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Former Graduate Student Dies in Accident
Elizabeth "Beth" Storm Williams, 53, a former graduate student at Colorado State University, and her husband, E. Tom Thorne, died Dec. 29, 2004, in a motor vehicle accident near the Colorado-Wyoming border. Dr. Williams was well known at Colorado State for her research work and original observations of chronic wasting disease in deer.
Dr. Williams’ interest in research began at an early age. While a student at the University of Maryland, she worked in her father's research lab on campus; after completing a Bachelor of Science degree, her passion led to veterinary medicine and animal health research. She spent the next four years at Purdue University in veterinary medicine. After graduating from Purdue in 1977, she was accepted into the doctoral program for veterinary pathology at Colorado State University. Her graduate study brought her fame as she determined that observed health problems in deer were caused by what is now known as chronic wasting disease (CWD).
While at Colorado State, she completed her PhD and a residency in veterinary pathology, graduating in 1981, and she met and married Tom Thorne. He was a wildlife veterinarian conducting research with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
They dedicated their professional lives to solving wildlife problems and enjoying life in Laramie. She pursued a career at the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, where she taught the undergraduate program and was a board-certified pathologist. She also was an adjunct professor at several universities, including Colorado State. She was active in research to better understand and control CWD and various other wildlife diseases; and the couple led the effort in Wyoming to save the black-footed ferret from extinction.