One of Maine’s best-known on-air news anchors and reporters plans to retire in mid-December after 32 years at News Center Maine.

Cindy Williams, who has worked for WCSH-TV in Portland for 32 years, made the surprise announcement Wednesday in a letter to viewers and on her social media pages. She was 25 years old when she came to Maine.

“These last two years have been more than trying for all of us,” Williams wrote. “Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to give us all pause. Add two spinal surgeries into the mix and I’ve had a lot of time to think. COVID has been a period of reassessment for many of us. The bottom line for me: it’s time for me to make a change.”

Williams said she hopes to spend more time with her aging parents and sons, as well as pursue an interest that many may not have been aware of.

Williams described herself as a “real estate fanatic” who has been a licensed real estate agent for five years. She said it is gratifying and fun to help people buy and sell homes.

Williams’ husband, former News Center Maine news anchor Lee Nelson, retired about a year ago.

“I work with some of the most amazing, passionate, driven, caring people I have ever known,” Williams wrote. “So lucky. And for 32 years, I’ve had the privilege of your trust which has meant more than I can possibly say.

“There’s more to say, and that will come, but more than anything, I just want to thank you for allowing me into your homes for all these years,” she said.

Williams co-anchors the noon, 5:30 and 6 p.m. newscasts for WCSH. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985 with a degree in radio, television and film, according to her News Center Maine biography.

She worked at TV stations in Mississippi and New Hampshire before moving to WCSH in 1989. She has won several awards from the Associated Press and the Maine Association of Broadcasters for her anchoring and reporting.

In addition to Nelson, News Center Maine lost Bill Green, another notable on-air personality, to retirement in recent years. Green, who covered the outdoors for News Center Maine for 47 years, retired in October 2019.

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