Williams Family Gives $25,000 to SMF for Dietetics Endowed Scholarship
The saying goes, “You are what you eat”. For Cecelia Williams, balance was key. As dietician at Stillwater Medical for over 20 years, Cecelia dedicated her career to elevating nutrition for patients while continually learning how food impacts a patient’s overall health.
“She always made sure our plates were balanced and colorful,” remembered her daughter, Meredith Williams Woodruff. “She served my brothers and me warm and loving meals, which is exactly how she was as a mother.”
Cecelia’s first job in dietetics was at Conner’s State during the Depression. She was compensated in room and board, plus $25 each month. Following her time at Conner’s State, Cecelia served as the dietician for Oklahoma A&M’s only student dining hall. This was until World War II. She and husband, Curtis, would go on to travel the world. Curtis became a trusted aid to President Eisenhower and served at the Nuremberg Trials. His last post was at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he passed away from a battle with cancer in 1961.
It was at that time that Cecelia returned to Stillwater with her three children, Ed, Scott and Meredith. It had been over two decades since she last worked professionally as a dietician, but the widowed mother knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She confidently approached the director of Stillwater Medical and pointed out that the hospital needed a dietician. Cecelia wanted the job and did what it took to make it happen. In her forties, she returned to school to renew her certification in dietetics. Longtime director of the hospital, Robert Park, often spoke highly of Cecelia, “We couldn’t do it without her”, he would say to Meredith any chance he could.
During her tenure at Stillwater Medical, Cecelia established an effective and efficient nutrition program. Additionally, she was integral in getting the Mobile Meals program going in the early 1970’s. She began an internship program in association with Oklahoma State. This fed her desire to learn, grow and stay updated on nutrition sciences.
That is exactly what Ed, Scott and Meredith had in mind when they decided to establish an endowment in their mother’s honor through Stillwater Medical Foundation. It was deeply important to Cecelia to continue moving forward in her knowledge and education. With their $25,000 gift, the Williams Family will ensure that dieticians at Stillwater Medical will have the opportunity to further their education to improve the lives of Stillwater Medical patients.
Could a balanced meal reflect a balanced life? Perhaps. Cecelia Williams, also known as “Mum” to her grandchildren, managed to live with intention while balancing her professional career, ongoing education and raising three children.
Cecelia’s impact will live on in perpetuity and her legacy will better our community for years to come.
Thank you, Williams family, for giving forward.