Betty Williams, a veteran Baltimore City Public Schools teacher and administrator and a literary scholar, died recently after a brief illness. She was 94.
Betty Williams, Retired Baltimore Educator
Betty Iglehart Williams, the daughter of Mary C. and Iglehart W. Williams, was born in New York City on Aug. 15, 1923. She was raised by her grandparents the Rev. William Carpenter and Mrs. Eliza Mary Carpenter in Northeast Baltimore, in the Waverly community. As a child, she grew up in their Barclay Street home and lived in that neighborhood almost half of her life. In later years, Williams purchased her first home on Barclay Street, down the street from her childhood home.
She was educated in Baltimore City schools—a member of the second graduating class of Dunbar High School in February 1941. Williams is a graduate of the 1944 class of Morgan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, and she received her master’s of education degree from Johns Hopkins University. Additional graduate studies were accomplished at Columbia University (Faculty of Philosophy) and Howard University (Department of English).
Williams’ career began in 1950 teaching English at Dunbar Evening School, and for 32 years she worked diligently to advance the quality of education in the Baltimore Public Schools System. Her assigned schools included Booker T. Washington, Lemmel Junior High, Northwestern High and Eastern High School for Girls. She held positions beginning with substitute teacher, secondary English teacher, English Department head, special assistant-unit school, assistant principal, principal, and her last assignment was assistant to the regional superintendent (1976-1982). She considered full retirement in 1982 but decided semi-retirement was a better option. Williams stayed active teaching courses at Morgan State University and later obtained a work assignment in the ROTC office. Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke appointed Williams to the Baltimore Commission on Aging.
Betty Williams shortly after celebrating her 93rd birthday.
For her 94th birthday, Williams traveled to the Dominican Republic with the Black Ski Club. Her travel companions surprised her with a birthday cake and all the young men lined up to dance with the beautiful lady. Her extensive travel experience includes: Canada, Puerto Rico and islands in the Caribbean, France, Rome, Haiti, Nova Scotia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Chile and China. She climbed the Great Wall, loved the Alaska trip to see the ceremonial start of the Iditarod and she was baptized in the Jordan River in the Middle East.
Williams valued her membership in The DuBois Circle, a women’s group founded in 1906 that prides itself on having notable speakers address the issues of the day. She held every office in this group and continued active membership until her death. The Johns Hopkins Club highlighted her 45-year membership in The Club Herald (July-August 2017).
Williams enjoyed her work with Our Daily Bread, a kitchen for the poor and homeless. She served meals for seven years and believed, “Anytime you give, it’s doing your Christian duty.”
Williams was a member of Waters AME Church. She also was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Williams had one brother, Wallace S. Williams who preceded her in death. Her godchildren Ms. Terri Parker (daughters Erin B. Rigsby and Morgan D. Rigsby), Dr. Marsha Brown and Mrs. H. Lynn Harris Jones will remember her dearly. She will also be missed by relatives, friends, colleagues and former students.
At her request, Williams will not have a memorial or funeral service.