Obituary for Robert R. "Bob" Williams
Robert Rama Williams was born to Ralph Rama Williams and Jeannette Gibson on Sept. 5, 1925 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They soon moved to Neenah, Wisconsin where they lived with Bob’s grandmother. Bob had a wonderful childhood in Neenah with track, debate, golf (caddying), the First Presbyterian Church and good grades. He graduated in 1943, and immediately enrolled at UW- Madison. He joined a Navy program which sent his unit to Oberlin College, Ohio, for further education.
After his Navy shipboard experience in 1945, he worked in Maine for a bit and returned with a wave of veterans to UW-Madison. Bob worked for the Department of Agriculture after graduation in 1949 and then became an editor at Gas Magazines at the suggestion of lifelong friend, Dottie Johnson Troller. Work, meeting deadlines, completing written articles became bob’s life for that time.
He accepted a job in public relations at the Kohler Company, Kohler, in 1951 and then moved to work in employee relations with Hardware Mutual in late 1952.
He and Mary Markham were wed in Janesville, Wisconsin in April 1950. They and daughter, Jennifer, became Stevens Point residents in 1953. In 1954 Bob’s life was forever changed by contracting polio. His right arm was permanently paralyzed by the disease. However, his dream came true with the formation of his own public relations firm, Idea Associates, in 1958. It was his privilege to associate with many fascinating professionals in his endeavors in public relations; among them were Roy Menzel and John Koutre. In 1977, Charles Nason came home to Stevens Point from Appleton to be Bob’s partner. Ann Garber was his stalwart and beloved associate for many years. Ann said, “our clients did not remain clients - they became Bob’s fast friends”.
His children, Jennifer (Crow), Markham (Merle), Sarah (Bersh), and Faith were treasures in his life and remained so always. In addition to his work, Bob was passionate about planning trips and photography. He was rarely seen without his camera around his neck, capturing images of tropical beaches or at convivial gatherings. He and friends, Dottie and Bob Troller and Margo and Joe Melli loved Door County and may be responsible for its population increase since the early 1950’s when they began yearly vacations there.
Bob participated in many political campaigns. Among them were campaigns for Supreme Court candidates, William Bablitch, John Wilcox, Shirley Abrahamson, Annette Ziegler, Ann Walsh Bradley. He and friends, Bob Froehlke and Bill Kraus were believers in good government and helped many superior candidates including Melvin R. Laird and Lee Sherman Dreyfus.
Bob’s public relations clients included the Marshfield Clinic, Parker Pen of Janesville, the Copps Company, vegetable growers, branch banking, Good Roads Assn, and the UW Alumni Assn. Melvin R. Laird asked Bob to help with the original Laird Youth Leadership campaign at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Bob’s career and life collected awards, including the distinguished service award from the School of Journalism, UW-Madison, the quality of life leadership award from St. Michael’s Foundation, the Letters and Science Community Award, UW-Stevens Point, and the Significant Achievement Award from UW-Stevens Point. The Rotary Club of Stevens Point honored Bob for his educational efforts on behalf of post polio syndrome research and awareness.
His grandchildren include Abby (Colin), Cottage grove, WI - Eli, Madrid, Spain - Frances, Madison, WI and Portland, OR and Gabriel, Hanover Park, IL. Lucy Belle Green is his great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents and granddaughter, Kelly Katherine Williams.
Other survivors include cousin, William Rock, Middleton, WI, his four children and in Bob’s words, his ultimate playmate and best friend, wife, Mary Markham Williams - Stevens Point, WI.
Bob would like to thank his many friends, including the Hot Shot Club, the Stevens Point Country Club, Cardio-Rehab-Plover, Ministry Home Care, Frame Presbyterian Church, Heartland Hospice and Living Well Caregivers.
Family and friends will gather to share memories on Sunday October 1, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at the Shuda Funeral Chapel - Stevens Point. A service will be held at Frame Presbyterian Church October 20, 2017 at 10:30. Memorial gifts may be made to UW-SP for scholarships, to UW-Madison for journalism students or to Frame Presbyterian Church to help the unfortunate.
Online condolences for Bob can be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com