Thomas J. Williams, Jr., 89, rural Columbia City, died Friday, July 15, 2016 at Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne where he was admitted Thursday after collapsing outside a local restaurant.
He was born Jan. 24, 1927 in Kokomo, a son of the late Glen A. and Stella (Soots) Williams.
He completed his education at Central High School, Fort Wayne.
On Dec. 21, 1944 he entered the U. S. Navy. He was honorably discharged July 15, 1946.
On Nov. 11, 1949 he was united in marriage to Helen Marie DeWert. They made their home at Blue Lake moving to Colorado in 1978 and returning to Whitley County in 1989. Helen died May 17, 2012.
In the early 1960’s, he worked for Joslyn Stainless Steel in Fort Wayne and then Zollner Corporation. For 22 years he worked for Fab-Weld, Inc., Fort Wayne retiring in 1992. From 1990 to 1998, he worked at Norm’s Sport Shop, Larwill. Along with his wife, he also managed the Ideal Fish & Game Club, Churubusco.
An avid gun trader, he was also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, the Albion and Churubusco Gun Clubs, and the Amateur Trapshooting Association. As a competitive trap shooter, he had many awards to his credit. In the 1950s, he raced racing dirt track stock cars at Fort Wayne Raceway, Warsaw and other area tracks with his #13 and #52 cars. He enjoyed deer and elk hunting and liked to fly fish.
He was a 50 plus year member of the Masons belonging to Churubusco Masonic Lodge 515 F&AM.
He is survived by a son: Donald E. (Shirley) Williams, Churubusco; a daughter, Anita M. Fletcher, Florida; six grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; three great great grandchildren; a brother, Charles A.. Williams, New Hampshire; and a sister, Arlene Starry, Fort Wayne.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Glen, Paul, Walter and John Williams; sisters, Wanda McHenry and Marilyn Fields.
The funeral service is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. Burial will be in the South Park Annex Cemetery with the Korean War Veterans presenting honors. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials are to Riley Children’s Hospital.