Dr. Edward E. Williams

August 21, 1945October 3, 2018
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Edward E. Williams, B.S.E., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Rice University, passed away on Wednesday, the 3rd of October 2018.

Dr. Williams held the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professorship at Rice for many years and retired in 2014 as Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor Emeritus of Statistics. Dr. Williams held degrees from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. at the age of 22 and was one of the youngest people ever to have done so.

Professor Williams was born in Houston to Edward Earl Williams and Doris Jones Williams. He attended Houston public schools before beginning his scholarly work. Over the years, he taught economics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., finance at McGill University in Montreal Canada, and many subjects at Rice (economics, finance, statistics, accounting and entrepreneurship). He wrote 13 books and over 100 scholarly articles. In the 1970s, he became one of the original critics of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), which argued that the stock market was perfectly efficient and all information was impounded into existent stock prices. He and his colleague M.C. Findlay at the University of Southern California were ridiculed at the time by financial economists, but were eventually proved correct.

Also at Rice, Professor Williams began the entrepreneurship program (1978). Along with his friend and colleague Professor Al Napier, he developed the program to the point that it was recognized in 2017 as the Number Two MBA program in the world (Harvard was Number One and Stanford was Number Three). Dr. Williams was also a great teacher, receiving numerous teaching awards including the best teacher at Rice University. At one point, BusinessWeek recognized Professor Williams as the Number Two best entrepreneurship teacher in the U.S.

Dr. Williams also had a distinguished business career. He was founder of several companies and investor in many others. He left academia in the early 1970s for a five year sabbatical and began a career with Service Corporation International. SCI ultimately became the largest funeral home/cemetery company in the world, and Ed was an officer, consultant, and longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Company. SCI Founder R.L. “Bob” Waltrip was a business mentor and friend to Ed and taught him much of what Ed later perfected into his academic career. Under Ed’s supervision as an Officer and eventually Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Board of Directors, SCI’s trust and insurance portfolios grew from under $10 million to over $10 billion.

The most important part of Ed’s life was his family. His wonderful wife Susan (a mathematician whom he met at Rice) was the key to his accomplishments. Moreover, she showed Ed that success and financial gain were insignificant compared to having children and (dividend upon dividends) grandchildren. Their daughter Laura was a shining delight who brought joy to everyone she met. Their son David was everything Ed could have wished for (he was even a student of Ed’s at Rice’s Jesse Jones Graduate School of Business). Sue was as well but that is a long and happy story. Laura and David (and their dear spouses) were bountiful and produced five incredibly smart and talented grandchildren. After Ed retired and cut back on his academic and business commitments, the achievements of the five grandkids were the main sources of his joy. He and Sue are members of Carlton Woods Country Club, and they have made many wonderful friends there. Ed played golf (poorly at best) and despite Sue’s admonitions never made it to the gym or yoga classes. He and Sue are also longtime members of Congregation Jewish Community North.

Ed is survived by his wife and best friend Susan Horowitz Williams, daughter Laura Warren, son David Warren, and their spouses Christopher Garrett Self and Morgan Sheinberg Warren, and grandchildren Jacklyn Self, Peyton Self, Grey Warren, Caden Warren, and Hudson Self. Also, sister Shirley Lange, and nieces Lynee Banahan and Vicki Johnston.

Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from ten o’clock until time of service on Sunday, the 7th of October, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.

The funeral service will commence at half-past eleven o’clock in the morning, immediately following the visitation, also in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, where Rabbi Jonathan Siger and Emeritus Rabbi Robert Sharff of Congregation Jewish Community North are to officiate. After the funeral service, all are invited to join the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent grand foyer.

The committal service will follow the reception, via an escorted cortege, at Forest Park-The Woodlands Cemetery.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions, to benefit the Williams and Warren Family Fund in Digestive Health and Liver Disease, may be directed toward Texas Children’s Hospital, Office of Philanthropy, Ste. 5214, P.O. Box 300630, Houston, TX 77230-0630.



  • Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family Sunday, October 7, 2018
  • The Funeral Service Sunday, October 7, 2018


  • The Committal Service will follow the reception, via an escorted cortege, at Forest Park-The Woodlands Cemetery.

Dr. Edward E. Williams

have a memory or condolence to add?

Howard Leff

October 5, 2018

Good friends are difficult to meet on this road we call life.
I and we have lost a stellar one!!!

Jeffrey Curtiss

October 5, 2018

Dr. Williams was a pleasure to work with on Investment Committee matters when I was CFO of Service Corporation International. I am very sorry to hear about his demise. Regards, Jeff Curtiss

Monty Woodcock

October 4, 2018

Butch lived a few houses down Gardenia St. from us, close to John and Jud Sidman. He really liked my Dad, a transplanted Canadian active in Republican politics. When Dick Smith, John Teague, me and a few others started a Young Republicans Club at Waltrip, Butch was involved. He always was operating at a different level. I remember he got a big kick out of my promoting Dr. Ben Carson to run for President at our 50th Reunion. What a wonderful life he had. So happy for him and his family.

Larry Reid

October 4, 2018

I will always remember Butch standing on the table in the lunch room making a speech, Got to know him well when he joined the Waltrip Band percussion team playing tympani. He was a good man and he will be missed by many.