Born on October 28, 1914, in Providence to Mabel Elizabeth (Aldrich) Williams and Edward Brown Williams, he was raised in Providence and summered on Prudence Island. He was predeceased by his three brothers: elder twins Edward Brown Williams Jr., of Orlando, Fla., and Clinton Nickerson Williams of Providence, and younger brother George Wightman Williams also of Providence. He was a triple lineal descendant of Rhode Island’s founder Roger Williams: 10th generation through first child Mary, 10th generation through second child Freeborn (daughter), and 10th generation through sixth child Joseph, from whom the Williams name descended.
He graduated from Classical High School in 1931, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1935 in physical chemistry, after commencing his studies there at age 16. He also attended Brown University where his PhD work was permanently suspended (all but dissertation) by World War II. During WWII, he was at MIT working for the U.S. government war effort, and after the war was at Monsanto Chemical Company retiring in the early 1950s to live in Bristol where he was self-employed as a private investment manager. Until recently, he also enjoyed many winter seasons in Naples, Fla., commencing in the 1950s, with the last few years at home in Bristol.
Mr. Williams was a generous and caring member of the community, frequently involved in local or state issues as a voluntary activist at meetings which helped to shape both his immediate environs and this state. He was a champion of Rhode Island land conservation, ensuring pristine wildlife habitat preservation and open space wherever possible.
He served on local and statewide boards including the Audubon Society of Rhode Island (treasurer), and Heritage Foundation/Trust of RI, now known as Preserve Rhode Island; and had been a member and supporter of many other organizations: Blithewold, Inc., Bristol Art Museum, Bristol Historical Society, Bristol State House Foundation, Bristol Yacht Club, Coggeshall Farm Museum, Friends of Linden Place, Friends of Rogers Free Library, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Mount Hope Farm, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church – Bristol, Save Bristol Harbor, Prudence Conservancy, Prudence Land Company, Newport Art Museum, Preservation Society of Newport County, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, New England Wireless and Steam Museum, Rhode Island Historical Society, Roger Williams Family Association, Save the Bay, The Nature Conservancy – RI branch, Turks Head Club; and in Florida, Audubon of Florida/Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church – Naples Fla.
Mr. Williams had a wide range of pursuits and interests spanning everything from being in, on, or around the water – birding and beachcombing among his favorites, to visiting museums, appreciating architecture and history, and owning a series of dogs throughout his life.
He leaves his wife of 61 years, Janice (Carr) Williams of Bristol; two daughters, Holly Williams of Bristol and New York City, and Shawen Williams with her husband Andrew C. T. MacKeith and two grandchildren Hope D. MacKeith and Arthur K. MacKeith, all of Bristol; three nephews, Stephen C. Williams with his wife Barbara S. Williams of Bristol and Orlando Fla., and two grandnieces and two great-grandnieces, Nicholas B. Williams and a grandnephew, and Brian C. Williams with Craig M. O’Neill, all of Orlando.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 399 Hope Street, Bristol. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Dudley A. Williams may be made to any of these non-profit organizations:
Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI), 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI 02917; Blithewold, Inc., 101 Ferry Road, Bristol RI 02809; Prudence Conservancy, P.O. Box 115, Prudence Island, RI 02872; RI Chapter American Parkinson Disease Association (RI-APDA), P. O. Box 41659, Providence RI 02940.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood Street, Bristol, RI 02809. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go to www.sansonefuneralhome.com