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Serving Opelika, Auburn, and Lee County since 1988



Dr. Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Sturkie Prather Williams

December 2, 1929 ~ December 12, 2018 (age 89)

Dr. Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Sturkie Prather Williams, 89, died Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at Renaissance Senior Care in Orangevale, California.

Dr. Williams was born on December 2, 1929 in Opelika, AL to Dr. Dana G. and Mary Sturkie of Auburn, AL. She attended schools in Auburn and grad-uated from Lee County High School (now known as Auburn High School) in Auburn, AL on June 4, 1948, serving as class Secretary and Vice-President of the National Honor Society. She attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (later renamed Auburn University), graduating in December, 1951 with a BS in Food and Nutrition and a minor in Chemistry. Dr. Williams was a member of Delta Zeta social sorority and was elected to Mortar Board and Phi Kap-pa Phi, as well as numerous other leadership and scholastic societies. As a junior, she was awarded a Danforth Fellowship, spending two weeks in St. Louis as a guest of the Danforth Foundation and Ralston-Purina, followed by the American Youth Foundation Camp in Shelby, MI. She received her Master of Science in Nutrition from Alabama Polytechnic Institute in De-cember of 1955 and her Ph.D. in Nutrition from Iowa State University in February, 1963. During her undergraduate studies in 1952 and continuing through graduate school in 1957, Dr. Williams served in a variety of posi-tions at Auburn University, from Laboratory Technician to Instructor in the School of Home Economics, including teaching courses in basic foods, food preservation and nutrition. In 1957, she was awarded a General Foods Fellowship for doctoral studies at Iowa State University, followed by a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship for continuation of doc-toral studies through 1960. She was elected to Iota Sigma Pi (Chemistry) and Delta Sigma Epsilon (Research) Honorary Societies as well as Omi-cron Nu (later known as Kappa Omicron Nu; National Home Economics Honorary) where she held a variety of positions from Charter Member to Faculty Advisor. Dr. Williams became an Assistant Professor at Auburn University in September, 1960 and was an Associate Professor at Auburn from 1963 to 1967. From 1967 to 1985 she was Professor and Department Head of the Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Mary-land, College Park, Maryland. She continued to serve as Professor in the Department of Food and Nutrition until her retirement in 1995, upon which she was elected Professor Emerita by the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Dr. Williams received numerous awards during her distin-guished career, including being named by the Governor of Maryland as Member and first Chair of the Maryland Board of Dietetic Practice. She was a recipient of the Grantsmanship Scholarship Award to attend the Grants-manship Center Training Program at the American Home Economics Asso-ciation in Washington, DC in 1982. Dr. Williams was an Alumni of the Year in 1986 of the Auburn University School of Human Sciences. She was hon-ored by the Students, Faculty, Alumni and Friends of the School of Human Sciences at Auburn University for Distinguished Contributions to the Pro-fession and Mission of Human Sciences  at the 75th Anniversary Com-memoration in 1991 and was named one of Auburn’s Outstanding Women Graduates at the University’s Celebration of the Centennial of the Admis-sion of Women to Auburn University in 1992.

Dr. Williams was preceded in death by her husbands, Winston B. Prather and Edward T. Williams as well as her sister, Ann (Sturkie) Williams. Sur-vivors include her son Winston B. Prather Jr., daughter-in-law, Cindy Prather, two beloved granddaughters, Kaitlyn and Amanda Prather of Gran-ite Bay, CA  and two sisters, Peggy (Sturkie) Mason, Roanoke Rapids, NC and Dana (Sturkie) and Jim Hudson, Decatur, AL, as well as nieces Mary (Williams) Kindle (Jim) of Kalamazoo, MI and Dana (Williams) French (Bob) of Alpharetta, GA,  and nephews Jim Hudson (Laurel) of Decatur, AL and Lloyd Mason (Suzanne) of Emporia, VA, and many beloved great nieces and nephews.

Funeral Service will be Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Jeffcoat-Trant Chapel at 11:00 a.m. officiated by Dr. Jeff Redmond, Senior Pastor of Parkway Baptist Church, followed by interment at Memorial Park Cemetery in Auburn, AL. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory is directing.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Dr. Dana G. Sturkie Endowment in Agronomy and Soils, c/o the Auburn Uni-versity Foundation, 317 South College Street, Auburn, AL 36849.

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