By Taylor Pettit
Alex Williams was, simply, “giving.”
As friends and family described her life, she was giving of love, support and friendship.
On Aug. 30, Williams died of complications due to progressive pneumonia, a battle she had been fighting for about a month.
April “Alex” Williams, 24, was known for always being able to brighten a mood or even an entire room with just her smile.
At her life celebration on Sept. 3 at the Clark Legacy Center, this was clear as people commemorated her life by laughing and reminiscing at the warm memories they shared of Williams.
“She could make anybody laugh,” said Elise Pezzi, who met Williams in elementary school. “She could make the best situation out of the worst situation…I have so many good memories with her.”
Williams, an art major with a concentration in art history, was involved in the Art Student Association (ASA) and slated to be vice president this semester. She also made the dean’s list.
“There are not many people on this campus who plan a future in art history, so we clicked,” said Gay Sweely, professor and mentor to William’s independent study. “She was somebody that wanted to know about everything and everybody.”
Williams had plans of going to graduate school to pursue a degree in curatorial studies, and her overall goal was to open her own museum.
“[She had] her drive and determination,” said Saundra Williams, Alex’s mother. “She had a plan for her life. She was going to U of L [to get] her joint masters in curatorial studies and master in public administration…She wanted to own a museum and teach art history too…[She was] a jewel, a perfect polished beautiful jewel.”
Williams was known for not only her circle of friends at Eastern, but the friends she kept throughout her life.
“She definitely burned real bright while she was here,” said Jeremy Wright, a friend of Williams’ since age 14. “There’s people from California, the boonies, Alabama; every single one of them was here. No matter where she went in life, where everyone else went in life, she was always kind of a constant. That was her in essence.”
Williams was also known for her selflessness toward others.
“Alex was a giver,” said Emilie Carter, Williams sister. “She had a really quick wit. She could make anybody laugh. Her primary goal in life was to make other people happy and to bring other people joy.”
Friends said Williams was the person you could call whenever in need of a friend.
“She made you feel good being around her…It was a talent; it was a gift,” Pezzi said. “She was just always there. When I felt like the world wasn’t going to be there, she was there.”
In addition to assisting friends and family in need, friends said Williams also delved fervently into her many talents, which included cooking, being the “hostess with the mostess” and art in all media.
“She took art to a new meaning in her life,” said Aaron Sisco, 23, occupational health and safety major from Pikesville. “She put all of her emotion into her artwork. She loved all the things other people didn’t see.”
Williams entered student art shows on campus and had her art purchased last semester.
“I remember she was really proud of that,” said Brita Brigmon, 24, art major from Richmond and president of ASA.
Williams’ artistic flair showed up in almost every aspect of her life.
“She liked to style everything,” Wright said. “She put her artistic fingerprint on everything.”
Williams was known for not only being able to see the world as a beautiful place, but to laugh a little along the way.
“I remember laughing with her perpetually,” Sweely said. “We laughed for three years straight…that woman was laughing all the time.”
Her wit and attitude was what defined Williams to many of the people who knew her.
“[I’ll always remember] her sarcastic attitude,” said Kristopher Porter, a friend since age 14. “Saundra said she was reciting the Lord’s Prayer in the ambulance. The EMT guy told her to save her breath, and I could just picture her saying ‘shut up’ and throwing her hair back. That’s just who she was.”
But friends said Williams would always be remembered for the connections she made with the people she met.
“She was extremely accomplished…but she accomplished so many things more than a piece of paper,” said Brittany Higginbotham. “She accomplished touching people’s lives.”
Her friends and family have remembered Williams by the imprint she left with them.
“She’s painting the sky now,” Carter said.