Mildred Winston McGonagill Williams

Areas of Achievement: 
Home Making
Social Service

Honored By

Honored by: McGonagill & Garry Bryant, Margy
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Central Garden

Mildred Winston McGonagill Rucker Williams, known as Millie to her friends and family, was born in 1921 in Whitehouse, Texas, to Grady and Josephine Robinson Winton. Although the second oldest of five children, she outlived her siblings. Millie grew up in Robstown, Texas; her father was a farmer and her mother was a teacher. Millie earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education when she was 34 years old. Notably, she was able to complete her degree in three years, working full time, as a single parent. Millie has three sons and one daughter. Her only daughter, Margaret McGonagill, known as Margy, remembers realizing how strong and well-liked her mother was. Margy states that all of her friends wanted her mother to be theirs, because Margy and her mother always got along and never argued. Margy recalls that this was the earliest she remembers truly recognizing that her mother was special.

Millie taught English, Geography, and Texas History at Baker Junior High in Austin, Texas. During her two and a half years as a teacher, Millie earned the Teacher of the Year Award in 1959-1960. While teaching, Millie earned her Master's degree in counseling and found her true vocation in that field. She spent twenty years counseling, all of which were spent as Director of Counseling at McCallum and Reagan High Schools in Austin, Texas. She was dedicated to helping students achieve to the best of their ability by directing them to colleges and universities that were suited to their interests. In addition to her professional life, Millie was also closely connected to three Methodist churches over her lifetime and trained to be a Stephen minister (a form of lay ministry). Millie played the piano for many Sunday school classes and has continued to have a passion for music throughout her life.

Millie has always had a deep interest in helping people, especially young people. She has been happiest when doing something for someone else. When asked what was most meaningful, she said it was her students and that she loved "getting them to see the light."

Millie outlived three husbands - Walter McGonagill, James Rucker, Carl Williams.

Millie died of natural causes on September 28, 2013, in Tucson, AZ. She is survived by her four children, Grady McGonagill, Margy McGonagill, Richard Rucker, and Dan Rucker and four grandchildren, Evan McGonagill, Aurora, Alvie, and Max Rucker. Even after her death, Millie's devotion to helping others shines through. She donated her body to the University of Arizona for scientific research.