January 16, 1944 ~ April 29, 2014
Petra Williams passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, April 29th, after a valiant battle with cancer. She was surrounded by the love of family and friends.
Born Marie-Luisa Petra Maier in Stuttgart, Germany, she moved to the United States and eventually to Manhattan Beach with her first husband, Kenneth McCracken. She later lived in Hawaii and Washington D.C. before returning to Manhattan Beach with her second husband, Alexander Williams III.
Petra's lengthy career in the children's retail business weaved through Torrance, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, where after nearly 20 years she was affectionately known to many as simply "Mama." She enjoyed traveling, dining out at new and exciting places, visiting friends, and walking her dogs around Manhattan Beach.
Petra was truly one-of-a-kind: free-spirited, fun-loving, generous and fiercely loyal. Unfamiliar with the term "acquaintance," she dispensed her greatest gift, friendship, without reservation or judgment. In the great wheel of humanity and love, she was indeed part of the hub and reveled in connecting others as much as she did in her own connections. She was the original social network. Quick to lend an ear, a shoulder or the shirt off her back to anyone in need, Petra was also sought after for her wise and candid advice delivered in a way that only she could. She touched so many lives and will sorely be missed. Her family takes great comfort, however, in knowing that she is already making new friends and dancing with angels.
Petra is survived by her son Marc McCracken (Julie Downie) and four daughters Pascale McCracken (Steven Wilson), Michele McCracken, Nicole Williams, and Pia DeDeyn (Ross DeDeyn), as well as two granddaughters Vivienne McCracken and Mercer DeDeyn. All of them will miss her dearly, will cherish their precious memories of love and laughter, and will forever remember her beautiful spirit.
A memorial service will be held at 5:00pm Saturday, May 10th on the beach at 18th Street in Manhattan Beach followed by a celebration of her life at the family's home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Jane Goodall Institute.
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