Robert Lee Williams Sr. formerly of Keokuk, Iowa passed away in Ankeny Iowa on March 10, 2021 at the age of 87. Born in 1933 the son of Virginia Bell and Theodore Williams, Bob was raised in Keokuk by his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fields. He was often referred to as “Ratz” by his friends and teammates because of his love for cheese. He excelled in sports from an early age, especially track, baseball, and basketball.
He was a starting guard on the Keokuk Chiefs Basketball teams that finished in 3rd place in 1951, losing to eventual champion Davenport in the quarterfinals. They came back the next year making it to the championship game in 1952 where they faced the same Davenport team they had lost to in 1951. The game was close throughout with the Chiefs holding a lead in the closing minutes, before eventually losing by just 3 points and finishing in second place. That was still a remarkable feat considering they went into the game with virtually no reserves because the 6th, 7th, and 8th best players were unavailable, in addition to their star center fouling out late in the game. For his efforts Bob was honored that year by being named Second Team All-State in 1952.
Bob continued his love for sports long after high school becoming an avid golfer for many years.
It was while he was in High School that he met Verona Barker who went from stepping on his toes at school dances to stepping into his heart forever. In August of this year, they would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. From that union would come 8 children, 30 grandchildren and numerous great and even great-great grandchildren.
After High School Bob enlisted in the military and after his discharge rejoined his then small family in Keokuk. Finding work was hard and he worked several small jobs before landing a position with St. Louis Die Casting eventually becoming a plant inspector.
In 1979 Bob met the other love in his life in his Lord Jesus Christ. Like his marriage to Verona his love for Christ was a fruitful one. In addition to his regular job, Bob pastored several small churches in the Keokuk area turning many other hearts to God. The time he used to spend carrying his golf bag around golf courses was now spent carrying a Bible and sharing the gospel with Verona by his side.
In the late 1980’s St. Louis Die Casting Corp. changed hands and Bob went to work for Stone Container until his retirement in 2000.
In his free time, you would often find him reading his Bible. A quiet man with a great sense of humor and easy-going manner he preferred family time to just about anything else. He was loved by just about everybody who knew him and leaves a legacy of love that will extend for generations into the future.
He was preceded in death by both parents, his grandparents, and several other family members. He is survived by his love Verona, and their eight children. Caren Taylor of Davenport, Gordon (Carrye) Williams of Keokuk, Lynn (Lawrence) Manson of Burlington, Wanda Williams of Ankeny, Robert (Cynthia) Williams Jr. of Keokuk, Julie (Michael) Kennerly of Ankeny, Kathy (Alan) Sampson of Lakeport, Ca, Timothy (Rose) Williams of Quincy, Ill in addition to his many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by three cousins, Richard Bell, Crystal Williams, and Ray Williams Jr. Not to mention his countless brothers and sisters in Christ.
Robert’s life will be celebrated with a private service at 11:30 am on Friday, March 19, 2021, at DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home in Keokuk, Iowa. Military Honors will be rendered at the funeral home by the American Legion Post #41 and the United States Army. The funeral service will be livestreamed on Robert’s obituary page at www.dejongsfuneralhome.com. Visitation will be held on Friday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home in Keokuk.
Memorials may be directed to God’s Way Christian Center in Keokuk in Memory of Robert Lee Williams.
Tributes and condolences may be left at www.dejongsfuneralhome.com.
DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home of Keokuk is in charge of arrangements.