William Thomas Williams, “W.T.”, 66, Altoona, passed away Sunday morning at his home with his wife and sons at his side.
He left behind his beloved wife of 37 years, Nancy, and their two sons, James Thomas and David Clinton, of Altoona. He also leaves his sister Jean (Williams) and husband Tommy Warren, Eupora, MS, half-sisters Patricia Williams, Lucedale, MS, Brenda Williams, Ocean Spring, MS and half-brothers Gordon Ross, Moss Point, MS, and Robert Nelson, Vicksburg, MS, his brother-in-law, Lewis Cessna and wife Cindy of Altoona, sister-in-law, Connie (Cessna) Beckel of Greensburg, PA.
He was preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, James and Frances Cessna, and his brother-in-law, Ed Beckel.
W.T., as he was known to family and friends, was the son of the late Clinton Eugene and Marjorie (Poland) Williams. He was a native of Greenville, Mississippi and born in King’s Daughters Hospital. He married Nancy B. Cessna on May 6, 1978 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Altoona.
W.T. was a Vietnam era veteran and served in the Marine Corps from May 14, 1968 through May 12, 1972. He served in the Republic of Vietnam for 13 months in Fox Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, and participated in Operation Sabine Draw, Operation Daring Endeavor, Operation Meade River, Operation Oklahoma Hills, and Operation Taylor Common, all in Quang Nam province as well as counter insurgency operations. While in Vietnam, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, E-5. He was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with star, and two Purple Hearts.
W.T. received a Master of Arts degree in Personnel Administration and Industrial Relations in 1990 from Saint Francis College, Loretto, PA. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Development in 1978 from the Pennsylvania State University. While attending the Pennsylvania State University, W.T. was elected Student Government President, Class of 1976-1977 representing 30,000 students at PSU’s main campus. His Vice President was David Hickton, now the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of PA. W.T. was also inducted into The Lion’s Paw Senior Society of the Pennsylvania State University as well as the Skull and Bones Society.
W.T. was a member of the Board of Directors for the Calvary Cemetery Association. He was also a member of Park Hills Country Club and the Heidelberg Country Club.
W.T. was Director of Personnel for the County of Blair from September 23, 1991 to December 20, 2005, when he retired. He also worked for the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission as Director of the Pennsylvania Energy Center, Region VII, and was Human Resources Administrator at Uni-Tec, Incorporated, State College, PA.
During his retirement, W.T. was an ardent reader, enjoyed traveling with his wife and sons, golfing and hunting with family and friends, gardening around his home, celebrating holidays with his extended family, and caring for his three cats, Lee Loo, Corbin, and Bubba. W.T was an avid Penn State football fan and never missed watching a game with his wife, Nancy. W.T. often spoke that his greatest privilege in life was to join his wife in the parenting of their two loving sons.
"Semper Fi" as the Marines say, is a Latin phrase meaning "always faithful" or "always loyal." It has always been the perfect rubric to attribute to W.T. and his unyielding and passionate allegiance to his family and friends, country, the Corps, and his profession.
W.T. was a courageous man, a loyal friend, a welcoming and generous host, a wonderful conversationalist and story teller, a strategic thinker, a practical problem solver, a peacemaker, a matchmaker, a successful trainer of wild squirrels, and a beloved husband and father.
Friends will be received, Friday, November 27, 2015, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Mauk and Yates Funeral Home, Inc., 719 N 4th Avenue, Juniata. A funeral mass will be celebrated, Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 511 20th Street, Altoona, PA 16602. Committal at Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donations to Vietnam Veterans of America, 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (www.vva.org) or Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301 (www.dav.org).