After a wonderful healthy life of daily exercise and a strong faith, Holly dealt with three spinal surgeries, cancer and Parkinson's Disease, all in the last 10 years. It devastated her in what was supposed to be her "Golden Years" and she passed away Sunday September 20. However, she never lost her love of her family, her friends and her faith. Those three pillars of support brought her through this period of her life marked with health issues. She may have wondered "why all this? And "why me?" but she never complained.
Life began for Holly on December 21, 1940 in Evanston and ended in Winnetka, Illinois on September 20, 2020. The Williams family included her late parents Dorothy and Griff Williams, the famous orchestra leader, and her sisters Wendy Sadler and Lynne Twist and brother Griff Williams.
Holly attended Evanston Township High School and then Pine Manor Junior College for a year and returned home to Evanston when her father passed away. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1962 with a degree in Education and Spanish. With her beauty and poise she had a successful career in modeling during this time and travelled to Brazil and Spain which inspired her Spanish language studies. She began teaching Spanish and Journalism in the Wilmette schools and married John W. Madigan in November, 1962 and honeymooned in Mexico.
Her children Mark Madigan (Stephanie), Griff Madigan and Melanie Madigan-Nordby (Erik) became her focus after three years of teaching. Her thoughtful support, advice and coaching were very important to the career of her husband of 57 years.
Holly had many interests but foreign affairs and foreign travel, sometimes with adventure involved, were her favorites. The more off beat countries intrigued her and she traveled to many far off and hard to get to places. Of course, she also loved the more comfortable locations that might have a shop or two and great food. She was always thinking of the next great trip to celebrate a milestone in the family.
Holly loved volunteering and spent very meaningful time helping others and planning philanthropic events. She was past president of the Rush University Medical Center Woman's Board, past Chairman of the Family Institute at Northwestern University, a Trustee of the Ravinia Festival, a member of the Smithsonian Institution National Board, a founding board member of Pathways.org
, and the women's boards at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Holly approached these activities with much grace and elegance and was admired for this by the staffs and colleagues she worked with. She showered her family with love and compassion and adored her seven grandchildren Will, Ward, Luke, Patrick and Isabelle Madigan and Olive and Cooper Nordby. And her many friends surrounded her with love and affection especially during the difficult last years of her life.
Special appreciation is given for her devoted friend Marcia, who visited her nearly every day and for the outstanding caregivers, Karen, Anne, Aiza and Czarina and all of the talented specialists that worked to make her life better in face of a daunting disease.
Holly's last words were "When are we going home?" Well, she is at home and at peace and comfort with the Lord. Because of COVID, a family only service will be held.
In her own thoughtful way, Holly would not ask for a monetary remembrance but she would hope that friends would do something kind for someone else in need. That would greatly please her.
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Published by Chicago Tribune from Sep. 25 to Sep. 27, 2020.