Baseball was always a part of Madelaine "Babe" Williams' life and family. She died unexpectedly Tuesday in her South Buffalo home not far from Cazenovia Park, where a diamond is named for her husband, Edwin "Cy" Williams. She was 88.
Her husband is Buffalo's most acclaimed baseball scout and met his future wife more than 70 years ago while both were playing baseball in Cazenovia Park. They have been together ever since.
"She was a wonderful wife and mother, and she understood and loved baseball. I was lucky to have her," Cy Williams said Wednesday.
She was born Madelaine Currey in Buffalo and picked up the nickname Babe because she was the youngest of three children. She graduated from South Park High School, where she was an outstanding athlete.
Mrs. Williams raised six children, and during her husband's frequent scouting trips on the road for the Detroit Tigers, she acted as both mother and father.
"It was a good life," Mrs. Williams told The Buffalo News in 1983. "Some of my friends wondered how I could take it, with him being away so much. It wasn't that tough. We trusted each other. The hard part was raising the kids. But I enjoyed every one of them."
The feeling was mutual.
"My mom held the family together," said son James of Buffalo.
"Mom was so special, she was everywhere for us," added daughter Maureen Bowen of Buffalo. "She was very whimsical, the kind of person who always made you smile."
Also surviving are sons Robert and Edwin, both of Buffalo, and Thomas of Amherst; daughter Janet Gorski of Amherst; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon Saturday in St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 1140 Abbott Road.