Jean Williams, 97

July 17, 1924 —
March 12, 2022
FORMERLY OF RIDGEWAY - Jean Ringoen Williams, age 97, of Chicago, Ill. and formerly of Ridgeway, Iowa, died on March 12, 2022. 
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 1 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, in Chicago. The service will be livestreamed via Grace’s Facebook at https:// placechi.
A private interment will be held by the family at Peace Lutheran Cemetery in Ridgeway. Donations may be made to UNICEF or a charity of your choice.
Jean was born in Morehead, Minn. on July 17, 1924 and grew up on a dairy farm outside of Ridgeway, with her parents, Marion Robert and Hattie Matilda (Linde) Ringoen and younger brother Bob (Marion Robert). 
After graduating from Cresco High School, Jean attended Iowa State University where she met her future husband Roger H. Williams. After graduating in 1945, with a bachelor’s in science degree in Institutional Management, with minors in Science and Family and Child Development, she moved to Chicago and worked as a home service advisor for Commonwealth Edison. The couple married in January 1947 and lived for brief periods in Minneapolis Minn.; Marshalltown, Iowa, where Steve was born; and Pottstown, Pa., where Tom was born. Roger’s work with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company took the family to Akron, Ohio, where Carla was born in 1958. 
Jean volunteered with The United Way, Headstart, the Akron Children’s Concert Society, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and St. John’s Episcopal Church. Her work in the Home Economics Child Development and Deaf Education laboratory at Kent State University solidified her interest in child development and passion for improving the education and well-being of young children.
In 1969, she was recruited to the University of Akron’s Early Childhood Education Department, where she was Assistant Head Teacher, Director of Curriculum, and helped develop programs for the lab school. 
Jean completed her master’s degree in Special Education in 1972 and was promoted to Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the lab school and Associate Professor in the Department of Home Economics. She taught courses, supervised lab sections, was in charge of the University’s daycare and nursery school curriculum and advised child development graduate students. 
She was appointed by the Governor of Ohio to the Ohio Department of Human Services’ Day Care Advisory Council. As chairperson, she was instrumental in writing legislation to improve guidelines for operating childcare centers and develop licensing for home day care centers. One of Jean’s proudest professional accomplishments was the passage of that legislation in 1986, for which she received the Early Childhood Award, the Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children’s highest award. She retired from the University in 1990 after 18 years of service and was named Associate Professor Emeritus.
After retiring, she and Roger spent time with their children and grandchildren, traveled extensively, visiting Japan, China, England, Europe and Turkey. Particularly favorite trips were to Mexico and Central America to study the history of the Mayan civilization, and wintering on Eleuthera in the Bahamas, where Jean became an avid snorkeler and beachcomber. 
In 2008 Roger and Jean moved from Silver Lake, Ohio to Chicago to be closer to their daughter. Jean enjoyed exploring the neighborhood and discovered that in 1945 she had lived two blocks from their new Chicago home in Dearborn Park. She attended concerts, visited museums and became a member of Grace Episcopal Church located in Chicago’s Printers Row district. The couple enjoyed their terrace container garden, where they grew corn, tomatoes and flowers within blocks of Chicago’s skyscrapers. 
 She was a beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, teacher, colleague and friend. She is survived by her sons, Steve (husband Miguel) and Tom (wife Yvonne); daughter, Carla (wife Cheryl); and grandchildren, Edward “Ned,” Charles “Charlie,” Amelia “Amy,” Elisabeth “Kira” and Christopher “Chris,” as well as numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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