Barbara (Bea) Wright Williams|
1925 ~ 2013
Writer of children's books and widow of a retired U of U professor, Barbara (Bea) Wright Williams died April 25, 2013, at age 88.
Born to Walter and Emily Jeremy Wright in Salt Lake City on January 1, 1925, she graduated from East High in 1942.
At the University of Utah, where she was a member of Chi Omega, she acted on stage and in a radio series. She also wrote for campus publications and served as editor of the yearbook her junior year. Graduating magna cum laude in June, 1946, Barbara joined both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.
The next month she married her high school sweetheart, J.D. Williams, and traveled with him to the East coast, where they spent the next 6 years. In Washington they both worked at the Library of Congress before moving to Massachusetts, where Barbara studied creative writing at Boston University while J.D. earned a Ph.D. at Harvard.
Returning to Salt Lake in 1952, where J.D. began teaching political science, Barbara was invited to teach in a U of U remedial English program that was just being developed. For the next dozen years she taught, completed a master's degree, helped raise 4 children, and launched her career as a writer. Best known for her 52 books for young people, she also published 3 plays and 2 college textbooks. She loved to plan birthday parties for her children, pull taffy with neighborhood youngsters, and surprise trick-or-treaters with books.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, husband and 4 siblings - - Olive Webb (LaMar); Virginia Robinson (Dr. Tom); Jeanne Gunn (Dick); and Evan Wright (Jean) - - and 1granddaughter. She is survived by her children: Kirk, Gil (Cindy), Taylor (Sheryl), and Kim D'Agostino (John). She also leaves 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Following cremation, Barbara will be remembered at a friends and family gathering on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 5:30-8:00 pm at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 South. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the J.D. Williams Scholarship Fund, U of U Development Office, 540 Arapeen Drive, Suite 250; Salt Lake City, Utah 84108-1238.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2013