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Roger Lawrence Williams, former faculty

Roger Lawrence Williams, of Laramie, WY, 94, died July 4, 2017 after a brief illness. A graduate of Greeley High School, he began college at Colorado College and interrupted his studies to volunteer in the U.S. Army.

Born June 22, 1923, he served as a supply sergeant during World War II in the European theater. After graduating from Colorado College, he earned a Ph.D in modern European history from the University of Michigan.

Among his teaching positions, he taught in the Humanities Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was head of the history departments at Antioch College and the University of California — Santa Barbara.

When pressed to become a chancellor, Roger chose teaching and research, returning to familiar surroundings and to fly-fishing in Wyoming. He served as professor and head of the history department at the University of Wyoming from 1971-1988 and was recognized as UW’s first Distinguished Professor. After retirement, he became an affiliate at the Rocky Mountain Herbarium.

Acknowledged in his day as a leading authority on Napoleon III and the Second French Empire, Roger published numerous books as well as introductory textbooks on modern European history. Fascinated by the natural sciences, he taught himself taxonomy while writing the biography of early UW botanist Aven Nelson.

By means of that biography, he contributed many astute insights into Wyoming. After retirement, Roger turned to the history of botany, publishing several more books and articles on the history of botany in France and Wyoming.

Roger is survived by niece Linda Caulder, of Arvada, Colorado. At his request, there will be no memorial service. He left his estate to the Wyoming Community Foundation and asked all memorial gifts be directed there.