Marilyn J. (Tonks) Williams

  • Born: March 28, 1933
  • Died: May 13, 2021
  • Location: Melrose, Massachusetts

Robinson Funeral Home

809 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
Tel. (781) 665-1900

Tribute & Message From The Family

Marilyn J. (Tonks) Williams, a lifelong resident of Melrose, died peacefully on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, at age 88.

Marilyn was born in Melrose on March 28, 1933, one of four children of the late Alfred and Mary (Perry) Tonks. She was raised in Melrose where she graduated from Melrose High School, Class of 1951. On June 10, 1956 she was married to Richard L. Williams and they settled in Melrose to raise a family of three children. Marilyn worked as a Secretary in the Admitting Office at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital for many years, as well as in a Boston dental office.

In her childhood, Marilyn enjoyed participating in Girl Scouts where she learned life lessons of determination, kindness, and independence. The values instilled as a young woman carried throughout her life, and she happily volunteered her time as a Girl Scout Leader for 10 years when her daughter, Donna was a member of the Girl Scouts.

Marilyn's other main passion in life was camping. For much of her life, she enjoyed spending weekends and vacations on family camping trips either around New England or across the country. For many years, Peters Pond Park in Sandwich was a favorite destination, and she always looked forward to yearly trips traveling throughout the United States with the Starcraft Campers Club. Every October since 1976, Marilyn greatly enjoyed visiting The Village at Loon Mountain for spending time with family in the outdoors. She also enjoyed a special family trip to Europe, and was blessed to visit Hawaii, much of Canada, and Bermuda. With her sons, and grandchildren, Marilyn took a particular interest in the Pan Mass Challenge, Jimmy Fund Walk and the Boston Marathon and was proud to support her family's participation.

Devoted to her faith, Marilyn was a former member of Hillcrest Community Church and currently a longtime member of the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church. Between both churches, Marilyn was an active member of the Church Choir for 79 years. In her free time, she loved planting flowers, and taking walks with her family. A cancer survivor, Marilyn was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age 67 and faced her diagnosis with strength and grace.

Humble and reserved, Marilyn was a source of quiet strength for her family. She was always there to bring everyone together, provide caring support to generations of her family, and never had a bad word to say. A true role model and matriach, Marilyn subtlety instilled family values, strong morals and sincere kindness into her family. She will be deeply missed, but always lovingly remembered for her unconditional kindness, thoughtful generosity, and pride in family.

Marilyn was the beloved wife of the late Richard L. "Dick" Williams with whom she shared nearly 46 years of marriage. Devoted mother of Donna J. Williams and her companion Al Hemeon of Wakefield, David R. Williams and his wife Mary of Dracut, and Dale R. Williams of Melrose. Cherished grandmother of Michael Williams and Thomas Williams, both of Dracut. Dear sister of Ralph Tonks and his late wife Phyllis of Wilmington, the late Robert Tonks and his late wife (Big Sister) Madeline Austin, and the late Richard Tonks and his surviving wife Sally of CT. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to gather for visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Tuesday, May 18 from 4-7pm, and for her Funeral Service at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church, 355 Franklin St., Melrose celebrated on Wednesday at 10am. All attendees are respectfully asked to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Interment in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose.