Born 6-7-1917?-- 11-22-2007
Robert Lee Williams, 90, died Nov. 22, 2007, at the Crown Point Nursing Home in Horseshoe Bend, Ark..
He was born June 7, 1917, the son of Tilman Cecil and Fannie Wiseman Irons Williams.
He recalled the story of his birthday many times saying, "I was born in Rush, Ark., an old-time gold mining town. The cook of the wagon said 'Fannie if you can have that baby before noon, you may use this wagon.' After he was born in the nick of time, they served dinner to the crew.
Lee was known for his wit, laughter, stories, work ethic, travels and mostly his songs. After graduating from Violet Hill, Ark., he left the comforts of home with a $20 bill his mother pinned to his overalls and headed west. He eventually settled and worked on the Buckner ranch in Skowhegan, Wash.
When WWII began, he enlisted in the Navy as a merchant marine repairing engines on the ships. He traveled the South Pacific, Alaska, South America, Panama Canal and the East Coast of the U.S.
He married Elsie Potter during the war and had three children, Robert Michael, James Patrick and Terry Lee.
Following the war, he started working construction as a hod carrier. He worked in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Arkansas and Nevada. He was known as the man who built Las Vegas by many a friend because of his work on the famous Vegas strip, helping on such hotels as the Sands, the Dunes, and the Tropicana. He was a member of the Laborer's Union for 70 years. He attended the Methodist church in Wiseman, taught Sunday school and plastered the church with his son, Pat. He and his wife Maxine enjoyed singing and dancing at Horseshoe Bend, Ark. His grandchildren were a great source of pride for Lee, especially since they shared his gift of music and work as professional singers and actors.
He is survived by: his wife, Maxine Ball Williams; one son, James Patrick and wife Tanya of Ava, Mo.; a daughter Terry Lee Spyres and husband Eric of Springfield, Mo.; three grandchildren, Patrick Sean Spyres of Springfield, Michael Paul Spyres and his wife Tosha of Vienna, Austria, and Erica Lee Spyres of Boston, Mass.; several cousins; nieces; nephews; and many friends.
A memorial service will be held in December. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Crown Point Nursing Home, 1203 South Bend Drive, Horseshoe Bend, AR 72512.