Martha E. Williams Martha E. Williams  (September 21, 1934 - July 5, 2007)


Martha Williams died July 5, 2007, at her home in Port Washington, Wisconsin. 

While computers now are very common, 40 years ago they were in comparable infancy. Martha Williams was one of the pioneers in the field of developing computer-based databases. Although trained as a chemist, she became a noted expert in the field of information science and was a much sought-after lecturer on this topic at international conferences. Martha was born and raised in the Rogers Park area of Chicago. She was one of five children of Harold and Alice Fox Williams. Harold Williams was the president of the Institute of American Poultry Industries for many years. Alice Fox was the daughter of Michael Fox, who, along with his eight brothers ran a poultry company in Chicago and produced a popular local beer called Fox de Luxe. 

Martha attended Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest and continued onto Barat College, where she received a degree in chemistry (and was a classmate of the former Mayor Jane Byrne). Martha later received a Masters in Philosophy from University of Chicago. 

She began her career at IIT Research Institute as a chemist, but her interest soon turned to technical databases. She was a professor of Information Science at the University of Illinois in Champaign. She developed the standard reference in the field. Computer-Readable Databases.
For many years she was the editor of the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Martha was the founder of the Gale Directory of Databases and the editor of Online Review. She was the founder and President of Information Market Indicators (IMI). 

Professor Williams received numerous awards and accolades during her career.
Walter Carlson of IBM said "I have not found anyone who excels Professor Martha Williams in combining technical grasp, business judgement, and intuition about future trends." Sister Maudie Bremer said "Martha also had many other interest, particularly outdoor sports like figure skating, canoeing and white water rafting. She designed and was general contractor for her home on the lakefront of Lake Michigan near Port Washington, Wisconsin. 

She is survived by siblings, Rosemary "Mickey" (James) DeMore,of Skokie, Maudie (Robert) Bremer of Chevy Chase, Maryland, David (Karen) Williams of Wilmette and the late Daniel Williams; sister in law of Patricia Williams of Park Ridge; dear aunt of Kristin, David, Daniel, Carolyn and Lisa. 

Visitation, Sunday July 8, 2007, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.. Funeral Monday, July 9, 2007, 9:15 a.m. from Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd., at Old Orchard Rd., Skokie to St. Francis Xavier Church 9th & Linden, Wilmette, Mass 10:00 a.m.. Interment All Saints Cemetery. 

Memorials may be made to Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart 760 East Westleigh Road Lake Forest, IL 60045

There is a fuller description of her career posted at