- Published: 11 September 2014
Richard “Keith” Williams, age 56, passed away from pancreatic cancer on September 6, 2014. He wanted all to know that he didn’t die peacefully; he wasn’t quite done attending ball games, playing with his beloved grandchildren, hunting and fishing with his friends, working on his Willy’s Jeep, or with his ever-expanding list of projects. He left for his trip to heaven kicking and screaming but he was excited at the prospect of meeting his Lord and Savior. Keith was born January 16, 1958 in Belle Glade, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents Laurence Bruce Williams and Catherine Roper Williams. He is survived by Jackie, his wife of 36 years; children, Justin Williams, Jennifer (Rick) Smithpeter, and Nathan (Ashley) Williams; grandchildren, Samantha Chaney, Ross, Brent and Ty Smithpeter, and Madalyn and Laynie Williams; sisters, Kay (Kyle) Scott, Patricia (John) Hood, brother, Larry (LuAnne) Williams; sister-in-law, Cindy (Matt) Kreifels; father-in-law, Carl Baker; and a large extended family of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Keith was the favorite son of Bruce and Catherine, even though they sometimes let Larry think that honor was his. Keith graduated from Glades Day School in Belle Glade, Florida and arrived in Peru in 1976 with a skateboard, long red hair, and wearing surfer shorts, to attend Peru State College on a football scholarship. He was heard to say that he would never drive a redneck pick-up truck, wear cowboy boots or those dumb blue jeans. It should be mentioned that one of his favorite sports in his early years was bull riding- while wearing cowboy boots and blue jeans and owning a pick-up truck. While in college, he majored in hunting, fishing, and partying. His many “diplomas” are mounted in his home. He met Jackie, the love of his life and fell in love with the community and countryside. He never looked back as he carved a wonderful life in Nebraska. He went to work at Cooper Nuclear Station in 1979 and spent 35 gratifying years there, ending his career as a Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor. But, Keith’s greatest accomplishments were his family, especially his grandchildren, his friends and his faith. One of the proudest moments of his life happened on August 20 when he and Jackie were baptized at their home. His many hobbies and interests included camping, snorkeling, welding, restoring his 1951 Willy’s jeep, bull riding, playing cards, playing practical jokes on all he loved and of course, hunting and fishing. He particularly loved telephone pranks until his mother taught him a hard learned lesson. He loved his years coaching youth baseball, softball, wrestling, and flag football with his friend Rodney. Keith was an avid collector of friends and unquestionably had one of the largest and finest collections known to man. In fact, in addition to his faith and his family, his collection of friends was one of his most treasured possessions. He had an uncanny ability of finding friends to add to his collection, and once he found one, he never let him or her go. He always went out of his way to make others feel comfortable. The family would like for Keith to be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, papa, son, brother, friend, and an all-around remarkable human being. A Memorial service for Keith was held Wednesday, September 10, at Auburn Christian Church in Auburn, officiated by Rev. Corey Miller. Services were entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.