Ray Williams, 81, passed away Friday, September
16, 2016 at Morning Star Assisted Living in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
I was born in Blackfoot, Idaho August 6, 1935. I am the son of Millard
William Roberts and Ardell Lydia Evans. I have two brothers, Lyle and
Kenneth (deceased); and three sisters, Florence Anne (Floyd Curtis),
Frances (deceased) (Val Nelson and Justine (Lent) Beverly Boyce.
I married in San Francisco, California on June 17, 1957. We have five
children, Serena Ardell Jesperson (Jared Jesperson DDS), Steven Ray
Williams, senior sales manager for Federal Express (LeAnn Neilson),
David Tim Williams, M.S. Clinical Psychology (Angela Chambers), Travis
Ralph Williams, Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, (Tiana Williams,
dental hygienist) Brannon Dean Williams, Tech Sergeant First Class US
Army (Tammy Scussel). We have six grandsons and eight granddaughters.
I grew up in Blackfoot, Idaho and graduated from Blackfoot High School
in May of 1953. I had various jobs growing up, which included, Boise
Payett Lumber Company (I was 11 years old when I started). I was a
paper boy for the Blackfoot Bulletin and later, the Salt Lake Tribune.
I then worked for Albertson’s Food Center all through High School,
starting out dipping ice cream. Do you remember four dips for a dime,
any flavor? When I had paid my penance, management sent me to the meat
department and they taught me to be a meat cutter.
I was an average student since I worked all through high school I boxed
on the boxing team all four years. I liked other sports but only could
have time off from work for one sport. I thought that boxing would be
the best sport for me.
I met Beverly at a church dance at the Old Castell Ball Room and we
dated for about six months. She then moved away with her family to
Dubois and became a cheerleader among many other things at high school.
I joined the Navy that summer and we lost track of each other for the
next two years. In early 1956 I hurt my knee on some coral while
playing baseball on a Navy ball field in Okinawa. Upon getting back to
Oahu, Hawaii, I was sent to the medical sick bay at Pearl Harbor Hawaii
Sub base. Hospitals are lonesome and I needed some home town comfort.
So we started writing until I came home for my parents funerals in
October and November of 1956. That December we became engaged and were
married in San Francisco, California, June 17, 1957.
I joined the Navy in 1954 and retired in 1977. In 20 years I advanced
to E9, Master Chief Electrician during a 24 year Navy Career. During my
first four years in the Navy, I was trained as a Submarine Electrician
and served on the USS Gudgeon SS 567. She was a diesel powered fast
attack submarine and was designed using post world war technology of
the German and American Navies. She became famous when we had a
confrontation with the Russian Navy near Vladivostok USSST. After
getting disengaged from the Russians, the Navy sent us around the world
for good public relations and to take us away from reporters and etc.
During this time I stood watch on the Electrical Propulsion system. And
was the leading Petty Officer over the Auxiliary Electrical Systems. I
was promoted to E6 in less than four years. In July 1958 I was sent to
Nuclear Power school at New London, Connecticut. I completed Basic
Nuclear Power School in December 1958 and was ordered to S1W the
prototype for the USS Nautilus SSN 574 at Idaho. I was assigned there
as an instructor for the next three years. I then served on the USS
Plunger SSN595 for three years. I then served on the USS Flasher
(SSN613) for about one year. I was on the commissioning crew for both
ships. I was then ordered to the USS Thornback SS418 for 18 months.
This ship took me on a cruise to the Northern Atlantic near Murmask
USSR, via Plymouth, England on a special operation. Needless to say,
once again we did not find ourselves welcome! Later after making a
visit to Cuba for training they transferred me to the USS Daniel
Webster SSBN 626 (this ship carried intercontinental missiles) where I
served on both Crews Gold and then Blue sequentially and this included
one shipyard overhaul and ten FBM deterrent patrols. The patrols lasted
100 days, each included 30 days for maintenance and sea trials and 70
days for each patrol. I made several special operations on the various
other submarines I rode and of course the Round the World Cruise on the
USS Gudgeon SS567. Because of this assignment, we were the first
Submarine to circumnavigate the world. I was then ordered to the San
Diego Naval Training Center as the Nuclear Advisor for the
administrative command. My last Navy assignment was the USS Snook
(USSN592) where I experienced my first collision at sea on with another
naval vessel when we came up under the USS Bagley, a USS Navy Frigate.
We knocked off their sonar and hit a sonar sled that they towed behind
them which knocked us down greater than 300 feet twice as we hit each
device. We destroyed all of our masts including both periscopes. We
felt very lucky that we had been able to surface again. We later were
able to complete a special operation on this ship and earned another
Navy Expedition Medal.
I received my Bachelors degree while in the Navy from Chapman
University in Orange, California. After the Navy I finished the Masters
program with the University of Southern California. And later I earned
another Bachelors degree with the University of Idaho.
After retirement I worked for San Diego Gas and Electric California as
a technician, specializing in quality assurance and sound and vibration
analysis. We were planning on building a Pressurized Nuclear Reactor
Plant. I then worked for Allied Chemical at the Idaho National Lab,
working on several projects dealing with wast management. I then worked
on start up of two Nuclear Power Plants as a start up engineer in the
Mid-West for three years. Exxon Nuclear then hired me to work on the
Secret Tank Project, which I did for four years. I then transferred to
EG&G to work on the design and construction of nuclear shipping
casts. I was also involved with the shipment of hazardous materials all
over the nation. I did this for about ten years. My last job was at the
Mixed Waste Characterization Plant for one year as an electrical
During my years in the military, I was away most of the time and Bev
kept the home fires burning and was the perfect Navy wife and mother.
We raised five precious children and she did the most of it. We lived
all over the country. To name the most primary ones are as follows:
Groton, Connecticut, Charleston, South Carolina, Hampton Virginia, San
Diego, California, Benicia, California and Oahu, Hawaii. Bev and I have
loved every place that we have lived and the church has always been
important in our lives. After the Navy we lived in San Diego,
California, Rigby, Idaho, Jefferson City, Missouri and Deature,
Illinois, ending up in Rigby, Idaho.
Bev and I have served a mission at Chico, California, a part of the
church farm system. We then transferred to Martins Cove and 6th
Crossing for two years. We served a mission with the church history in
Idaho Falls and worked as temple workers at the Idaho Falls Temple.
We live on six acres and have farmed it with one shovel. We raised
horses, calves, goats, geese and Samoy Husky dogs. Beth, Bev’s sister,
has always called our home the Williams Funny Farm. We have had several
nieces live with us for different periods of time and have had two
foreign exchange students in our home. It has really been a fun ride.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 23,
2016 at the Labelle 3rd Ward LDS Chapel, 364 N 4100 E in Rigby ID. The
family will meet with friends and family from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on
Thursday, September 22, 2016 and for one hour prior to services at the
Labelle 3rd Ward Church. Interment will follow at the Grove City
Cemetery in Blackfoot. Arrangements are under the direction of Hawker
Funeral Home in Blackfoot. Condolences may be sent to the family online