Tributes for

Pelham, Isobel W.

Pelham, Isobel W., former President of the Junior League of Washington, D.C., died at her home in San Clemente, California on November 10, at the age of 75. Family members said the cause of death was from complications due to multiple myeloma.

Born to Isobel Pirie Williams and Benjamin Davis Williams Jr. of Long Island, New York on September 18, 1937, Isobel and twin brother, Rodney W. Williams, joined their older brother, Benjamin D. Williams III, at their home in Sea Cliff, NY. Isobel graduated from Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, MD in 1955, and later attended Katharine Gibbs School in New York City. In 1957, she married Peter Dunlap Pelham, a 1955 graduate of Williams College from Darien, CT. For 47 years together, the Pelhams dedicated themselves to family, education, and the betterment of society through the betterment of the mind. After Peter's death in 2005, Isobel moved to San Clemente, CA to be near her family. She loved tending her garden, being physically active, and backgammon nights with her family - sharing stories and encouraging them by turns to work for a greater good.

"Isobel Pelham combined an instinctive empathy for and interest in people of all nationalities and a special creative spirit with a capacity to manage organizations and make them run effectively," observed Hedrick Smith, a family friend of 50 years. "She had an innate ability to make friends with strangers, to open doors and to cultivate relations across national borders. She was a natural ambassador and so she brought a cooperative feeling and atmosphere to virtually every endeavor that she touched."

She is survived by three children, Melissa Isobel Pelham of San Clemente, CA, Peter Graham Pelham of Bethesda, MD and Samuel Pearce Pelham, also of San Clemente, CA; and five grandchildren, Warren, Graham, Samuel, Cameron and Malcolm.

In memory of an extraordinary life dedicated to the service of others, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, friends simply find a few hours to volunteer for their communities.

A celebration of her life will be held in the spring.