Betty Williams

Elizabeth “Betty” Williams (nee Kraakevik), 77, of River Forest, died on Aug. 3, 2022. She was born on Aug. 9, 1944, in Portage, Wisconsin, and grew up in Decatur, Illinois. She attended William Woods College, the University of Iowa and Millikin University.

At Milliken, she met her future husband, Bob Williams, who said her beautiful blue eyes were the first thing he noticed. They wrote poems to each other as they courted, a tradition she continued throughout her life, writing both meaningful and funny poems for the birthdays and special occasions of her loved ones.

They married in 1968 and moved to the Chicago area, settling in Oak Park and giving birth to Amy. She worked for several different companies in the city, including Taubensee Steel and Wire Company for more than 36 years before retiring in 2011.

She loved spending the better part of her summers with the family on Cranberry Lake in Eagle River, Wisconsin. She loved baking cookies, especially at Christmas time, when she and her three granddaughters (who called her Nainy) made traditional Swedish pepparkakor together.

She never said no to an adventure with her family, loved playing piano, singing and listening to all kinds of music, seeking out finds at estate sales, refinishing furniture, watching musicals and gardening — and even worked as an extra on Chicago-based TV shows, including Chicago Fire.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, and her parents Archie and Edith Kraakevik. She is survived by her daughter, Amy Elisabeth (Williams) Johnson; her granddaughters, Catherine (22), Annabel (19) and Elizabeth (16) Johnson; her in-laws, Dave Williams, Larry and Mary Williams; friend Joan Hopkins; many nephews and nieces; many newly-discovered half-siblings; and her walking companion, Cubbie.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, at First Presbyterian Church of River Forest.

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