Elsa Mae Williams

She was mother to many more than her four children, and her home was open to all.

Elsa Mae Williams, age 93 of Vashon Island, Washington, passed away peacefully with her children at her side on February 1st, 2024, at Franke Tobey Jones in Tacoma, Washington, after a long battle with dementia. She will be profoundly missed by family and friends.

Elsa Mae Schmidt was born and raised on Vashon, to George and Margaret Schmidt on October 4, 1930. Her mother passed when she was 18, and she took over raising her five siblings. She was a former Peach (Strawberry) Festival Queen and worked attheCenter Store and SearsRoebuck in Seattle before marrying the love of her life, the late Clayton Williams on June 22, 1951. While raising their four children on Quartermaster Harbor, she worked part time at Leightons Apparel, drove a School Bus, and worked for Williams Heating. Elsa Mae was involved in many community organizations, including Vashon Lutheran Church, Island Quilt Guild, Orthopedic Guild, March of Dimes, Food Bank and Granny’s Attic, where she and Clayton volunteered for years.

Boating was a passion of the Williams Family where many summers were spent with four children on the (24 foot!) Sea Shell and later the iconic Salty in the San Juan and Gulf Islands. During retirement, she and Clayton traveled in their RV and spent many winters in Arizona.

Everyone remembers Elsa Mae’s warm smile, her baking, especially her cookies, famous birthday cakes and deserts. She canned everything. She was an excellent seamstress, and even made her children’s school clothes. She was an award-winning Quilter, and her children and grandchildren will treasure the special quilts she made for each of them. She frequently could be found in her garden and always said “be sure to pull the roots out with the weeds”.

She was mother to many more than her four children, and her home was open to all. She had a one-of-a-kind personality that put everyone at ease. She loved to laugh. She was quiet and preferred everyone else to do the talking, but she was the rock.

Elsa Mae is preceded in death by husband Clayton Williams, sisters Esther Calhoun, Myla Garvin, Margaret (Miggie) Willsie, and brother Edward Schmidt.

Elsa Mae is survived by Corinne (Sam) Kempton, Marnie (Ed) Broughton, Digby (Pamela) Williams, Dennis (Janet) Williams; brother George Schmidt: grandchildren Sasha Altizer, Tyler Broughton, Jacob Broughton, Alex Williams, Tommy Williams and Sean Williams, Alaina Patrick and CJ Williams: great grandchildren Garrett and Collin Altizer, Laila and Jakobi Broughton, Hudson and Rosie Mae Broughton and Felix Williams.

A celebration of life will be held at 3:00 pm on June 22nd at Vashon Island Golf & Country Club. All family and friends are welcome for an informal gathering.

The family of Elsa Mae wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Franke Tobey Jones and the wonderful staff and caregivers. We all felt their love for Mom and appreciation of her beauty and personality despite the challenges of dementia.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Granny’s Attic, Vashon Senior Center, or Vashon Heritage Museum.