After a courageous battle of bone cancer Ronald Williamson passed away peacefully on May 6, 2018 in his home. Visitation will be on Monday, May 14th at Irwin Chapel, Glen Carbon. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 15th at 11 am at Irwin Chapel.
Ron Williamson was born on February 17, 1939 in Wood River, IL to R. Arthur and Marcella (Perrottet) Williamson. He grew up on the family farm in Dorsey, IL and graduated from Edwardsville High School in 1956. While attending high school he met his life-long sweetheart, Anita Whited. They have been married since July 19, 1958. He continued his education at Washington University, attending school full-time while married with children, and working full-time. During this time, he was elected president of the Tau Beta Pi (engineer honor society), vice-president of ETA Kappa Nu (electrical engineer honor society), and secretary of IEEE. He received a BSEE with honors at Washington University in 1965, and a MSEE from the Sever Institute at Washington University in 1967.
Ron began working for McDonnell Aircraft in February 1957. His many accomplishments there included being project leader for multiple programs, including project engineer for a facility that was called the “greatest in the free world” by J.S. McDonnell. He worked in the Research Department and Phantom Works, and served on numerous budgetary, planning, and union negotiation committees. He retired from McDonnell Douglas in February 1994. After retiring, Ron returned to work his farms in Dorsey and Gillespie, IL, which had been in the family since 1836. He continued to farm until his health failed him.
Throughout his life, Ron coached little league baseball, church basketball, and YMCA soccer. He served the First Presbyterian Church as chair of the building and finance committee, elder, and deacon. He also served on the YMCA Board of Directors as first vice-president of programs, where he started the YMCA soccer league; first vice-president of finance, where he started the YMCA Century Club; and Chairman of the Board when they retired the ESIC YMCA debt. Recently, he had been a volunteer as a fund-raiser for Washington University, and was a member of the Eliot Society.
His numerous awards included the Teammate of Distinction Award, the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Student Award as a college senior, and NSF Fellowship for graduate school.
He was a man who exuded personality. As a father and grandfather, he showed the importance of being driven to pursue knowledge and excellence. He also showed the endless fun and possibility that these traits offered. To his grandkids, his personal tool room was unforgettable. It served as a physical reminder of what life should aspire to be: a collection of curiosities, knowledge, memories, and filled to the brim. He always reminded his grandchildren that compounding was the most powerful thing in the universe, and with three children, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, Ronald Williamson will certainly live on in all of them.
He is survived by his wife, Anita; his three children, Ronda (Dr. Larry) Ketner of Peru, IL, sons Rodney (Kathy) Williamson of Charlestown, IN and Randy (Karen) Williamson of Edwardsville; his eight grandchildren, Braden, Ron, Jesse, Emily, Aaron, Christopher, Tara, and Kaylynn; six great-grandchildren and his sister Darlene (Don) Gusewelle.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers-in-law, Wayne Metz and Earl Whited.
Memorials may be directed to Washington University, Ronald Williamson Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers. Online condolences may be expressed at www.irwinchapel.com.
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