Clarence John ‘Red’ Williams

Published Oct 20, 2017 at 4:00pm

Our dad, Clarence John “Red” Williams, 91, died early Wednesday morning, October 18, 2017, in the Skilled Nursing Facility at Rome Memorial Hospital where he had been a resident since July.

Born in Rome, NY, on April 28, 1926, he was a son of the late Humphrey D. and Mabel (Currie) Williams. Dad lived a full life. He was a three-sport athlete in Verona and Rome and played center on the 1943 RFA football team. He enlisted in the Navy prior to graduation but later received his diploma at the RFA 2008 commencement ceremony. He was particularly proud of his Navy service during World War II and worked as a radio specialist on ships in the Pacific Theater. One of the highlights of his later life was participating in an Honor Flight to Washington, DC, visiting the World War II Memorial with fellow veterans.

Dad socialized with his future wife, Florence Smith, at church, Grange, and sporting events, and they married on July 5, 1947, in Lowell Methodist Church. They honeymooned in the New England States where they visited several times during their nearly 55-year marriage. Mom left us too soon; she died on June 1, 2002.

Over the past ten years, Dad was blessed with a loving relationship with his constant companion, Katherine “Katie” Davis. We are happy that she has become such an important part of our family.

A 1950 graduate of Ithaca College, Dad took advantage of the GI bill to earn a teaching certification in business. After a brief stint as a teacher, Dad worked as a Contract Specialist in Procurement at Griffiss Air Force Base for 27 years, retiring on June 1, 1979. After he retired, he worked as a substitute teacher at RFA and for his brother Al’s snowplowing business.

In 1954, Dad, Mom, and 5-year-old Suzanne moved to Karlen Road in the Town of Lee where he would live for the next 50 years as an involved community member and where they also raised their other two children, Randy and Wendy.

Mom and Dad were founding members of Delta Methodist Church, which celebrates its 60th Anniversary this month. Dad held many leadership positions in the church including chair of the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council, and Pastor Parish Relations Committee. He also was a Lay Member to Annual Conference for many years and anchored the tenor section of the church choir.

Dad was also proud of his affiliation with the Lake Delta Fire Department which also dates back to the 1950s. He was a Life Member and in his later years, was a member of the department’s fire police. Dad also coached Randy on Lake Delta Little League baseball teams.

Beyond family, church, and community involvement, Dad enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling, splitting firewood, researching his family’s Welsh ancestry, and rooting against the Yankees (much to his family’s dismay). He and Mom travelled extensively with their RV during retirement, and Dad’s recollection of details of his travels to all 50 states was astounding. He also enjoyed listening to music and dancing and was the center of attention on the dance floor at many family weddings. Even at the end, Dad would sit in his wheelchair and tap his feet to Big Band sounds until his stroke robbed him of that joy this week.

After Dad was no longer able to drive because of his legal blindness, he and Katie were cared for by Cindy Gould who, among many other things, would drive them wherever they wanted to go. Thank you, Cindy.

We are also grateful for the phenomenal care that Dad received during his brief stay on the 2 North prior to his death and for the camaraderie between Dad and the Skilled Nursing Facility staff on the third floor.

Dad spent many hours the past few years reflecting on his life experiences and during these recollections, it was clear that his greatest source of pride came from the academic, professional, and sports accomplishments of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He often joked that he was surprised that he had any intelligence left, having passed it all on to his family. 

Dad is survived by three children and their spouses: Suzanne Seymour and her husband, Frank Seymour, Averill Park, NY; Randy Williams and his wife, Shay Daley, Dayton, IN; and Wendy Waters and her husband, Stephen Waters, Town of Lee, NY.

He is survived by grandchildren: Lisa (Seymour) Matte and her husband, William Matte, Town of Lee, NY; Lori (Seymour) Gicewicz and her husband, Tim Gicewicz, West Sand Lake, NY; Amy Seymour, Pittsburgh, PA; Bradley Waters and his wife, Jenna (Hubbard) Waters, Town of Lee, NY; Sarah Waters, Town of Lee, NY; Rachel Williams and Sam Williams, Dayton, IN. He is also survived by great-grandchildren Rebecca Matte, Town of Lee, NY; 1st Lt Kyle Gicewicz, stationed at Fort Campbell, KY; and Emily, Reid, and Kayla Gicewicz, West Sand Lake, NY.

In addition to Mom, Dad was predeceased by his sister, Mildred “Betty” Deetz; three brothers, Humphrey “Bob” Williams; Albert C. Williams, and Eddie Williams; and twin great-granddaughters, Kaitlin and Taylor Gicewicz.

Dad made an impression on people wherever he went and was a feisty Welshman to the end. Today we celebrate a life well lived.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Delta United Methodist Church under the direction of Pastor Pat Hubman. Interment will take place in Evergreen Cemetery, Town of Lee. Family and friends are invited to call at Nunn and Harper Funeral Home, Inc., 418 N. George St., Rome, on Tuesday from 4-7 p.m.

Contributions in Dad’s memory may be made to Delta United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 6285 Hawkins Corners Road, Rome; Lake Delta Volunteer Fire Department, 8508 Elmer Hill Road, Rome; or Jervis Public Library, 613 N. Washington St., Rome.