Fred Williamson, 91, of Kingston, died Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 17 years, Ellen Probert Williamson; two children, John Sidney Williamson, Blue Bell, Pa., and Anne Lillian Williamson, Knoxville; two stepsons, John B.C. Probert and Richard H. Probert; grandchildren, Amy Williamson, and Natasha Williamson McGlasson; and stepgrandchildren, Erinne Barnett, Cara Butts, Justin Probert and Jesse Probert.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Virginia Probert Williamson; his parents, John W. Williamson and Lillian Royle Williamson, Detroit; and his grandparents, Charles and Hannah Elizabeth Williamson, Kansas, and Thomas Oliver and Annie Royle, Manchester, England. He was born in Detroit and was a former resident of Grosse Point, Mich. He graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology in chemical engineering in 1943 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. He completed the 17-week infantry basic training at the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Joseph T. Robinson near Little Rock, Ark. These men were scheduled to replace those soldiers who were wounded or killed in the invasion of France. He, however, was selected to attend Ohio State University
for an engineering review and further assignment within the Army. He was transferred to the Manhattan Atomic Bomb Project (directed by J. Robert Oppenheimer) at Los Alamos, N.M. His assignment at Los Alamos was to work in the metallurgical laboratory and in the high radiation foundry on the plutonium bomb project. This bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki to end World War II. This bomb saved not only thousands of American military personnel who were scheduled to invade Japan but also saved additional Japanese people who would have fought house to house if there had been an invasion of their home islands. After returning to civilian life, he was employed in rocket and aerospace programs, where he met and worked with Wernher Von Braun and his Peenemunde, Germany, scientists who had been responsible for designing the V-2 missiles which bombarded England during World War II. Later, in Huntsville, Ala., he was employed by the Boeing Co. on the Saturn V Booster which propelled the first manned Lunar Lander to the Moon. He taught night school courses at Roane State Community College, served as chairman of the Kingston Regional Planning Commission and was one of the six founders of the Humane Society of Roane County. Highlights of his life were being chairman of the board and later becoming an elder at Morrison Hill Christian Church.
The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, in Morrison Hill Christian Church. Memorial service will follow at 7 p.m., with Minister Dennis Mullen and Minister David Pryor officiating. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to Morrison Hill Christian Church, 106 Morrison Hill Circle, Kingston, TN 37763. Kyker Funeral Home, Kingston, is in charge of arrangements. www.kykerfuneralhomes.com