On July 21, 2019, Richard "Dick" Charles Williams, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by his loving family at the age of 85.
Dick was born in Minneapolis on Sept. 10, 1933, to Leslie and Helen Williams. His family relocated to Rochester shortly after The Depression. In high school, he became an avid swimmer and springboard diver. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College on a swim scholarship, in St. Peter, Minn. He was a championship swimmer, breaking most of the state records. After college, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, for two years.
Once discharged from the Army, he earned a teaching credential from Mankato State College. In 1960, he began his career teaching high school in Spring Valley, where he met his wife, Michele Skaar. They were married in August 1963. He sought a doctorate in education leadership at the University of Minnesota.
In 1966, he accepted an assistant professor of education position at UCLA and moved his wife from Minnesota to Malibu, Calif., where they raised their three children. In 1972, he expanded his passion for education by moving his young family to Norway for two years to research international educational systems. He returned to UCLA and was lauded for his outstanding mentorship of graduate students. He became the Director of Seeds University Education School (UES) from 1985 until he retired from UCLA in 1990.
In his retirement, he and his wife, Michele, moved to Seattle, Wash., where he continued to teach graduate students at the University of Washington's Danforth Program and Seattle University. He is most remembered by his fellow colleagues and former students for his insightful mentorship and genuine friendship.
In addition to his professional work, he bestowed on his family a love for the arts. He was quick to engage in conversations about music, history, politics and the ballet. His vast knowledge left many in awe. He will be widely remembered for his sense of humor, whether writing skits for church retreats or delighting young children with his favorite thumb removal trick.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Michele; children, Heather (Phil), Chris (Leslie), and Marne (Erik); and nine grandchildren.
His father, mother, and two brothers, David and Jim, preceded him in death.
A Celebration of Life is planned for 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at the Lodge at Beaver Lake, 25201 SE 24th St., Sammamish, WA 98075.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the UCLA Lab School (UES) to provide tuition assistance. To make a gift by check, please make your check payable to UCLA Foundation, and write on the memo line UCLA Lab School in honor of Dick Williams. Mail it to UCLA Lab School, Development Office, Box 951619, 330 Charles E. Young Drive N., Los Angeles, CA 90095. To make wire or online gifts, please call the Development Office at 310-325-1996.