Longtime rotarian Jim Williams passes away
July 5, 2011
Jim Williams passed away suddenly at his home near Tabernash on Thursday, June 30, 2011. Jim was born in Bartlesville, Okla., on Jan. 28, 1929. He was the only child of Leonard and Melba Williams.
After graduating from Classen High School in Oklahoma City, he went to Oklahoma State University where he completed a Mechanical Engineering degree. In 1950, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was based in Colorado where he developed a lifelong love of the Rocky Mountain High Country.
While serving in an Engineering Unit as one of the only degreed engineers, he rapidly rose to the rank of Master Sergeant. Believing he was headed to the conflict in Korea, he boarded a troop ship. His unit was unloaded in Japan where they served in the army of occupation at Sugamo Prison. While there, he helped dismantle and destroy the materials of the gallows where high-ranking Japanese war criminals had been executed.
He returned to Oklahoma in 1952 and married Helen Maxine Bontly, who had waited for him there. He also returned to his job at Oklahoma Natural Gas Company as an engineer trainee. During a 36-year career with the gas distribution company, he rose to the position of vice president of Technical Support. Many of his closest friends were employees reporting to him, indicating what kind of boss he was.
The Williams are the parents of two daughters who also graduated from Oklahoma State. Barbara Williams stayed in Oklahoma, working for an interstate gas pipeline until 2000 when she moved to Kansas and retired last year. She was with her parents at the time of Jim’s death. Beverly moved to Colorado after graduation and married Dan Ferguson. They have raised two daughters, Lindsay and Stefanie, and live in Broomfield where Bev is the director of finance at BalSwan Children’s Center.
After his early retirement in 1986, Jim and Helen came to Grand County and built their retirement home near Tabernash. Jim, a longtime Rotarian, helped form the Granby Rotary Club. They were active in their church and served on the board of Grand County Community Concerts. For years they enjoyed skiing and hiking in the backcountry. They have many wonderful friends in Grand County.
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Jim got his wish to live for the rest of his life in the mountains. He is survived by his wife Helen; daughters Barbara Williams, Beverly Ferguson, her husband, Dan Ferguson; and their daughters Lindsay and Stefanie.
The family asks that instead of flowers, donations be made to BalSwan Children’s Center, 1145 E. 13th Street, Broomfield, Colorado 80020 or to Oklahoma State University Foundation, L B Williams Scholarship, 26-75600, 400 S. Monroe, Stillwater, OK 74075, Attn: Sandi Bliss.
A celebration of Jim’s life will take place at the Church of the Eternal Hills in Tabernash at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 9, with reception to follow in the fellowship hall. The Williams Family hopes that all of Jim’s friends will join them at this season’s final concert of the Grand County Community Concert Series on Sunday, July 10. Jim loved the Denver Brass and we are certain that he will be joining us in spirit for this concert.
Leave a condolence for the family, share a story about Jim or add a photo to Jim’s “Book of Memories” at http://www.grandcountymortuary.com. Mark H. Shearon, funeral director Grand County Mortuary, is in charge of arrangements, 970-725-9010.