display of antiques ranging from clothes pins and boot jacks to bedsteads and spinning wheels, along with many works by local artists and craftspeople. It was also the basis for many friendships. Much of her beloved collection has found its way to family, friends and fellow antique lovers.
She and Harry regularly attended concerts and plays, enjoyed socializing with their many friends and travelled in the US and Europe. An avid reader until her eyesight failed, she also enjoyed watching birds and sitting in the sun in her secret garden. She and Harry remained in their home until both were 99, and often cited their daily brandy Manhattan as the secret to longevity.
In her new life in assisted living, Marge became Margie and proved that it’s never too late to make friends and will be missed by carers and residents alike. Her family are grateful for the friendship and care she received from them all (and hope that they benefit from any advice she may have given them in return).
Marge will be especially missed by her grandchildren, for whom she had a special affection that she expressed through gentle interrogation, occasional advice and plenty of humor.
A memorial service will be planned for a later date.