Linda Payne Williams, the mother of actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley and mother-in-law of Brad Paisley, died Wednesday following a long bout with dementia. She was 73-years-old.
“I will remember you this way, Mom. Rest in love and peace,” Kimberly posted on social media, along with an older photo of her mother. “Linda Williams: June 22nd, 1943-November 16, 2016 #endalz”
During her career, Williams worked as the director of principal gifts at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City before moving to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, where she raised millions of dollars in support of medical research. In 2005, at the age of 62, she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia. Williams-Paisley discussed her mother’s condition in a 2014 interview with Good Morning America and later, in her 2016 memoir When the Light Gets In.
“I’m finally at a point, my mother’s finally at a point where I feel like it’s OK to talk about it. There was a long time … that she didn’t want us to talk about it, and that was so much a part of the stress of what we were all going through, was that we had to hide it and cover up for her, and protect her pride,” she told Robin Roberts at the time. “And I just felt like we were at a point where our story could help other people.”
Williams is survived by her husband, sister, three children, and five grandchildren. Her family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Brad still plans to honor his commitment to attend a celebration for the opening of his Diary of a Player exhibit Thursday evening at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
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