Mary Kate Williams, an aspiring model and fashion stylist from Lattingtown, died Feb. 13 after sustaining injuries in a fire at her family's home.
Family members said she was a kind and giving young woman who made fast friendships, loved animals and enjoyed photography. The Locust Valley High School graduate worked in a retail clothing store and was launching a modeling career.
She was extremely close to her parents, said her sister, Abby Williams of Manhattan.
"The heart of Mary was really her family," she said, calling her sister "the light of my parents' lives."
"She had two sisters and two brothers, and we were all very, very close," she said. "We really were each other's best friends."
Williams, 26, was the third of Mary and Tim Williams' five children. Born at Glen Cove Hospital, she attended Locust Valley public schools and completed the International Baccalaureate program in art at the high school, from which she graduated in 2006.
Most recently, she worked at the Zara store at Roosevelt Field and was focusing on her modeling career.
"She also loved styling," Abby Williams said. "Mary Kate was a lover of everything fashion. She loved clothing and handbags and shoes. And she had an amazing collection. She knew how to put together things that you would never think to put together yourself."
An avid animal lover, she had adopted stray kittens and frequently sent her sister photos of baby animals.
She was very generous in friendship, her sister said.
"I was blown away by how many people said she helped them," she said. "Anyone that was having a hard time, Mary Kate would take under her wing. She was a real champion for the underdog."
In addition to her parents and sister Abby, she is survived by her brothers, Jack Williams and Ted Williams, both of Lattingtown; sister, Lizzy Williams of Lattingtown; and many relatives, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's of Lattingtown Episcopal Church in Lattingtown. The Rev. Michael Sniffen, a former assistant rector at St. John's who now is rector of The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Mary Katharine Williams Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 123, Locust Valley, NY 11560. The scholarship is for Locust Valley High School students who wish to pursue a career in fashion and design. In addition, contributions may be made to the Locust Valley Fire Department, 228 Buckram Rd., Locust Valley, NY 11560.
Police have said the fire was not suspicious.