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Erik Burgess, Published October 26 2013

Del Rae Williams: The accountant who hates bookkeeping

MOORHEAD - Despite her decades of work as an accountant, Del Rae Williams is perhaps a little bit more of a people person than a numbers person.

“I hate bookkeeping,” Williams said with a laugh during an interview last week. “Because you almost always get asked, ‘Will you be the treasurer for this (organization)?’ Oh, it’s so not my thing.”

Williams, who has helped other people run campaigns 11 times, is running her first campaign for herself – for mayor of Moorhead. The election is Nov. 5.

She is now retired, but Williams spent about 16 years running her own accounting office and working for Eide Bailly. It’s not the future she expected as a teen growing up in Minot, N.D. She planned to be a psychiatrist but took a couple of accounting classes in high school.

“My idea at the time was that I was going to make so much money, I really should have a handle on the finances,” she said. “Doesn’t that sound like a 16-year-old?”

Now in retirement and an empty nester – her 20-year-old daughter is at Minnesota State University Moorhead and her 18-year-old son is at Winona State University – Williams said she spends her time helping others get involved in the community.

Whether it’s connecting people through the League of Women Voters, mentoring a group of young adults or volunteering at Churches United for the Homeless, Williams enjoys being a familiar face. She calls herself the “connecter,” and perhaps more jokingly, a “queen of references.”

“I like to see people get real excited about things and get more involved,” she said.

But Williams is quick to point out she’s not an extrovert by any means, like her husband, Ron, who she says draws energy from being around people.

Instead, Williams is fine at home alone with a book. She tries to read one or two a week. Thursday morning, a stack of hardcovers towered next to the couch in her pale blue living room. Normally, she points out, they don’t get that high.

She likes to read e-books or borrow from the library, and the books she does own she donates once she’s finished – the accountant who doesn’t like bookkeeping or keeping books.