WILLIAMSBURG - Hugh "Skip" Daniel Williams, 73, CDR Coast Guard (Ret.) P.E., of Williamsburg, Va., died on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, after a prolonged illness.
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He was preceded in death by his sister, Suzanne; his parents, Frederick Daniel Williams and Selma Conley Williams; and stepmother, Minnie Ammon Williams. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 51 years, Kari; his son, David and wife, Bonnie; his son, Thomas and wife, Lisa; his grandchildren, Zachary, Megan, Lorelei, Sara and Thomas Williams, and Brianna Markwood; his sister, Judith and husband, Steve; and his mother-in-law, Margit Nordhus; as well as many other loving relatives and dear friends.
Skip was born Feb. 14, 1938 in Pittsburgh, Pa. He graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1956 and entered the Coast Guard Academy. While sailing on the USCG Training Barque Eagle as a cadet, he met Kari in Bergen, Norway on his first stop and stayed in contact via letters and during summer visits. They were married on June 11, 1960 in Mt. Lebanon Presbyterian Church, shortly after his graduation with a bachelor of science.
He served on active duty with the Coast Guard with distinction in many capacities of command throughout his tenure to include: service at sea on the Yakutat, Loran duty in Southern Italy, teaching OCS cadets in Yorktown, and at headquarters in Washington, D.C. His most notable service achievement was to set up, train and lead an elite cadre of personnel known as the Atlantic Strike Team, whose responsibility was the rapid response for containment and clean-up of massive oil and chemical spills. Many major environmental disasters were averted throughout the world through the exemplary efforts of this highly dedicated and professional team. At the San Diego Naval Diving School, he graduated first in his class, while also being the oldest. For his success in this command duty, he was personally awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by then-Secretary of Transportation William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. After this assignment, he served on detached duty with the State Department in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency after which he retired from active service. During his time in the Coast Guard, Skip attended the University of Maryland where he achieved a masters degree with honors in chemical engineering and he became a professional engineer. He also achieved a master of science in administration, international commerce from George Washington University.
After his honorable service in the Coast Guard, Skip subsequently worked for Mobil Oil Corp in New York, as the technical director for Norpol Environmental Services in Hvalstad, Norway. In 1987, Skip returned once again to Williamsburg where he worked as a building inspector for James City County. Skip relocated to Chicago in 1990 to work as an environmental response coordinator for Amoco. There he volunteered to help assist with the unprecedented clean-up of the massive oil spills on the vessel he designed called the Al Wasit after the Iraqi retreat from Kuwait in 1991.
In 1992, Skip and Kari eventually settled back in Williamsburg permanently, the place they loved best. He worked as a vice president for Hudson Maritime Services, as a consultant with Norwegian Marine Services, as a safety engineer with Jefferson Labs, and eventually as a train conductor with Busch Gardens.
Skip was active in several organizations to include: member of the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church and former church elder, and a member of the Williamsburg Masonic Lodge. Prior to joining this lodge, his Masonic accomplishments included being a past master of Semper Paratus Lodge in Washington, D.C. He was also a member of the New York Yacht Club, and served on the Architectural Planning and Review Board for the city of Williamsburg.
In his leisure time, Skip enjoyed reading, taking long walks down Duke of Gloucester Street, helping others, and inventing products to save lives. He currently holds two patents, the first being a oil storage container and water separator and the next is a utility patent related to smoke and CO2 detection, which if utilized could save thousands of lives each year.
A memorial service will be held at 11am on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185. CDR Williams will receive full honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a to-be-determined date in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Hugh Williams' honor to The Salvation Army, Doctors without Borders, or a charity of your choice. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.
Published in Daily Press from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2011