Lois Gayle Williams

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Lois Gayle Williams

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Lois Gayle Williams, former instructor of English at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, died on October 13 in San Francisco.

Born in 1938 in Ames Iowa, Lois Friesner grew up in Arizona. She put herself through music school at the University of California at Riverside, graduating in 1963. She received a Master's degree in English from Kansas State University in 1966.

Lois was one of the first faculty members at the newly-opened OSU campus in 1966. She was sought after as a stellar teacher of English. She was very active in campus life and affairs and was accompanist for the OSU-M chorus. She co-authored a book on music appreciation with Prof. Richard Wink titled Invitation to Listening published by Houghton-Mifflin Co. in 1972. Royalties from the book helped Lois finance her pursuit of a law degree from OSU in 1974. Lois clerked for a federal appeals court judge in Miami, and in 1975 became an appellate lawyer for the Department of Labor in Washington D.C. working for the firm of Howery, Simon, Arnold and White. She was a partner in the firm from 1988 to 1999 and received the D.C. Bar Association pro-bono lawyer of the year award in 1975. She argued before the Supreme Court on several occasions. While at the firm, Lois was senior counsel for litigation, helping the obtain rights for the disabled and homeless. Retiring in 2004, Lois joined the Peace Corps at age 65 where she served as youth development advisor for the African country of Lasotho.

Her second husband, lawyer Daniel Swillinger, died in 1995 after 19 years of marriage.

She is survived by a son Patrick Swillinger of San Francisco; four sisters, Kay Muther of Sacramento, Phyllis Newton of Arlington, Va., Doris Borchert of Philips, Wisconsin, and Jane Goddard of Prescott, Arizona; and a brother Wayne Friesner of Denton, Texas.

A celebration of her life was held November 2 at St. Columba's Episcopal Church D.C.

Donations may be made in Lois's name to the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, 1200 U St. NW Washington D.C. 2009.
Published in the News Journal on Nov. 6, 2013
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