George Williams, 95, an expert historian on Turkey and the Near East

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george williamsGeorge Williams, age 95, passed away on Friday, November 18, 2015. He was born on January 2, 1920, in Washington, D.C.

Following graduation from Kalamazoo College, MI, George worked in the sweatshops of Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown, MD before answering his calling to the education field and moving to Istanbul, Turkey in 1942.

An internationalist, he taught and worked in administration at Robert College, Istanbul, Turkey, and colleges in Libya, Washington, DC, and Monterey, CA. While working at Robert College, he traveled and recruited extensively throughout the Middle East, and also drove throughout Europe many times on family vacations.

George was an expert historian on Turkey and the Near East covering the past 75 years. A born teacher, he delighted in holding ad hoc classes for anyone interested and could often be found in full lecture mode whenever the subject of the Near East arose.

An athlete of several sports, he is remembered for his swimming, basketball, and tennis prowess. He swam from Europe to Asia (across the Bosphorus) and back numerous times, often with family members in tow.

His wife Mary was his gem. A loving and expressive family man, he wrote extensively and talked to one and all, especially during the pre-digital era. One favorite axiom of his was that neither he nor any of his siblings were born in any US state (2 in Washington, DC, and one each in France, Lebanon, and Turkey).

He is preceded in death by his sister, Ruth Stewart (Yellow Springs, OH), and survived by his wife of 71 years, Mary H. Williams (Williamsburg); daughter Janice Kies (Vienna, VA); granddaughter Jennifer Mammen (Nathan); great-granddaughter Madeleine Mammen (all of Falls Church, VA); son Rodney Williams (Anita) and grandson Erik (all of Tulsa, OK), grandson Christopher (Las Vegas, NV); Brothers Owen Williams (Williamsburg), Charles Williams (Carole) (Bakersfield, CA); and sister Mary Danielson (Napa, CA)

Memorial contributions may be made to the Robert College of Istanbul, Office of the Board of Trustees 520 Eighth Ave., North Tower, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.

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