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Civic Hall of Fame Series: Ramonde “Rae” Ruckel Byrne Williams

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Williams founded the First Judicial District Guardian Ad Litem Program. She served as President of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber from 1957–1959 and served on the Chamber board many years advocating for small business and the overall development of our community.

Editor’s Note: This is the third of an eight-part series featuring the inaugural inductees in the Niceville Valparaiso Civic Hall of Fame. The series is sponsored by our Community Partner, Twin Cities Hospital. The 2017 inductees will be announced at the Civic Hall of Fame Luncheon on July 19.

Ramonde “Rae” Ruckel Byrne Williams was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1921 and moved to Valparaiso at the age of 11 months. She grew up on our bayous and the surrounding woods, and as a youngster danced on the “empty road” that is Highway 98 with other local teenagers.

Williams attended and received a degree from Duke University and also obtained a pilot’s license. In 1957, she became President of Valparaiso Realty Company and served as Chairman of the Board until passing in 2011.

Williams founded the First Judicial District Guardian Ad Litem Program. She served as President of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber from 1957–1959 and served on the Chamber board many years advocating for small business and the overall development of our community.

Williams was awarded one of the first two Life Directors of the Chamber. She is the first of three generations of women to serve as lead volunteer of our Chamber with her daughter Judy Byrne Riley serving in 1993, and granddaughter Marion Riley Taylor serving in 2006.

Involved in politics throughout her adult life, Williams volunteered in the National Democratic Party headquarters and as a Legislative Aid in Tallahassee and served as a State Committeewoman for several years.

 

She served as a Girl Scout leader in the 1980s, teaching sailing and canoeing, and even obtained a Bus Drivers Permit so she could take her troop to see the King Tut exhibit in New Orleans.

Williams was inducted into the Okaloosa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 for her accomplishments.

See related story here: Civic Hall of Fame Series: Plenn Phelps

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