Lt. Col. Edwin S. Williams, (retired) U.S. Army, age 83, of Overland Park, Kan., died on Friday, July 13, 2007, at the Kansas City Hospice House.
He was born Aug. 15, 1923, in Oakland, Calif. He graduated from Polytechnic High School, San Francisco, in June 1941, and was a life member of the California Scholarship Federation.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on January 2, 1942, and was discharged January 5, 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant. He spent 31 months in the Pacific Theater, including action with the 4th Marine Raider Battalion in the Central Solomons (Vangunu, Gatukai and New Georgia); and with B Co, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Mar. Div. on Peleliu and Okinawa.
He was wounded on both Peleliu and Okinawa. He received the Bronze Star with “V”, two Purple Hearts, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation for Peleliu and Okinawa, Asiatic-Pacific ribbon with four stars, American Theater ribbon, and WWII Victory Medal.
After the war, he attended Santa Clara University, was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society, in 1949 and graduated in June 1950 with a BSME degree.
He accepted a Regular Army commission as 2nd Lt, Field Artillery and served at battery, battalion and group level in a variety of command and staff positions, including Battery and Battalion Commands, in the U.S., Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. On June 18, 1954, he married Patrice Van Liew in Des Moines, Iowa. While on active duty, he received an MS in mechanical engineering degree from the University of Southern California in 1960.
He retired Jan. 1, 1972 with the rank of Lt. Col. His Army awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (2nd award), Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), Korean Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal with three stars, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with Device 1960-, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm (unit award), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.
After his Army retirement, he worked for the Johnson County Community College for 20 years as database specialist. After retiring from the college on April 1, 1992, he was a volunteer driver for the VA hospital in Kansas City and delivered meals for the Johnson County Nutrition Program. He was active in his church as a lector and minister of the Eucharist. He was a life member of the 1st Marine Division Association, Marine Raider Association, the Retired Officer Association, and the Disabled American Veterans. He was preceded in death by his brother, Capt. Robert R. Williams, USAF (KIA, Korea, Dec. 1950).
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patrice; son, Kevin Williams (Ginny) of Independence, Mo.; and daughters Eileen Abaian (Jack) of Los Angeles, Deidre Brown (Johnny) of Goose Creek, S.C., and Shayla Ashmore of Susanville, Calif.; brothers George M. Williams, Charles Town, W.Va., and Henry C. Williams, Jacksonville, Fla.; sister, Jean E. Haun, Windson, Calif.; 14 grandchildren, including H. Scott and Sean N. Gill and Brianna and William Ashmore, of Susanville, Calif.; one great–granddaughter and one great-grandson, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
A rosary and viewing were held on Tuesday, July 17, at the Porter Funeral Home, in Lenexa, Kan. The Funeral Mass was held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 11300 W. 103rd St., Overland Park, Kan., on Wednesday, July 18. Interment was at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, Kan.
The family suggests donations to the American Cancer Society, Catholic Charities, the American Red Cross, or Army Mutual Aid, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.