Roy Marie Williams was born to Roy Milton Smith and Charlotte Boynton Smith on July 7, 1931, and spent much of her life in Belton, Texas. Her father's lumberyard struggled during the Depression, but her mother was able to piece together a gracious home. Her mother's inventiveness may have inspired Williams' later talent as a quilter with a vibrant sense of color and experimentation. In the late 1990s, she started central Texas' first chapter of Project Linus, an organization that makes and donates quilts to critically ill children.
Williams raised three children as a single parent in Louisiana in the 1960s, enrolled in business school, and launched a career in insurance administration.
In the early 1970s, Williams moved with her youngest daughter to west Texas. Inheriting her grandparents' farmhouse took her back to Belton, Texas. One guiding maxim that Williams followed was "very well, then, said the little, small red hen, I will do it myself." She was an inspiring model of making the most of whatever resources were at hand, and sharing them with treasured friends.
In 2006, Williams moved to Durham, North Carolina. She passed away on January 15, 2013.