Joseph L. Williams, 75, died Thursday, August 15, 2019 at the Kindred Hospital in Sugar Land, after bravely fighting multiple sclerosis his entire adult life and after a series of illnesses in recent months.
He leaves his wife of 57 years, Dianne (Gates) Williams; son, Joseph Jr. and his wife, JoAnn; son Alfred; daughter, Amalia Tidwell and her husband Steven; son, John and his wife Gabriela; daughter, Jane Marinho and her husband Ronaldo; brother, James and his wife Sherry; sister, Patricia and her husband Matthew; nine grandchildren; and many friends.
Born in Scranton, PA the oldest son of Joe and Anna (Best) Williams, he lived in numerous cities across the country before settling in Wichita, KS during his grade school years. After graduating from Wichita’s Kapaun High School in 1961, he attended Wichita University (now Wichita State University), where he met his wife, Dianne. They were married in 1962 at All Saints Catholic Church in Wichita. In 1963, he went to work for AT&T, where with his growing family he lived in Dodge City, KS; Amarillo, TX; and Kansas City, MO before transferring to Houston with Southwestern Bell. He retired from Southwestern Bell at the age of 48, getting a head start on the good, retired life in Richmond, TX.
Active with his children, he coached baseball, refereed soccer, and served as an adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts. He was able to accomplish all of this despite being stricken with multiple sclerosis in his early adult years. He earned the nickname “Slow Joe” but didn’t let multiple sclerosis slow him down from the things he loved to do.
Mr. Williams was active with the Knights of Columbus Council 4204 in Sugar Land, and was also a member of the Fourth Degree with the Kapaun Assembly 2721 in Katy. He served as VA Visitation Chairman, Financial Secretary, and was recognized as Knight of the Month numerous times and on one occasion as Knight of the Year. He volunteered with the Oakbend Hospital in Richmond, TX. He also served with the Fort Bend County Republican Party, where he was elected as a Precinct Chairman.
Obsessed with genealogy, he learned the ropes from his uncle Ben Williams who worked on the Williams family tree. He used that information to work tirelessly on his wife’s family tree, identifying their migration from Germany to New Orleans before settling in Galveston, TX.
One of his greatest joys was goofing off with his grandchildren. Known as “Papa,” he had many rapid-fire “Papa-isms” at the ready: “It’s a Nanny ring” when the phone rang; “I’ll be back…God willing the creek doesn’t rise,” whenever he was departing; “Give that guy a clap” when cut off by one of the many notorious Houston drivers; and “Pop the top on a cool one” after a Houston Astros homerun.
A funeral service was held August 21 at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church of Sugar Land, with private burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Galveston, TX.