Lionel Williams
Lionel Williams
Lionel Williams
Lionel Williams

Obituary of Lionel George Williams

Lionel George William, 85, passed away Wednesday August 25, 2021 in Harlingen, Texas Lionel George Williams was born in South Bend, Indiana on November 25, 1935, and grew up in a large family. My fathers proceeded in death by his parents: Verna (Vernie) Schrader, biological father George Bueno Williams, and his stepfather Pete Schrader. Mr. Williams is preceded in death by his siblings: Mory Williams, Verna Jean Williams, Wanda Ruth Williams, Larry Dean Williams, Terry Dean Williams, Clark Grover Williams, and Gloria M (Williams) Klatt. Lionel Williams married Iva Lenora Womer on November 25, 1961, in Oil City, PA. His wife proceeded his death on February 19, 1995. Lionel William’s has three living children and six grandchildren: Mark Benjamin William with his grandson Allen Mitchell Williams and his great son (Emmett); Jerri Lyn (Williams) McGinnis-Gonzalez married to Fernando Gonzalez with his 5 grandchildren: William Lee McGinnis III and his three great granddaughters (Lillianna, Evelyn, and Abbygayle), Cody Daniel Alexander McGinnis, Jordan Marie Johnston, Garrett Scott Johnston, and Fernando Gonzalez, Jr. Mr. Lionel Williams lived a good life. When he was 17 years old, he joined the armed forces and landing in the Air force in 1954. He began his military career as an enlisted officer and within 6 years was sent to officer training school (Highlights from his military career at the end). After retirement from the Military, Lionel obtained a degree in Computer Programming and worked for: · The Raytheon Company was a major U.S. defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. · E-Systems, Inc. is one of the leading defense electronics companies in the United States. This diversified company designs, develops, produces, and services high technology systems, especially surveillance, verification, and aircraft ground-land navigation equipment, primarily for defense applications around the world. In 1990, Lionel was able to retire and became an avid outdoorsman. He loved to fish, camp, hike, biking, birdwatch and canoe. He traveled throughout the country and experienced nature. His greatest joy in life was his grandkids and his great grandchildren. While living in Rowlett, Texas, he volunteered for the VFW in Garland, Texas. He moved to South Texas in 2010 to live near some of his grandkids and great granddaughter’s lives. While living in San Benito, Texas, he enjoyed birdwatching, visiting the national reserve parks and was a patron to Starbucks and Cracker Barrel daily. During the pandemic, his health began to decline, and we lost our beloved on August 25, 2021 after a 6 week stay in the hospital after a stroke. INFORMATION ON MILITARY CAREER – U.S. Air Force: Mr. Williams joined the U.S. Air Force on September 8, 1954, at the age of 17 as an airman. He was commissioned in 1959 through the aviation cadet program. In 1965, Airman Williams was stationed with the 552nd Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing, stationed at McClellan Air Force Base, were flying combat missions in the Viet Nam war. The flying radar stations (EC-121 aircraft) directed fighter pilots to ground military targets and Communist MIG fighters. The crew and their aircraft are the first from the Air Defense Command to be deployed in Viet Nam. Radar operators tracked the MIGs while weapons control officers vectored F-4C Phantom fighter pilots in for the kills. Known as the “Big Eye,” the 552nd unit now on duty in the war. The crews must fly at low altitudes – 8,000 to 10,000 feet – to avoid detention by unfriendly radar. This was a demanding job that requires exact coordination, these planes did not carry armaments. Flying 12-hour shifts, operating their five tons of radar equipment, over North Viet Nam and they formed a link in the air defenses of South Viet Nam. Airman Williams participated in the 964th Squadron’s volleyball team in 1965, placing second nationally. In January 1967, Captain Williams was accepted to Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Graduated as a Captain and was reassigned to the McClellan AFB, CA as a navigator for the Air Defense Command which protects the U.S. against enemy air attack. March 1969, Captain Williams was part of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing activated at Otis AFB, Mass., prior to his permanent change of station to Tokoyo, Japan in 1969. He was stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan from 1969 to 1972 as part of the 556th Reconnaissance Squadron. Captain Williams participated electronic countermeasures exercise over Taiwan, a weeklong exercise helping to train Chinese Army. In October 1969, Captain Williams received the Air Metal at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan for air action in Southeast Asia, as an electronic warfare officer, he was cited for his outstanding airmanship and courage on successful and important missions completed under hazardous conditions while assigned to the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Captain Williams flew 56 combat missions while on temporary duty in Vietnam. Major (ret) Williams primary specialty number and title was R205070 Electronic Intelligence Operations Technician. He held multiple awards/metals: AM (Air Metal) w/6 OLC (Subsequent awards are annotated with the traditional oak leaf clusters); SOGA-49, Hq USAFSS [United States Air Force Security Service] (June 7, 1972); AFGCM [Air Force Good Conduct Medal] (June 26, 1971 to June 25, 1974), AFM 900-3; AFLSA [Air Force Longevity Service Award] w/4 OLC, AFM 900-3, AFEM [Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal], AFM 900-3. He retired on September 30, 1974 with the rank of Major. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. You may sign the online guestbook, light a remembrance candle, or send words of comfort to the family of Lionel George Williams at thomaegarza.com. Funeral arrangements entrusted to the care of Thomae-Garza Funeral Home and Crematorium, 395 S. Sam Houston, San Benito, Texas, (956) 399-1331.
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