Freda Britt Williams ~ F-Faculty 1968-1970 ~ 1972-1973 ~ 1984-2002
Departed February 1, 2017 ~ Complications from Heart Surgery
Freda Britt Williams passed on February 1, 2017. A celebration of her life will be held in Cambridge MA on the afternoon of Friday, June 30th. Please email Marilyn Holladay at mjsholladay at gmail dot com to RSVP and for event details. Also, if you are so moved (attendees or those who can’t make it) please send a photo with a story/caption to same email so we can include it in the slideshow. The celebration will allow us to gather and reflect, share memories, laugh and remember Freda in all her glory (She left a very detailed plan, not surprisingly). Hope to see you there. Kids welcome!
Freda was my hero. Using her tools of love and compassion, she mentored me and our friendship deepened as we both shared a love for ISB. Initially, I met Freda when she was asked to serve as the liaison between the school and the ISB Network after a long line of faculty members were tasked with the extra job of opening the lines of communication between the school and the alumni. For more than a year, Freda and I communicated via email, until she attended the Long Beach Reunion in 1998. For countless hours, we spoke as to how we could coexist and she left telling me she would make it her mission to get the school to recognize us as a partner, a “Sister Alumni Association for North America.” True to her words she convinced the Board of Directors at ISB to recognize us, and thusly, the foundation was laid for the ISBN to establish themselves as a 501-C-3 non-profit foundation. As the ISB Foundation, we established a scholarship fund and also partnered with the school in 2002 to celebrate its 50th anniversary and Tsunami relief in Kao Lak. The 50th anniversary was one of the greatest celebrations I have ever witnessed. After the celebration was over, Freda was hospitalized for exhaustion. She always gave 1000% to every endeavor.
I last spoke to Freda in late October when she called me one evening. I was in Rehoboth Beach helping David and Janice Elder remodel their upstairs porch in to an art studio. David, Janice and I were at dinner, but I saw the caller ID and excused myself. She was calling to see if I was all right. She had heard that the company I had been working for had closed its doors and she said she was worried about me and wanted to check on me. I knew something was up because she seldom called me; I usually called her. I told her all was well and we chatted for about 30 minutes. We talked about her life, her kids, my kids, her health, and then the Daytona reunion. I had tried so hard to get her to come but she just wasn’t able to travel. I wish I had gone to see her, and I am angry with myself that I did not make the trip. As I look back now, I can’t help but believe that she was calling to say goodbye. I will cherish her memory as long as I hold breath and I will always remember her kind and loving spirit. Till we meet again Mrs. Williams, I toast your life and will miss you always. Chaiyo! David A. Wilkerson
November 1, 1942 – February 1, 2017
Lovingly written by: Marilyn Holladay, ISB 1984 – 94
and Eleanor Jones, ISB 1983 – 1989
Freda’s life of adventure began after marrying Roger Williams, a US Army officer. It included a number of postings in the US and then during the Viet Nam Era they lived in Bangkok where she taught at the ISB satellite campus. After a number of postings back in the US, they returned to Bangkok again in
Freda was enthusiastically welcomed back into the ISB faculty, family and friends. She taught grade 6 as a long term substitute before moving to the High School as an English and Journalism teacher. Freda was a demanding, kind and supportive teacher getting her students to improve, especially their writing skills. She modeled excellent writing by contributing articles to Living in Thailand and other publications. Who can forget her article on getting their big American car caught in a narrow Bangkok Soi!
Freda knew that promoting the extracurricular side of education was just as important as the academic. When the opportunity came in 1990 to become Activities Director, Freda used her creative skills to improve and grow the program on the Sukhumvit Soi 15 campus. After the move to Samakee, the Activities Office grew dynamically! Freda did not “direct” activities – she was involved. From donning costumes for every dress-up day, to performing in the “Sister Act” and Dolly Parton for Faculty Follies, Freda never missed a chance to be part of the fun.
Freda was an ultimate Event Planner. Her magnetism inspired and attracted the support from faculty, students and community that was needed to plan and implement events from IASAS conventions to the spectacular ISB 50th anniversary celebration. Her work ethic was matched by the rest of her committee members to make ISB events memorable for visitors and the talk of the town!
After retiring from ISB in 2003, Freda and Roger, who became an ISB middle school teacher after his army career, returned to North Carolina. Freda’s life revolved around her husband, Roger, children Tracey Williams Lowenstein (Eric) and Dan Williams, her much adored grandsons Eben and Cal Lowenstein, her sisters and countless friends. Tracey (Class of 1987) and Dan (Class of 1992) are proud ISB graduates. Retirement for Freda included regular tennis games, pontoon boat rides on the river, and enjoying Red Hat lunches. Her writing took a new twist as she spent time communicating on Facebook with former students, colleagues, and anyone else she ever met! Whenever friends passed within shouting distance, she welcomed them with her gracious southern hospitality.
Former ISB student – my daughter – Sarah Jones (Class of 1988) knocked on their door & was welcomed in to their home during a long US road trip in 2005, two decades after Freda had been her favorite journalism teacher! Those several days with Freda inspired Sarah’s husband enough to seek a school counseling degree in order to head overseas and live the life Freda & Roger clearly represented. The warmth and generosity of her spirit will be missed by all who knew her.