Donald Williams, 95
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Aug. 1, 1917 - Dec. 3, 2012
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30am on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at St. Michael's Catholic Church in St. Cloud for Donald Williams, 95, of St. Cloud who died December 3, 2012 at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud. Rev. Mark Innocenti will officiate and burial will be held on Friday, December 7, 2012 at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. Relatives and friends may call from 4:30-7:30pm on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in St. Cloud, and one hour prior to Mass on Thursday at the church.
Donald Williams was born to Clyde and Maude Garven Williams on August 1, 1917 on a ranch near Farnam, NE. He and his twin sister were the fifth and sixth of 10 children. He attended school in the Farnam area and graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan College, in Lincoln, NE where he played football, basketball, and was on the track team. He was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity and was elected to the Blue-Key Scholarship Association.
Don taught mathematics and served as a coach at Dawson High School in Nebraska before joining the Navy in 1942. It was in Dawson that he met his first wife, Rosemary. He received his commission as an Ensign in November, 1942 and began training in Communications. He and Rosemary were married in Miami, FL in December, 1942. After finishing his training, he served on a destroyer escort in the Pacific and attended post-graduate school in Annapolis. He was discharged at the end of 1945. He later served as a Communications Officer on a destroyer tender in the Mediterranean during the Korean War and was honorably discharged from the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1952.
After his separation from the service in 1945, he worked as an interviewer with the US Employment Service, then as a training officer for the Veterans Administration in Lincoln. He served as a Contract Negotiator in Fargo ND, and later worked as Chief of Volunteers in Minot, ND. In 1959, he and Rosemary moved their family from Moorhead, MN to St. Cloud where he took the position of Chief of Recreation Therapy at the VA Hospital where he worked until his retirement in 1974. Rosemary died in January, 1978 and he married Jean Nies Laudenbach in April, 1982.
Don was very active in volunteer work after his retirement. He worked with RSVP and served on their board. He also served on various other volunteer and non-profit boards. He tutored students in math at St. Anthony's School, volunteered at the St. Cloud Hospital and spent many years as Volunteer Coordinator for the VITA/TCE Tax Program. He was a member of the Eagles, the American Legion, a past member of the Knights of Columbus and was a member of St. Michaels Church.
Don was a very kind, generous, loving man whose family meant everything to him. He was always interested in other people and what was going on in their lives. He enjoyed visiting with family and friends, traveling, playing cards, reading, doing crossword puzzles, golf, and especially watching the Twins and the Vikings. He greatly enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play in their various sports or perform in music. He loved music and played the banjo and guitar in his younger days.
He is survived by his wife, Jean; children, Stephen (Kathy) of St. Cloud, Jim (Jan) of Boise, ID, Julie (Ron Laughlin) of Minneapolis; stepchildren, Charles W. (Sarah) Laudenbach of Spokane, WA, and Jon Laudenbach (Jennifer Daru) of Kentfield, CA; grandchildren, Annie Devericks; Kurt, Luke, Jodi and Mitch Williams; Caitlin Laughlin; Kevin, Geri, and Carson Laudenbach; great-grandchildren Paul, Claire, John and Hannah Devericks; Reagan and Reese Williams; and a brother, Russell (Charlot) of Nebraska.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his first wife, Rosemary Williams; brothers and sisters, Virginia, Geneva, Cecil, Wayne, twin sister Doris, Billy, Lois, and Dale; and infant grandson, Ryan Laudenbach.
The family wants to express their gratitude to the staff of Bldg. 50 at the Veterans Administration Health Care Center for their care and support.
Williams Dingmann Funeral Homes
1900 Veterans Drive St. Cloud, MN 56303
Published in the St. Cloud Times on Dec. 4, 2012