June 16, 1922 - March 8, 2014
Resident of Menlo Park
Ernest ("Ernie") Loudon Williams of Menlo Park, 91, died at home on March 8, surrounded by his extended family.
Born in Benton City, Missouri, in 1922, Ernie was the great-great-great-great-grandson of John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A member of the Greatest Generation, Ernie served in the Pacific Theatre as an Army M.P. from 1943-1947, stationed in Japan, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands. He was awarded two Bronze Stars
for acts of heroism along with other medals; all of which were lost over 50 years ago, but were returned to Ernie in the last days of his life by the veterans community liaison from VITAS Hospice Care.
After returning home from the War, Ernie met the love of his life, Virginia Arcuri, in Kansas City. The two eloped in August 1950, and formally celebrated their marriage with loved ones at a ceremony on New Year's Eve of the same year. The couple had two daughters (Victoria and Angela) in Missouri, and moved to Menlo Park in 1956, where they had their third child, Chris. Ernie and Virginia have lived at the same home in Menlo Park since 1962.
Ernie spent his civilian career as a machinist at Ampex and Varian, where he worked on parts used in the animatronic birds for Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room and on firing pins used in NASA's Skylab.
Above all, Ernie was a dedicated family man. He worked nights so that his wife could work days as a teacher, but when he returned home from work, half-asleep, he would play board games like "Mystery Date" with his kids. He enjoyed taking his family on long road trips (including to Disneyland and Missouri) and to picnics at the beach. He was happy to have been able to meet his four great-grandchildren, who called him "Papa." Known for his love of milkshakes, donuts, and pies, Ernie eschewed the advice that "life is short, eat dessert first," and instead, ate dessert for every meal. He was known for his delicious homemade ice cream (and perhaps better known for how much he ate of it).
He is survived by his wife Virginia Williams, three children Vicki Williams (Patrick) of San Carlos, Angela Merlone (Steven) of Menlo Park, and Chris Williams of Roseville, five grandchildren Chiara Portner of San Carlos, Joe Merlone of Boston, Gina Marek of San Carlos, Mike Merlone of San Francisco, and Aaron Williams of Roseville, four great-grandchildren, as well as his sister Mary Virginia Overkamp of New Florence, MO. Services honoring Ernie will be held at Alta Mesa Cemetery Main Chapel at 695 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto at 12:30 on Friday March 21. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and would like to thank VITAS for their care of Ernie.