James (Jim) Michael Williams, age 79, son of W. Paul and Celia (Myers) Williams, was born on Nov 18, 1939, in Kansas City, Mo., and passed away on Oct. 15, 2019.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Kenneth. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Judy; his son Jason; his daughter Peggy (Elliot) Kampert; his daughter-in-law Jessie; his two sisters Mary Beth Chowning and Barbara (David) Baron; his grandchildren, Christopher, Ian and Sierra; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Jim’s life adventure began on a farm where, in addition to helping raise cattle and bees, he and his siblings would perform radio skits and song and dance recitals for the Springfield community. A graduate of St. Agnes High School, Jim spent his 18th birthday in a foxhole and the next seven years in the Army Reserve. He also earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education along the way.
Eloping with Judy in 1961, they moved to St Louis in time to watch the Arch being built outside their classroom windows. For their next adventure, they moved to Alaska where he worked as a bush school administrator, often flying to remote locations. Jim walked away unscathed from multiple small plane crashes (he was not the pilot!). After starting a family, Jim returned to Missouri where he raised cattle, taught school, fostered several children and worked for the state. Furthering the adventure, Jim and his family moved to Fort Myers where he became the director of the first family preservation program in Florida. After retiring, Jim and Judy became snowbirds for several years, alternating between Houston and Fort Myers, and also making a trip back to Alaska. In “retirement,” Jim helped establish a children’s home in Missouri.
Jim’s passions included Cardinals baseball, Chiefs football, bluegrass music, gardening, hearing from his high school classmates and travel, but the great love of his life was family. Being raised as an adopted child, Jim was delighted when, in his 70s, he finally found and befriended his biological family. His new found Irish roots explained the twinkle in his eyes, his sense of humor and the joy in his smile. Jim’s good life is summed up by what he always said at the end of a visit: “take care of that beautiful family.”
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory may be made to the family-oriented charity of your choosing. Online condolences may be expressed at www.evansfh.com.
The family will be hosting a private Celebration of a Life well lived at a later date. Cremation was under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.