Mary Margaret (Howe) Williams
1924 - 2020
Mary Margaret (Howe) Williams passed away peacefully at the age of 96 in the home of her daughter, Bridget Brophy and her wife, Suzanne Banning. She had contracted the COVID-19 virus in May of this year. Although she finally tested negative for the virus in the latter part of June, the lasting effects of the disease never left her body after valiantly fighting it for as long as humanly possible.
Mary was born in Waukon, Iowa in 1924 to Marguerite and Alfred Howe. She was named and baptized into the Catholic faith as Mary Margaret Howe. She grew up with her younger sister, Geraldine (Gerry), and youngest brother, Emmett. Her oldest brother, Donald, died in his first year of life. A baby sister died at birth. Her parents were farmers in Waukon and she grew up in a wonderful, rural life. She attended a one-room schoolhouse for grades one through eight. Mary lived through the Great Depression, which taught her the value of a dollar and working hard.
After graduating from St. Patrick’s High School in Waukon in 1942, Mary’s parents sent her and Gerry to Quebec City, Quebec for a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Geraldine had suffered from elephantiasis in her legs since infancy. As Mary later recounted, “It was a wonderful trip. Although it did not heal Gerry as long hoped for, it did give her a peaceful acceptance of her condition.” Shortly after returning to Waukon, Mary headed to Chicago to work in a B-29 factory as a “Rosie the Riveter”. The name was given to women who worked in war-time production factories all across the U.S. during WWII. She loved Chicago. With some evenings off from work, she danced to all of the famous big bands of that time including Lawrence Welk, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and many others. She worked at the B-29 factory until WWII’s end. The factory ceased production immediately with that joyous announcement.
It was in Chicago that she met her future husband, Daniel D. Williams. They married in late 1945 in Texas where he was stationed in the military. They eventually made their home in Louisville, KY where his side of the family resided. Their first son, Daniel, Jr. was born in December, 1946. Five more children followed over the years: Kathleen, Timothy, Maureen, Bridget, and Kevin. Mary was a beautiful, loving, and responsible mother. The three oldest children were on their own when the rest of the family moved to Maryland for one year with her husband’s work in 1971. One year later, the company moved the family to Littleton, CO in 1972. Mary lived in Littleton, Lakewood, and finally Denver before her passing. Her time in the “old neighborhood” in Columbine (Littleton, CO) was a source of good memories and long-lasting friendships. Mary loved parties and sitting on the “veranda” as she called the front porch of her home, enjoying libations in the summer with her neighbors.
After divorcing her husband in 1972, Mary went back to work to support the three youngest children. She always made sure there were meals prepared before she left for the night shift at her first job following the divorce. Mary made the most with little. She had learned her lessons well from the Great Depression. She ended her working career at 84 years old with over 20 years at Arapahoe County’s Motor Vehicle Department. Mary was very well-liked and respected by her colleagues, many who became friends for years.
Mary leaves behind her children: Daniel Williams, Jr. (Nancy); Kathleen Bunger (Jerry); Timothy Williams (Kathy); Maureen Ely (Tom); and Bridget Brophy (Suzanne Banning). Her youngest son, Kevin Williams, preceded her in death in 2012. Her brother, Emmett; sister, Geraldine; and sister-in-law, Betty Howe, also preceded her in leaving this earthly world. She is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and long-time friends.
We will sorely miss her warmth, humor, and caring spirit. She was a great mother and a good friend to many. We were fortunate to have her in our lives for so many years. May she rest in peace in Heaven.
There are not enough thanks for the great staff of New Century Hospice in Denver. They made her final journey one of comfort and dignity. Also, many thanks to Father Dirk Dunfee of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Denver. His spiritual guidance and weekly visits were a true blessing to Mary, Bridget, and Suzanne.
Due to COVID restrictions and infection rates, the family will be having private service. Mary would want everyone to be safe.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary’s memory to the following churches or organizations:
St. Mary’s Hanover ℅ Janis Schulte - 683 Hanover Drive Dorchester, IA 52140
St. Ignatius of Loyola - 2309 Gaylord Street Denver, CO 80205 www.loyoladenver.org
Dominican Home Health Agency - 2501 Gaylord Street Denver, CO 80205 www.dominicanhha.org
Alzheimer’s Association - 455 N. Sherman Street Denver, CO 80203 www.alz.org/co
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