Richard E. Williams, 88, a Helena resident temporarily living in Bozeman, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, at Springmeadows Assisted Living Center.
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Dick was born to Alton K. and Alice C. Williams in Lewistown, Montana, on Feb. 3, 1927. As a young boy, he moved to Helena with his family. He was raised in Helena, attended Jefferson School, Central School and Helena High School, graduating in 1945.
After high school he was drafted into the U.S. Army serving in Japan at the end of World War II. He returned to Helena and briefly was employed by the Highway Department for the State of Montana where he met the love of his life, Nellie Periman. He went to work for the Montana National Guard in 1948, retiring from his service to the nation and state in 1986. Richard was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Meritorious Service Medal.
Richard was a longstanding member of St. Mary Catholic Community, was a member of the Parish Council, and served as an usher at the church. Serving those who had served our country was a priority for Dick and he volunteered at the VA Medical Center-Fort Harrison for over 20 years. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. Along with his brother, Byron, he was an avid booster of the Helena High Bengals and Carroll College Saints. Much to his daughters' chagrin, he was a vocal fan of the University of Montana Grizzlies.
Dick and Nellie were married on July 2, 1949, in Helena. Five children were born to this union, all of whom survive him: Alton Williams of Great Falls; Alan Williams (Vickie Brunell) of Redmond, Washington; Arlene Eliason (Todd) of Bozeman; Alice Anderson (Scott) of Selah, Washington, and Aaron Williams of Tumwater, Washington. In addition he is survived by his loving grandchildren: Marcus Eliason (Victoria) of Houston, Texas; Amy Eliason of Spokane, Washington; Brooke Anderson of Phoenix, Arizona; and Nick Anderson of Selah, Washington.
Preceding him in death was his wife of 28 years, Nellie Williams; father, Alton K. Williams; mother, Alice Anderson Zion; step-father, Art Zion; brother, Byron Williams; sister-in-law, Gwen Williams; sister-in-law, Hanna Mary Periman; and daughter-in-law, Debbie Willson Williams. Richard leaves behind his nieces (Denise Linjanen, Joyce Williams, Carla Williams, and Jan Williams), cousins, and many co-workers and friends along with his compassionate caregivers at Springmeadows.
A visitation will be held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, at Retz Funeral Home. The family will be receiving friends from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, at St. Mary Catholic Community. A vigil will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, at St. Mary Catholic Community. A Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, at St. Mary Catholic Community. Please join the family following the Funeral Mass in the social hall at St. Mary Catholic Community. A Rite of Committal with full military honors will follow the reception at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the
-Montana Chapter, 3203 3rd Ave. N., #203, Billings, MT 59101-1945; or Fort Harrison Museum, P.O. Box 125, Fort Harrison, MT 59636. Please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Dick.
Retz Funeral Home
315 East Sixth Ave
Helena, MT 59601
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 20, 2015