TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Kidderminster woman who will be laid to rest in the same cemetery as John F Kennedy in recognition of her work supporting NASA.
Carolann Williams, a former Harry Cheshire School pupil, died after a five-year battle with colon cancer on December 8 last year in New Hampshire in the USA.
After 9/11, she worked as a computer program manager at Dryden Flight Research Centre at Edwards Air Force Base, supporting NASA in California and on a number of government programs at the Science Applications International Corporation in Washington DC.
Ms Williams was born in Kidderminster in 1951 to parents Brenda and Percy Williams. She attended Lea Street school and Harry Cheshire school, now Baxter College.
In a statement her family said: "Carolann showed a creative flair for making things, including her own clothes.
"Music also played an important part in her life, an interest she shared with her brother Philip and sister Christine. She was a bright and studious girl, who was very popular with fellow pupils and teachers alike.
"She was also sporty, being a good swimmer and an excellent netball player, becoming captain of the school team. It was clear to the family that Carolann was showing qualities that would contribute to her success in later life. "
Her first job was at the RAF base in Hartlebury as a computer operator. She worked at Kidderminster borough treasurer’s office before moving to Liverpool and later London, taking charge of the computer room at Middlesex Polytechnic University.
She moved to the United States with her first husband, Dr Steve Farmer, who was offered a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They had one son, Aaron, in 1979.
Ms Williams also worked at Brigham Womens’ Hospital, Hanscom Air Force Base and as program manager at the US Senate, when she relocated to Washington DC with her second husband, warrant officer Steve Silva. She was co-founder of DekaTron Corporation, subsequently becoming president and was instrumental in its success.
Ms Williams was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2008 and had major surgery at the Walter Reed National Military Hospital.
Her family added: "Despite her illness, she would visit injured soldiers within the hospital to try and cheer them up. "Her outlook was always positive, often saying to people 'I’m not having a pity party - I am going to get on with my life', which she did."
In 2010, Ms Williams moved to Hollis in New Hampshire and spent her last few weeks at a nearby hospice.
Her funeral service took place at Hollis Church on December 14 last year and she will buried at Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be arranged.