Robert Gordon Williams was born in Lafayette on July 4, 1931, to Arthur Verne “Art” Williams and Mildred Laura (Thewlies) Williams. Bob graduated from Jefferson High School in 1949.
While at Jeff, Bob managed the football and basketball teams for two years and the track team for three years, including the basketball team that won the 1948 IHSAA State Championship. Bob took movies of basketball and football games for the Jeff Athletic Department for 25 years. He joined the Jeff Camera Club his sophomore year, beginning a lifelong connection with photography.
He married JoAnn Jones (1931-1999) on August 17, 1951. Bob and JoAnn had two children, Dawn Lezlie (Williams) Ross (born 1952) and Dana Gordon “Dan” Williams (1954-2013). Bob married H. Ann Smith October 6, 2000.
Bob’s first job, at age 12, was as a caddy at the Lafayette Country Club, and he played golf for 75 years, getting six hole-in-ones. He managed a 165-customer paper route in Highland Park during World War II. While in high school, Bob worked as an usher at the Mars Theater and at the New Market Meat Department on Main Street. After graduation, Bob worked for the Lafayette Dental Lab.
In 1950, Bob joined Berry’s Camera Shop (est. 1948) as a salesman. Bob purchased the business from Herman Berry in 1972 and operated it until 1997, when he sold it to Dawn and Dan. After retirement, he continued to work part time until 2007.
Bob served in the U.S. Army 38th Infantry, Headquarters Battalion, Second Division from October 1951 to July 1953, reaching the rank of Sergeant. After basic training in Breckenridge, Kentucky, he was sent to Korea to do intelligence and reconnaissance. He was sent to Koje Island off the south coast of Korea in May 1952. In July 1952 he was moved to Chorwon, where he was stationed on Hill 347 near Pork Chop Hill and Old Baldy, calling in rounds of artillery coming and going from the battle.
Bob joined Bethany Presbyterian Church in 1953, serving as an elder and a deacon, and attended Lafayette Great Banquet #32 and was the official photographer for the next 100 banquets. He was a charter member of the Breakfast Optimist Club and helped build the Armstrong Park baseball complex. In addition to photography and golf, Bob also enjoyed woodworking and travel. He was part of a supper club that attempted to try a new restaurant every Tuesday for more than 20 years. Bob’s Fourth of July birthday pool party and fish fry was legendary among friends and family.
Bob was preceded in death by his first wife JoAnn, his son Dan, his brother Jerry, and his sister Phyllis Walker. He is survived by his wife H. Ann Williams; his daughter Dawn Ross (Jerry); his daughter-in-law Valerie Carr; his sister Midge Habben; grandchildren Alison Williams (Jeremiah Provo) of Bonita Springs FL, Benjamin L. Ross (Jason Griffith) of Indianapolis, and Laura O’Connor (Ryan) of Lafayette; and great-grandson Gavin O’Connor; step children Chuck Geisler of Louisville KY, Suzann Lange (Criss) of Montrose CO, Nicole Skinner (Spencer) of Valparaiso IN; step grandchildren Campbell, Henry, and Kell Geisler, Lily Wills (Craig), Kalli Bridges, and Alex and Zach Skinner; and step great-grandchildren Dallas and Louisa Wills.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 3305 Longlois Dr. Lafayette, IN 47904 with Rev Kevin Bowers and Dr. Donna Enersen officiating.
In lieu of flowers those wishing may contribute in Bob’s name to either Bethany Presbyterian Church or Lafayette Urban Ministry.Read More