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H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel

4550 Peachtree Road Ne, Atlanta, GA

OBITUARY

Rebecca Chase Williams

October 18, 1949March 11, 2020

SERVICES FOR MRS. WILLIAMS HAVE BEEN POSTPONED INDEFINITELY.

Rebecca Chase Williams, a longtime national correspondent for ABC News and later the mayor of Brookhaven, died March 11 of cancer. She was 70. Rebecca Chase was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., and was graduated from Richwoods High School in Peoria, Ill., and the University of Illinois. A family move brought her to Atlanta after graduation. After short stints with the Southern Regional Education Board and the promotions department of the AJC she began her career as a journalist, covering the state capitol as a radio reporter. That led to her hiring as a reporter for WXIA-TV where in just a few years she won two regional Emmy awards for investigative reporting and an Emmy for best documentary. She was hired by ABC News in 1979 as a reporter in the southern bureau in Atlanta. For the next 20 years she covered a wide range of stories from the trial of Ted Bundy in Florida to the Falklands War off Argentina to political conventions to every hurricane that hit the Southeast. Chase followed two candidates in presidential campaigns, but it was her work covering social policy that set her apart. She created a beat that studied taxes, welfare, entitlements, housing, poverty and the like. Her work appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Good Morning America and Nightline. After 20 years she retired to spend more time with her daughters and gladly became a soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball mom. She served on the board of St. Martin’s Episcopal School, leading several committees. Almost in the background she operated Dunwoody Body Works for 18 years. As her daughters grew older she reported for The Dunwoody Crier, published by her husband, Dick. Her detailed coverage of the effort to make Dunwoody a city led to a new interest in public policy. After voters approved the idea overwhelmingly in 2008, she became a pioneer in the effort to create the city of Brookhaven. Her service as homeowners’ association president and a member of the DeKalb County Board of Zoning Appeals fueled her activism. She was part of two citizen groups that achieved passage of the cityhood referendum in 2012. That led her to run for Brookhaven’s first city council. She was elected to represent the northern part of the city. When the city’s mayor resigned to run for another office in 2015, the city council chose her as the city’s second mayor. In that job she advocated for park improvements, better traffic flow and she won council approval for the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival, now the city’s premier event. In retirement and in slowly fading health, she chaired the committee charged with passage of a $40 million parks bond issue. Huge improvements began to be seen in all the city’s parks. Rebecca Chase Williams is survived by her husband, Dick; two daughters, Catherine Chase Cooper (Wesley) and Clare Margaret Stevens (William); her sister, Nancy Cheek Smith of Prescott, Ark., and brother, John Cheek of Snellville. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 17 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at H M Patterson Oglethorpe Chapel and her funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Sandy Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Marist School and St. Martin’s Episcopal School.

Services

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Memories

Rebecca Chase Williams

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Stacey Davis Stewart

March 22, 2020

Dick and the entire Williams Family, my condolences on the passing of Rebecca. She lived an amazing life. I hope the memories of her bring you comfort at this time though she will no doubt be greatly missed.

Barbara Berryman

March 22, 2020

Rebecca did so much to improve the world around her. With style and compassion, she left her mark on all that surrounded her. Her life was a blessing.

Kathy Florence

March 18, 2020

What a beautiful, smart and classy woman. Becky left an indelible mark on this world and more perhaps even more importantly, her family. I have so many fabulous memories of my own time with her, and Tom and I send our deepest love and condolences to Dick, Chase, Clare, Wesley and William. Our love and prayers to you all.

Jim & Jeannie McKechnie

March 17, 2020

We will so miss Becky. I had the honor and privilege to work with her for almost 15 years. In addition, we were supporters of hers while in Brookhaven. Her wisdom and inspiration will be sorely missed. Please allow us to extend our deepest condolences. May you find God's presence with you as you journey through this time of grief. May it make your sorrow easier to bear knowing there are others who understand and care. She is now in a better place and in peace.
We are so sorry to miss the visitation due to current health concerns but please know we have Dick and family in our heart and sorrow in our soul.

Steve Woodburn

March 17, 2020

I didn't know Rebecca well, but know Dick and saw how much he loved her. The world was a better place with her in it and she will be missed. Prayers are with Dick and their daughters.

Clayton Conarro

March 17, 2020

I was familiar with Rebecca's journalism through ABC and Dunwoody Crier. But I came to know Rebecca personally through the Brookhaven cityhood movement. I was amazed by her intelligence, her energy, her perspective, and her grace. Rebecca certainly positively impacted our city, and she is missed. Condolences to Dick and daughters Catherine and Clare. Clayton Conarro

Donna Post

March 15, 2020

Rebecca was such a force for good for many years in our neighborhood of Byrnwyck and city of Brookhaven. Positive, energetic, and willing to takes leadership roles and perform well in those roles. I remember chatting with her when we were walking our rat terriers. My rat terrier was Tess. Her rat terrier was Maggie Thatcher!

Edith Woodling

March 15, 2020

My deepest condolences to Dick and to the girls. I enjoyed knowing your girls and your family at St. Martin's. Our paths crossed through neighborhoods and through schools and through sports. I am very sad that you have lost Rebecca so soon. Love and blessings, Edith

Tim and MJ Thomas

March 14, 2020

Dick and Girls, She shared so much of herself with our communities, making where we live a better place for generations to come. At the heart of this was her family, you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.