Joseph Morris Williams, whose 86 years were marked by love of family, a strong work ethic, and an unending enthusiasm for learning, passed away on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, from complications of late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease and the COVID-19 virus.

Born at home in Emerson, IA on October 24, 1933, to Marcia and Lee Williams, the youngest of six children, Joe grew up on the farm, and attended Wales-Lincon High School. He earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from Iowa State University, later receiving advanced certification. During his time there, he met and married Jackie Holmes in 1956. They just celebrated their 64th anniversary together in March. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps for two years, then went into the printing industry. He was very successful in that field until he retired, including holding a US Patent from his time at McCall Pattern company in Manhattan, KS.

Joe and Jackie have four children: Julie Williams of Des Moines, IA; Jenny Amos of Castle Rock, CO, married to Will Amos; Matt Williams of Suwanee, GA, married to Mary Anne Williams; and Joy Williams of Alpharetta, GA, married to Dino Barylski. They also have five grandchildren: Eddie Amos, Abby Rahe, Jake Williams, Molly Williams, and Katie Williams, as well as a great-grandchild, Wyatt Amos. Joe taught by example, giving us the values of family, hard work, frugal spending, thoughtful planning, helping others, playing games, and taking vacations. Always our rock - we knew every minute of our life that he loved us and would do anything for us, which is a great gift for anyone.

Joe is survived by all of his immediate family, mentioned above, as well as his sister-in-law Lorraine Williams (who was his middle school teacher, she went to the farm for a teacher conference and snapped up his brother Wilbur!), and numerous nieces and nephews who have always been special to him. He is predeceased by his siblings and their spouses: Marilee and Victor Thomas, Lloyd and Darlene Williams, Wilbur Williams, Don Williams, Kay and Carroll Slump; as well as his sisters-in-law and their spouses: Nancy and Harold Rathert and Suzy and Jim Bulwan.

Joe and Jackie have lived across the nation: in Des Moines, Iowa and Johnston, Iowa; Fort Gordon, Georgia and Martinez, Georgia; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Lynchburg, Virginia; Manhattan, Kansas; and Grand Junction, Colorado. Most recently, Joe and Jackie lived at Edencrest Senior Living in Beaverdale, IA, where Jackie still resides.

Joe had a great sense of humor, he loved to tease and joke. He loved to read and learn, he was interested in everything. He was super efficient in everything he did and kept things clean and in their place. Joe was always active; he enjoyed most sports, in particular golf and playing pool. He loved games, especially cards, and could still play well even when other things had been forgotten. He enjoyed travel, both for work and fun. But he was happiest just sitting around with the family, a cold beer, and a good game wherever he was. He was excellent at making homemade ice cream, cheese fondue, and the best peanut brittle you ever had! He loved to tell stories about growing up on the farm, he could fix or build anything, and he loved to give advice. He also loved animals and will enjoy taking long hikes with his dogs again when they reunite.

Due to the state of the world right now, there will not be a visitation or a service at this time. When the world is calm again, the family will share details regarding a memorial celebration.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Joe may be made to the Heavenly Pet Sanctuary link text or the Black-Hilstrom Excellence Fund in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Iowa State University link text are very appreciated.

God’s Garden

God looked around his garden
and found an empty space,
He then looked down upon the earth
and saw your tired face.

He put his arms around you
and lifted you to rest,
Gods’ Garden must be beautiful
he always takes the best.

God knew that you were suffering,
He knew that you were in pain,
He knew that you would never
get well on earth again.

He saw the road was getting
rough and hard to climb,
So He closed your weary eyelids
and whispered ‘Peace Be Thine’.

It broke our hearts to lose you,
but you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you
the day God called you home.

Service Details

Memorial Celebration at a later date.
Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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