Donald Williams, 82, of Kingston passed away Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, at Tiffany Court, Northampton Street, Kingston, surrounded by his family.
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Born June 14, 1930, in Kingston, he was the son of the late Samuel and Ann Clemow Williams. He attended local grade schools and was a graduate of the former Kingston High School, Class of 1949, where he was the fullback on the football team and wore jersey number "38."
After graduating from Kingston High School, Don worked briefly at Tele-Radio, Wilkes-Barre, before enlisting in the Army. While serving in Korea, Don was a medic in the 24th Infantry Division. During the last few months of his service, Don was stationed in Japan and was the starting quarterback for the famed 34th Infantry Regiment Dragons. He was written up in the Army's Taro Leaf as possessing a "Catapult Arm" and received much local press for his success on the gridiron in leading the Dragons to an undefeated season in Japan. During his time in the service, Don was awarded the Occupation Medal, the Japan-Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars, the Combat Infantry Badge and the United Nations Service Medal.
After returning from Korea, Don resided on South Loveland Avenue, Kingston, and worked at the former Blue Ribbon Cake Co., Kingston, for more than 18 years before the facility was closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes. For the next 20-plus years, he worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at Graterford Prison, Graterford, the State Correctional Institution at Dallas and at Retreat State Prison, Hunlock Creek.
Don was the grandson of Edward C. Williams, who in 1891, at age 10, began playing the fife and drums with his two brothers, Samuel and Thomas, in the annual West Side Memorial Day parade from Kingston to the Forty Fort Cemetery. The elder Williams (Edward) went on to participate in the parade for 70 years, with his grandson (Donald) joining him in 1953 when he returned from Korea. This past Memorial Day marked the 60th year that Don continued the 122-year tradition begun by his grandfather (Edward) in 1891.
After retiring, Don enjoyed many of his passions, including driving his 1962 Chevrolet Impala, attending regional gun and car shows and serving as post commander and chaplain for Joseph E. Conlon Plains American Legion Post 558. For many years Don was an active member of the American Legion Military Funeral Honor Guard, which participated in funeral services for veterans throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Don received special recognition from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for this service.
Don was of the Protestant faith. He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Anthracite Post 283, Kingston, and the Korean War Veterans Association.
He was preceded in death by sisters, Caroline Jenkins and Sandy Connelly, and a brother, Nelson (Sonny) Williams.
Surviving are his former spouse, Mary Raykovitz Williams, Kingston; a son, Donald and his wife, Janine Drogalis Williams, Harleysville; a daughter and her husband, Diana and Dennis LeVasseur, Chester Springs; four grandchildren, Lauren W., Andrew L., Lisa W. and Bryan W.; several nieces and nephews.
The funeral for Donald with full military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Friday from Hugh P. Boyle & Son Funeral Home Inc., 416 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, with Deacon Patrick J. Massino, chaplain of Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Wilkes-Barre, officiating.
Entombment will be in the mausoleum at Chapel Lawn Memorial Park, Dallas.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. until the time of the service Friday.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Sacred Heart, 600 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre.
Published in Citizens' Voice from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14, 2012