Richard “Dick” Williams, Jr., 87 , of Elburn, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Provena McAuley Manor in Aurora.
He was born July 25, 1924, the son of Richard Sr. and Vivian (James) Williams in Big Rock.
Dick grew up in Big Rock, and after graduating from Big Rock High School in 1942 he began working for Lyon Metal in Aurora for time. It wasn’t long before Dick heard the call of his country and he dutifully answered, entering into the United States Army Air Corp.
After his training, Dick was sent overseas as bombardier and viewed Italy from the air before his honorable discharge in 1945. Upon his return to civilian life, Dick began working at Dewey Nash Garage in Aurora as a manager.
Dick also returned to his high school sweetheart, Betty Holmberg. They celebrated their love on V-J Day, Aug. 8, 1945, when they were united in marriage in Batavia.
They began their new life together in the midst of a national celebration, but as life settled down, Dick and Betty did, too, making a home in Aurora for a time before moving to rural Elburn after their son Gary was born. They lived with Betty’s father following her mother’s passing, but when her father passed in 1987, they made the big move, a whole quarter of a mile, to their present home.
Dick and Chuck Swan managed a gas station and garage in Elburn on the south side of town for many years until working with his brother at the Big Rock Truck Stop. Before long, Elburn came calling again and Dick returned, this time beginning a career that would last almost 20 years at Northern Farm Service, where you could get just about anything you needed, a tank of gas, a wrench or the latest piece of local gossip, all delivered with Dick’s signature smile.
Dick was a proud member of both the Elburn American Legion and the 40 & 8 club, bringing back memories of his time in the service and the lifelong friendships he made. He was also a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award as a lifelong member of the Elburn Lion’s Club. Dick was also the last surviving member of the Elburn Fox Hunter’s Club, a “notorious bunch” whose reputation preceded them.
Dick had an incredible work ethic which left him little time for hobbies. Always moving, Dick was never at a loss for something to do. His yard was a thing of beauty and source of much pride as he trimmed, pulled weeds and rode on his Simplicity mower. When there was time, Dick liked to play Pitch with friends. It was his family he loved most, and although his body failed him, his spirit lives on, and the memories left behind will be treasured by not only his family, but by the community he served for so many years.
Dick is survived by his loving wife, Betty; his son, Gary Williams of Mountain Home, Wyo.; five grandchildren, Karen Stephen and her son Cole of Wasilla, Alaska, Christy Blackburn and her three children, Micah, Mavin, and Tavain, of Houston, Texas, Samantha Williams of Colorado Springs, Colo., Randy Williams and Jayme Williams, both of Laramie, Wyo.; several nieces and nephews and a community of friends.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Francis Williams; and two siblings, Betty, and James, who died in infancy.
Visitation was held on Monday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A funeral service to celebrate his life was held at 3 p.m. Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie, pastor of the Elburn Community Congregational Church, officiated. Interment followed at West Big Rock Cemetery in Big Rock.
A memorial has been established in Dick’s name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Dick Williams Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.