Carmella Williams, Iowa native and longtime resident of West Des Moines, passed away in October of 2012. Her whole life, however, was dedicated to working, volunteering and using her money to do as much good as she could with it.
“She’d hear on the news about a fund set up for some guy who’d hurt himself on RAGBRAI and she’d send money,” according to daughter Debra. “She was always doing something like that.”
Though she never graduated high school, Carmella was a successful and shrewd businesswoman. She owned and operated The Conference Room Restaurant and Lounge, a popular eatery on Ashworth, until she shuttered it in 1980.
Her lack of a diploma, the family believes, is what led her to use and value the library as much as she did, as she thought she had to informally “make up” for the lack of formal schooling that always made her a bit self-conscious.
When Carmella passed away, she left a considerable amount of money to 13 different charities, all causes and services that she used and valued. Among those was the West Des Moines Public Library, to which she left nearly $20,000.
That money made it possible for the library to redesign its website after several years of stagnation. For that reason and because she so strongly believed in libraries, the website of the West Des Moines Public Library is dedicated to the memory of Ms. Carmella Williams, whose generous gift makes a difference with every mouse click.