Mary was born in Rawlins, Wyo., in 1924 to Morene and Harold Chamberlain, though she was raised in part by her grandparents, Eulavie and William L. Kuykendall.
When she was a preteen, the family moved to California, where Mary went to school and later enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps, serving as a tech sergeant during World War II at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco. While there, she married James Liles, now deceased, to whom she was married for 20 years and with whom she had three daughters.
After the war, Mary became one of John Hancock Insurance Co.’s earliest female salespeople. She specialized in tax-sheltered annuities, particularly for teachers, and, as a pioneer in the field, became California state chairman for TSA . She was a life member of the Women Leaders Insurance Round Table. Through her professional activities, in 1970 she met Wayne Williams, an agent for Equitable of Iowa. The couple was married in 1971. In 1972, they established their own brokerage, W/A Insurance Services, in Boulder Creek.
Mary was active in Soroptimist International, served as president of the Boulder Creek Business Association and was instrumental in having Boulder Creek’s utilities placed underground.
From her winter home in Florida, Mary helped teach disadvantaged children. She also tutored immigrants in Santa Cruz County in English.
The family remembers her jaunts to purchase books of tickets and take every relative she could round up to lavish concerts or other events.
She is survived by her husband, Wayne Williams of Boulder Creek; three daughters, Michelle Gaugy of Santa Fe, N.M., and Cherie Porter and Debbie Liles, both of Woodland; two stepdaughters, Gayle Dyer of Castro Valley and Maggie Coelho of Riverbank; a stepson, Wayne Williams II of Missoula, Mont.; a granddaughter; four stepgrandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends .
A celebration of her life will begin at 1 p.m. May 25 at Boulder Creek Fire Station, 13230 Highway 9. Private burial and a family reception were held May 11 in Pacific Grove. A guest book is online at www.thepaulmortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers contributions to The Women’s Memorial, Dept. 560, Washington, DC 20042-0560; or to Hospice of Santa Cruz County, 940 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066.