Carol Lou Williams

Jul 2, 1930 - Jun 30, 2019


Carol Williams passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 30th, 2019 in Sacramento, California. A loving mother, grandmother and sister and a proud alumna of UC Berkeley, Carol was active in the Sacramento community throughout her life.
Born July 2, 1930, in Portland, Oregon, to Frank Ashley Harkness and Tessa Maude Harkness. The family moved to Sacramento in 1936. Carol is survived by her husband Robert and sons David and John; grandchildren Paul, Nicholas and Kenneth; daughter’s in law Audrey and Martina; her brother Ashley Harkness, his wife Kathy, nieces Janet Harkness, Cynthia Harkness and Daniel Harkness; and her sister Sara Topcu and her husband Ali.
Carol attended local schools and graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento Junior College and the University of California at Berkeley, where she majored in Business Administration. After college, she worked at the State Board of Equalization. She was active in many community activities: President of the PTA, President of the Friends of Six as well as charter member, President of the UC Woman’s Club, President of the River Park Garden Club and a member of the Lawyer’s Wives Association and Gateway Guild. A long-time volunteer at KVIE, she received the “Volunteer of the Year” award. She chaired one of the first polio vaccine clinics in the area. When her children were older, she returned to the work force and retired from California State University, Sacramento, where she worked in the English Department and as office manager for the Reading and Literature Program.
She was an avid bowler and won the City Championship in the women’s Bowling Tournament. She enjoyed music and the theatre. In retirement she enjoyed travel, especially to visit her World War II pen pals living in England and Scotland.
Funeral services will be held at 10am on Friday, July 5th at East Lawn East Sacramento Mortuary and East Lawn Memorial Park at 4300 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95819.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Carol’s memory to KVIE – PBS for Northern California.


  • FF says:

    So sorry for your loss. May your family find comfort in the hope at Rev 21:4 which says: “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”.

  • Audrey says:

    Carol was all I could have wished for in an MIL: kind, brilliant, and really understood people. She gave me the gift of full welcome into her family, and later of getting down on the floor with her grandchildren. Carol was an adventurer, a wonderful story teller, and a quiet warrior: I especially recall her story about desegregation: she was determined to be there first thing in the morning to meet the buses because kids need a welcome no matter what the rest of us are doing! So of course she chaired an early polio vaccine clinic – I did not know that, and it slayed me. Wishing her peace in the good night.

  • Janet says:

    My childhood is filled of memories of going up to Carol and Bob’s house for Christmas, of swimming in the freezing cold outdoor pool, playing with the Legos and toy soldiers with my brother in the family room while watching the moving light patterns on the glass paintings, and stopping by on our way into or out of Sacramento. As I got older, she and I would have chats about our family tree and the relatives who preceded us. I learned much of my family history in the last decade through her, and I will miss her dry wit and stealthy sense of humor. She lived such an amazing life and had so much to tell, I’m glad that I was able to hear even part of it. Thank you for being a wonderful Aunt and friend. See you on the flipside, and enjoy your new adventure. 🙂 <3

  • Tomy says:

    Carol Williams was such a heart, one of the greatest souls I met and I feel very happy that I got to enjoyed her in my life back when I moved to Sacramento to live with my sister Martina and David for a year to study. When David presented me to his parents I would never had expected such a welcoming energy to my side of my family regardless of having a different culture and upbringings. Carol welcomed us with open arms since the beginning plus a loving energy and loved her cool experience energy about life and being a parent, she carry herself very well and I could tell she had done already great things in life and contribute greatly to the community and she along with Bob raised to great men, David and John that also felt so lucky to have met in my life. She showed me a lot of things about the USA and California customs, super interesting things that my curious young mind loved to hear from her. Will always remember her taking us to eat out in that time and having fun out and will always cherish how she made us her homemade pumpkin pie and her oversized chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies that I tried for the first time ever at her house and that I loved ever since and no matter where and after all these years I haven’t been able to find that taste as good as those as she used to make. Those are just some little memories of how great she was and how she made me being more confortable living in Sacramento, to be so far away from my birth land. I will always be in gratitude to the Williams. Rest in peace dear Carol! Tomy

  • Melva Mills says:

    Carol was such a sweetie! I enjoyed traveling with her around California & Quebec. She made friends with everyone, always there to help if needed. I’ll miss our long chats and her funny memories. She was an amazing woman.

  • Laura says:

    I first met Carol when Audrey and John got married. Over the almost 30 years since then my strongest memory of her is how much she loved her family, especially her grandchildren, but I also am lucky enough to have two very special memories of my own. Carol loved to travel and one of her adventures in the late 90s brought her to Boston where I was living on my own. She called me and invited me to dinner. We had a wonderful time and I so enjoyed getting to know her better and learning more about her through her wonderful stories. Then about 10 years ago I was preparing to have major surgery and to my surprise I received a care package from Carol with a set of comfy pajamas, magazines, and a Bee Gees CD. What a thoughtful and unexpected gesture! These memories together represent everything I knew of Carol – thoughtful, curious, adventurous, and generous. What a warm and loving heart she had to not only so fully embrace Audrey but her family as well. Rest in peace Carol, you touched many with your wonderful spirit.

  • Nicholas Lyndon-Williams says:

    I’ve been having a really difficult time expressing how Grandma Carol’s courage and joy manifested in the particulars of how she interacted with you. She was always so warm, inviting and cheerful – easily excited by just about anything new you might be experiencing or discovering in the world. Be it taking a new swim class as a kid, entering high school, or in my case – my early introduction to art. A few days ago, on the afternoon of her passing, I was reminded with her excitement for my time in college. I was so radically unsure of what I was doing, if the dreams I’d been following made any form of sense. She affirmed to me, not that I was going to be able to figure it all out, or that it was even going to make sense, but that it would be a fun, magical endeavor regardless of outcome. She would quickly remind me that there is so much to learn from the world, and as we learn the limits of our imagination will far surpass and of the tethers that confine or box our own life’s potential. This was the spirit that I fight to keep within me from Carol. It’s okay if things don’t go how you planned, how you dreamed or wished. What matters is that you fell in love with something the world had to offer and chased it wholeheartedly. Leave the rest to the wind. Since our conversations in college, I’ve learned just how difficult it is to maintain that outlook on life day after day. To remember that living – existing – being – is the point. I respect and admire her so much for so many things she did with her life: being a wonderful mother, grandmother, friend, but all the more for her ability to spread that courage to live freely to those around her. I’m very thankful for everything she was and continues to be, through how she raised my father, and how he raised me. Thank you Grandma Carol, Nicholas Lyndon-Williams Le vent se lève! Il faut tenter de vivre.

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