HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 19
BY ANDERSON, BEARINGER, HANSON, H. MILLER, THEDE, MASCHER, HUNTER, WOLFE, STUTSMAN, WINCKLER, LENSING, JACOBY, COHOON, GASKILL, SMITH, PRICHARD, STECKMAN, GASSMAN, OLDSON, KELLEY, SIECK, GUSTAFSON, BAUDLER, JONES, HANUSA, SALMON, L. MILLER, HEATON, PETTENGILL, and FRY
A Resolution honoring Catherine Gayle Williams’ exemplary service to Iowa’s children and families on the occasion of her centennial birthday.
WHEREAS, Catherine Gayle Williams was born November 21, 1914, in Des Moines, Iowa, and upon graduating as valedictorian of her class from North High School, she pursued a very successful tap dancing and acting career; and
WHEREAS, when Ms. Williams’ parents became ill, she returned to Des Moines and worked as a secretary, a public assistance worker, and a public welfare supervisor for the Polk County Welfare Department; and
WHEREAS, while working for the Polk County Welfare Department, Ms. Williams attended college on a part-time basis at Drake University, graduating with degrees in psychology and sociology; and
WHEREAS, after earning her master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa, Ms. Williams returned to work at the Polk County Welfare Department, eventually attaining the position of Deputy Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Social Services; and
WHEREAS, during Ms. Williams’ professional career, she was responsible for many innovations in the delivery of social services in this state, particularly in foster care programming, having developed the first statewide training program for foster parents of children with intellectual disabilities and having authored the Polk County Welfare Department’s first foster care study; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Williams became the highest-ranking African American female in state government and one of the highest-ranking females in social services nationally when she served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Social Services in 1975; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Williams has served on the boards of many community organizations including the Iowa Health Facilities Council, the City of Des Moines Planning and Zoning Commission, the Project Helper Board, the Iowa Council on Human Services, the Simpson College Task Force on Minority Student Concerns, the United Way Model Cities Allocation Committee, the Community Relations Task Force of the NAACP, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Williams has received many honors and awards during her 32-year career in social services including the Drake University Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the State of Iowa Volunteer Award, the Morris Scholarship Fund Award, the YWCA/Mary Louise Smith Racial Justice Award, the University of Iowa School of Social Work Distinguished Alumnae Award, the North High School Distinguished Alumna Award, and the National Black Child Development Institute Award; and
WHEREAS, in addition, Ms. Williams was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and the Iowa African American Hall of Fame, was named as the Iowa Social Worker of the Year and the University of Iowa Mark Hale Lecturer, and was a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Simpson College; and
WHEREAS, Catherine Gayle Williams turned 100 years of age on November 21, 2014; NOW THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That the House of Representatives honors Catherine Gayle Williams for her integrity, compassion, and exemplary public service to Iowa’s children and families and thanks her for her deep commitment to and love of Iowa’s children and families; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Catherine Gayle Williams.