Mark Williams ’73 P06 P11

7 March 2016
Mark Williams

Class: 1973

Major: Physics

Deceased: March 6, 2016

Alumni survivors: Mrs. Kristina K. Williams ’05 (Child-in-law), Mr. David A. Williams ’06 (Child), Ms. Megan Ellebrecht ’11 (Child)

Deceased 03/06/2016

Dr. Mark Richard Williams passed away at his home in Austin, Texas on Sunday March 6, 2016 after battling a rare type of GI cancer.

Dr. Williams was born in Houston, Texas on November 9, 1951, and was the eldest of the four children of Genevieve and Mathew Williams. He is survived by his wife Candace Williams (‘73), his son David Williams (‘06), and his daughter Megan Williams (‘11).

Dr. Williams graduated summa cum laude from Carleton College in 1973 with a Bachelors degree in Physics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He received a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics from Oxford University in 1975, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a Doctorate and Masters degree in Physics from Stanford University in 1979. Mark has been recognized for his contributions in science and mathematics by membership respectively in Sigma Xi and Pi Mu Epsilon. He was tri-captain of the Carleton College football team and played rugby at Oxford.

After completing his studies, he began a career as a research physicist with Royal Dutch Shell. In over 30 years with the company, he rose to a number of executive-level positions before retiring in 2013 as the Global Downstream Head.

After retiring, he served on several boards including Intertek plc, the Board of Trustees of Carleton College, the Board of Visitors of McDonald Observatory, and held the chairmanship of the board of Hess Oil Company.

Dr. Williams had a number of passions outside of his career, including astronomy, backpacking, and sailing. He will be remembered for his supreme intellect, profound integrity, sharp wit, and deep love of his family.

Posted In


  • 2016-04-01 07:54:52
    Eric Guttag '74

    My condolences and prayers go out to Mark's family.  I remember Mark well from my brief experience playing football with him my sophomore year.  Mark, as an offensive guard in football and a physics major, proved that you could be athlete and an academic at the same time.   That was confirmed by him being a Rhodes Scholar as well. 

  • 2016-05-31 13:47:05
    Michael Griffin '75

    My deepest, if belated, sympathies to Mark's family. I experienced Mark's genuine decency and kindness when I returned in the winter of my sophomore year from a trek to South America and he agreed to take me in as a roommate in Davis Hall for the term. I needed to be placed in one of the dorms in the middle of the year and I know that the College asked Mark if they could add me to his double. Mark not only generously agreed, but treated me with great kindness. I was two years younger than Mark but he welcomed me without hesitation. He also modeled organization and hard work for me. He was always the first one up in the morning and had his plans for the day laid out. I was there in the room when he got the letter announcing his Rhodes Scholarship award. Rooming with Mark was an ideal situation for me to reintegrate myself into the Carleton culture, and my academic performance rose to a high level for the rest of my time in Northfield. My heart is truly saddened to learn of his death.

  • 2016-09-14 15:03:14
    Lauren Kempton

    Obituary via the Houston Chronicle

Add a comment