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Robert J. Williams

Obituary
  • " My great grandmother Katherine was sisters with Bobby's..."
    - Tom Culver
  • "Thank you for your service to our country!"

Robert J. Williams January 27, 1924 July 23, 2013 Robert J. Williams (89), of State College, formerly of Greensburg, died July 23, 2013, at home. He was born Jan. 27, 1924 in Pittsburgh, a son of the late Thomas and Louisa Williams. He was a member of Zion's Lutheran Church. He received a bachelor's degree from Penn State University and a Master's Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He achieved success on the gridiron playing for Penn State under Coach Bob Higgins from 1942-1943 then again from 1946-47. He held the tailback position (quarterback) and safety on the storied 1948 Cotton Bowl team. During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater as member of the Marine Corps llth Gun Battalion. He was stationed in the Philippines before, during and after the Invasion. He liked to say he was waiting for MacArthur to arrive. Bob started his career as a teacher and football coach at Kane High School and later joined and subsequently retired from the teaching and coaching staff at Greensburg-Salem High School after a long and successful tenure. As a teacher of Problems of Democracy, he was proud of the responsible role his students played in their communities some of whom went on to be elected to federal, state and local offices. Teaching and coaching were his passions. Many of his students and athletes maintained contact with him over a 60 year period. The athletes who played for him credit "Chief" with successes later in life because of his efforts to instill the importance of pursuing an education. He was a member of the Pennsylvania High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. In his retirement, he became an avid fly fisherman and gardener. He was preceded in death by his wife and best friend, Elizabeth Williams. He is survived by his son, Robert and Terri Williams, of Greensburg; three daughters, Christine and Benson Lichtig, of State College, Rebecca Patontez, of Woodbridge, Va., Sally and George Inman, of Augusta, Ga. He was know as Pup Pup to his nine grandchildren, Aaron (Jean), Noah (Abby), Courtney, Brittany, George, Elizabeth, Aubrey (Tim), Jolene, and Jeb (Aubrie). He is also survived by five great-grandchildren. Interment with full military honors was Saturday, July 27, 2013, at the Westmoreland County Memorial Park. The family is grateful for the gifts of kindness and compassion given to them by the hospice team of the Home Nursing Agency, 201 Chestnut Street, Altoona, PA 16603-0352.

Published in Centre Daily Times on July 28, 2013
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