August 22, 1929 – July 29, 2013
Robert Dean (Bob) Williams passed away July 29, 2013, at The Village in Indianola after a long battle with cancer.
Bob was born in Montgomery County, Iowa, the eldest son of Paul G. and Pauline Abbey Williams. He graduated from Villisca High School in 1947. His rich agricultural heritage proved to be a strong influence throughout his life, as a progressive voice for environmental stewardship and responsible, sustainable crop and livestock production.
While completing his baccalaureate degree (’51) at Simpson College, Bob met and married Kathryn (Kathy) Bowans, his wife of 63 years. Bob and Kathy’s children are Rodney Harlan (Toni), Rebecca Ruth (Jeff Cassat), Jane Lynette, and Mark Wesley (Annis) Williams. They were blessed with five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and numerous step-grandchildren. Bob is also survived by brothers David (Corrine), and John (Janet), and many nieces and nephews. His parents, brother Don (Sherryl), and an infant grandson predeceased him.
Bob continued his formal education at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, receiving his B.D. With Distinction in 1954, and Garrett and the University of Illinois, Urbana, completing nearly all requirements for a Ph.D. in historical theology, 1961-63.
A lifelong United Methodist, Bob was ordained in 1953 and served congregations in Hedrick-Martinsburg, Dexter-Penn Center, Fithian (IL), Packwood, and Altoona. In addition to these fulltime pastorates, he served as youth and family counselor at Bidwell-Riverside Settlement House in Des Moines, and, after returning to active farming in 1973, led congregations in Grant, Noble , and Lincoln Center. An active member and leader of the Iowa Methodist Conference for decades, he was a passionate advocate for peace and justice. Bob served on the Iowa Annual Conference Board of Church and Society, the Iowa Chapter of Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) and was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the MFSA in 2012. In 2013 he received the Beje Clark Justice Award in recognition of his impact in altering unjust circumstances, changing attitudes, and educating and encouraging others to work for justice.
A passionate, progressive political activist, Bob was engaged in Democrat Party leadership at the local, county, district, and state levels. His constant appetite for knowledge, his willingness to address significant current issues and challenges to peace, justice, ethics, and social responsibility was stimulating and provocative to scores of friends and acquaintances.
At Bob’s request, his body has been donated for medical research at the University of Iowa. The family will hold a memorial celebration at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, at Smith Chapel on the Simpson College campus in Indianola. They wish to extend special gratitude to the nurses and caregivers at Juniper Center at The Village, Wesley Hospice, and Dr. Chris Jensen for their empathy and attention during Bob’s illness. In lieu of flowers, Bob’s desire was to direct memorial contributions to Personal Energy Transportation (PET), enabling impoverished citizens who need mobility to provide for their families. Memorials to PET may be directed to Bob’s family for this purpose.Information provided by: Peterson Funeral Home 602 E. Salem Indianola, IA 50125 http://www.petersonfunerals.com