Elizabeth E. Williams, 71, of Brookings, died Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Brookview Manor, in Brookings. Memorial services will be held at 1:00pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookings. Visitation will be Tuesday from 11:00am until the time of the service. Rude’s Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
”Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” --E.M. Forster
Elizabeth Evenson Williams spent her life connecting the power of prose with her passion for life, whether it be teaching, writing, family, volunteer work, or travel. She also refused to live in fragments, instead fostering numerous friendships, some spanning over 60 years. She died Saturday, 3 March 2012, from Multiple System Atrophy at age 71.
Elizabeth Norma Evenson was born to Duane and Eleanor (Kelton) Evenson on 25 September 1940 in Sioux Falls, SD. She grew up in Brookings, graduating from Brookings High School in 1958. After earning her B.S. in journalism at SDSU in 1962, Liz earned her master’s in journalism at University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1964. From there, she moved to Aberdeen, where she taught for two years at Northern State College. She then returned to Brookings; here she married Louis Williams, a member of SDSU’s English Department, on 31 August 1968. Daughter Kate arrived in 1971.
Liz’s fondness for learning complimented her desire to teach. In 1983 she earned her master’s in speech at SDSU; a PhD in sociology, also at SDSU, followed in 1997. During her forty-year career, she taught journalism, speech, and sociology courses at SDSU, Northern State College (now University), Augustana, Lake Area Technical Institute (in Watertown), and Southwest State University (in Marshall, MN). Yet she never lost her fondness for writing. Liz spent much of the mid-80s to mid-90s writing columns for The Brookings Register and The SDSU Collegian. She later published two books based on these columns, Reflections of a Prairie Daugher (1989) and More Reflections of a Prairie Daughter (1993). She also published two biographies, one on Emil Loricks and one on W.R. Ronald. In the 1990s, she spent several years as a freelance feature writer for The Argus Leader. Her writing efforts earned her numerous accolades from the South Dakota Press Women.
Her volunteer activities included a nine-year post on the Brookings Public Library’s board. Her 50-year association with the South Dakota League of Women Voters included twelve years on the board (with a four-year term as president). She also served on the Art Museum’s guild. She was a third-generation member of the Brookings Women’s Club and belonged to several book clubs over the years. She was also a lifetime member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where she served as a lay Eucharistic Minister and various vestry posts, including Senior Warden.
In between these commitments, Liz found time to enjoy “the connections” she so cherished, whether it be spending the afternoon watching her grandchildren destroy the house, jetting off with a few dear friends to Chicago or DC to catch an art show, or enjoying a leisurely Friday dinner and glass of wine with her husband. Despite her firmly planted prairie roots, she was always an explorer. Pre-marriage travels included jaunts to Europe, the Philippines and Hong Kong. Later, she and Lou saw much of the U.S., as well as Greece, Jamaica, Ireland, and Paris. They never tired of London.
Liz is survived by her husband, Louis; her daughter, Kate Hogan; son-in-law Tim Hogan; five grandchildren, Olivia Hogan-Stark, Sophie Hogan, Meredith Hogan, Nickolas Hogan, Diego Hogan; and one cat, Helen.
The family requests no flowers, and will use any gifts received to support two causes so dear to Liz in her last years: BATA, the local bus who became her magic carpet, connecting her to the outside world; and funds to enlarge the selection of the lending library, the connection to the inner self—or just mindless fun-- at Brookview Manor.
Born: September 25, 1940
Place of Birth: Sioux Falls, SD
Death: March 3, 2012
Place of Death: Brookings, SD
This memorial provided by:
Rude's Funeral Home