BOONVILLE — Roger Lyle Williams, 90, passed away on June 12, 2018 after a long and full life centered on his family, friends and neighbors.
He was born on July 14, 1927 to William and Clara Nieman Williams in Trenton, New York. He served in the Army from 1946-48 and travelled abroad to Guam and Saipan with the Army Corps of Engineers Maintenance Division. Upon returning from military service Roger ran a milk route in Westernville before commencing a nearly 50 year career working for the Grange League Federation (GLF) and then Agway. He was hired as an assistant manager in 1950 and took over as manager in 1974 when Claude Stacey retired. Nearly every dairy farmer in the area knew and respected “Rog” because he put people before profits. One dairy farmer was overheard to say, “If anyone says a bad word about Rog I will knock his head off.”
In 1954, Roger met Myra E. (Blondie) Yeaple at the Utica GLF. A friend of Roger’s told him that there was a “good looking blonde working there” that he had to meet. They wed on February 26, 1955 and spent 50 years of married life together. Blondie died on February 28, 2005. They raised five kids who are now spread out all over the U.S. and Canada.
Roger adored Blondie. In the winter they would go snowmobiling with friends on Tug Hill, and sometimes on Saturday nights they would go dancing at Beck’s Grove. The couple and their family also vacationed at Raquette Lake for many summers. When they lived in Steuben, Roger and Blondie raised chickens, turkeys, pigs and heifers, and Roger kept a large garden in the backyard. Roger and Blondie opened their home to children in foster care, demonstrating their caring and concern for kids in need of a loving home.
Roger was a lifelong Democrat and he had an 18 year political career as Steuben Town Supervisor, Justice of the Peace and Forestport Town Councilman. Roger held public office at a time when the character and integrity of the person mattered more than party affiliation. He was also a trustee at North Steuben Methodist Church for many years. As Justice of the Peace his duties included hearing minor criminal complaints and cases involving civil controversies. He had the power to perform marriage ceremonies but “never had the opportunity.”
Roger was a card shark and thoroughly enjoyed playing Pitch. He would occasionally bid “four” on a bare jack, and surprise everyone when he made his bid.
Even as his health declined Roger managed to keep his sense of humor, colorful sayings and sharp wit, something he was known for throughout his life. For example, on a frigid winter day Roger would say that it was “colder than a moose yard.” Another favorite saying was “she’s madder than a wet hen.” When asked what that meant he replied “pour some water on her and see how mad she gets!” Yet another of his sayings was “even a fish wouldn’t get caught if it kept its mouth shut.”
Roger is survived by one brother (Spencer), five children (Kevin, Debra, Dawn, Craig and Jim), eight grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and countless cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two sisters, Myrtle Holmes, North Western and Ruth Rogers, Westernville.
At Roger’s request calling hours will not be held. He will be interred at North Steuben Cemetery next to Blondie. A celebration of Roger’s life to share stories and good food will be held at the Steuben Town Hall at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15. Mills Funeral Home, Boonville has been entrusted with the arrangements. For an online message of sympathy please go to www.millsfuneralhomes.com.