ICSF Says Goodbye to Founding Member, Beverly Williams
By Dr. Geoff Williams, ICSF president
Beverly Williams, co-founder and secretary-treasurer of ICSF, passed away unexpectedly on July 19, 2016, at the age of 86 while working in her vegetable garden at her home in Boise, Idaho. Her garden was a place she loved and loved to work in — and the place that she had repeatedly said she wanted to pass away in when the time came.
Beverly brought to ICSF what many charitable organizations are missing: A true heart and passion for helping those in need. Beverly, my mother, was the first person to express support after I announced my decision to leave all practice in the United States in 2004 and serve full-time in the developing world. “Geoff, this is what you were born to do!” she exclaimed over the telephone. Her words became an ensign in my mind, giving me courage to face an unknown future, a future that has now become filled with thousands of little smiles and happy families in poor countries around the world.
Beverly played a major part in ICSF’s success with her outgoing, engaging, and perennially cheerful personality. She made friends with virtually every donor and supporter of ICSF, and did it sincerely. She never had any motive other than caring about people. She treated the small donors the same as the larger ones. Her method to make people feel cared about was simple; she did care about them. She had no facades.
As news of her passing spread, condolences began to pour in from all four hemispheres, including from little patients and their families who had come to know about Beverly and her role in ICSF.
Beverly was born in Denver, Colorado, on October, 19, 1929. She grew up in Denver and attended the University of Colorado, where she met her husband, Milt Williams, my dad. The young couple moved to Idaho, where they took up residence in a number of small cities, eventually moving to Boise, which became their permanent home. Beverly taught school in the Boise School District for a number of years but always felt that something else was waiting for her. I believe that “something else” was ICSF. On a regular basis, Beverly would tell me, “I am so thankful to be involved in this work! It makes me feel alive and young.”
Beverly took care of ICSF’s finances and other necessities, including her favorite activity, writing thank-you letters to ICSF’s donors. Beverly never asked for nor took any financial compensation for the work she did, because it was a labor of love to her.
It is true that I will miss Beverly for what she provided to ICSF. She was, and will continue to be, ICSF’s heart and soul. More than that, I will miss Beverly because of the mother and friend she was to me. She supported me in every worthy venture I have undertaken in my life, including ICSF. She gave me words of encouragement and helped me prepare for each of ICSF’s overseas surgical missions.
She kissed me goodnight, every night, on the forehead when I was in Boise between missions. She taught me that there is a kind God who loves me and would help me in all I do. She taught me how to sincerely love and care about people. She would frequently say, “Life is the most wonderful thing!” and she lived every day accordingly.
Goodbye, Mom. ICSF will miss you. I will miss you and your kind, sweet influence, for the rest of my life. God bless you for all the good you did in this world and for being my mom. ICSF will carry on its work with all of the heart and soul that you left with us.