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Sunday, May 1, 2016

New mayor takes the helm

Thursday, April 12, 2007

THAYER -- A new mayor and two new city aldermen were sworn in at the April 10 Thayer City Council meeting.

Long time educator Merle Williams defeated incumbent Allen Deckard in the April 3 election 312 votes to 129 votes.

Williams has been retired the last seven years after serving as Thayer superintendent of schools since 1992.

His teaching career began in Guam in the late 1960s. After graduating from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg in 1965, Williams said he went to the placement office at the college, and saw a poster that read "Teach in Guam." "My wife Clara and I thought that would be interesting, so we went," the mayor said.

He said he taught shop class there for two years.

Williams first teaching job in the states was at Lee Summit High School where he taught industrial arts for five years.

From Lee Summit Williams moved to the Myrtle community and quit teaching for six months. He worked with his brother-in-law in the electrical and plumbing business.

Williams taught industrial arts at Thayer in the early 1970s and was principal at Couch High School from 1981 to 1984.

He was hired as principal at Thayer High School in 1984 and as Thayer superintendent of schools in 1992. He retired from education in 2000.

The Williams have been married since 1965. They have a son Kelly. He and his family live in Farmington. Their daughter Dawn Prentice and her husband live in St. Louis. The Williams have two grandchildren, Ryan and Alicia, and Dawn is expecting her first child in December. Another son, Steven was killed in an automobile accident in 1992.

Williams has kept busy since retiring. He has been remodeling his home and teaches driver's education during summer school at Thayer and sometimes works as a substitute bus driver.

"Clara and I have traveled some since my retirement going to Mexico and on a cruise," he said.

Just last year the Williams daughter-in-law who is a doctor had the opportunity to go to Africa for OBGYN studies.

"They asked us to go along and help with the children and we did," Williams said. He said it was quite the experience. They stayed two months. He said he was amazed at the poverty and the substandard living conditions of the entire continent.

The new mayor said he was encouraged by members of the community to seek the office of mayor.

"I've made no rash promises. I will do the best I can," he said.

Williams said he appreciates everyone that voted in the April 3 election. "The outcome was very gratifying for me," he said.

Joe Barbee received 120 votes defeating Ward I Alderman Buddy Rogers who had 93 votes.

Ward II Alderman Bob Grimes lost to newcomer Junior Brewer 128 votes to 91 votes.

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