George Ronald (Ron) Williams, 1928 – 2020, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry and Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Toronto.
Born in Liverpool, England, Ron’s active and inquisitive intellect earned him a scholarship to Merchant Taylor’s School, and a PhD from the University of Liverpool. Postgraduate work at the Universities of Toronto, Pennsylvania, and Oxford followed. In 1956, he obtained a position at the University of Toronto. He was Chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1970 – 1977, and Principal of Scarborough College from 1984 – 1989. He combined his passion for biochemistry with concern for the environment and in 1996, published The Molecular Biology of Gaia, about the stability of the Earth’s environment.
Married to Joyce Mutch, also from Liverpool, they raised three children; Geoff, Glynis, and Tim. He enjoyed being grandfather to Jeremy, Dave, and Jano, and great-grandfather to Nia and Lila.
He and Joyce were strong supporters of the United Church of Canada, nationally and as members of Washington United in Scarborough, and Harcourt United in Guelph.
Ron was exceptionally active throughout his life. He was on the University of Liverpool track team, and continued running well into his 60s. Hiking was a passion. He loved the English Lake District, Wales’ Snowdonia, the Munros of Scotland, and Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies.
His renaissance mind made all aspects of science, religion, politics, and global affairs subjects for in-depth discussion. Above all Ron found joy and meaning in the arts: chamber music to opera; theatre to visual arts; and poetry to novels. His joy flowed from professional artists, but also from local amateur groups and, especially, children.
It is the intent to hold a memorial service as soon as the pandemic allows.
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