Richard Lyles Williams
Richard Lyles Williams
  • August 5, 1918 - August 24, 2011
  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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Richard Lyles (Dick/Papa Dick) Williams

Born in Evergreen, AL, August 5, 1918, 93 years and 19 days later, the Lord called Richard L. (Dick/Papa Dick) Williams into rest where he awaits the coming of his savior, Jesus Christ, who has prepared a place for him. On August 24, 2011, Dick very peacefully passed away and began the transition from his earthly life to his heavenly life. Funeral service arrangements are as follows: Sunday, August 28, 2011, Visitation at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home, High Street, Downtown Jackson; Monday, August 29, 2011, First Baptist Church, State Street, Downtown Jackson, 12:30 pm Visitation and 1:30 pm Funeral service followed by burial at Lakewood Cemetery, Clinton Blvd, West Jackson. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to First Baptist Church Jackson Youth/Children/Infant Programs.
Dick graduated from Frisco City, AL, High School and entered Emory University in preparation for attending dental school. However, WWII came along, and so did the draft. He entered the US Army in November 1941, was assigned to the 633rd Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion under General George Patton's 3rd Army, and drove half-track vehicles and operated onboard anti-aircraft weapons. He served in France and other European countries, but on D-Day Dick was manning those weapons in London, England, defending our allies against German attacks. He completed his enlistment and was honorably discharged from the Army in October, 1945.
From there it was time for the Tide. the Alabama Tide. Dick spent four years in Tuscaloosa and was totally brainwashed, rinsed, spun, and dried in red and white. At 93 he still sat on his red blanket with the big white A watching every sporting event on TV that flew "the colors." Eat-up-with-it just doesn't quite describe Dick Williams' attitude about Alabama. In 1950 he graduated from Alabama with his business degree and moved to Jackson, MS, where he began working in the financial underwriting profession.
In 1951Ruby Lee Mangum stepped into Dick's life and in 1955 they married and he became an instant father to her two young children, Beth and Buddy. The next year he began his 24 year career with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as an appraiser and construction analyst. Dick put in many days and hours traveling the country in response to natural disasters helping victims recover from home damages. Dick's comments on these events always focused on the positive, that being the resilience of the American people he was serving. But then again, Dick's whole life was a focus on the positive, even when his bride, Ruby Lee, lost her battle with cancer on July 11, 1970, her birthday. He was always proud of their children and the 15 years of marriage they shared.
In 1975 Dick and Golia Manuel Allen, also with HUD, began a relationship that would last the next 28 years. They married in October 1980 and Papa Dick added another four grown children (Dr Sandi Rhoden, Tom Allen, Jerry Allen, Jr, and Colonel Julian Allen) and their families to his family. But once again, Dick's focus remained on the positive when faced with the loss of Golia to heart failure in May 2003 after 23 years of marriage. Through his faith and wonderful memories, Dick kept his spirits, and always thanked the good Lord for his blessings of family and church life.
For all but the last three months of his life, Dick lived an independent life free from long-term illness or inability to come and go as he pleased. But nothing meant more to him than his coming and going to his beloved First Baptist Church of Jackson, MS, where, for the last 58 years of his life, he was a deacon in some capacity. Throughout his service to the church, he particularly focused on youth programs to ensure a solid foundation for the Christian health of future generations. If the church doors were open, Dick was there!
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Dick Williams loved his God, his family, and his country. and his Alabama Tide! The Lord says our actions come from the heart. Dick, a very quiet, gentile man, had a heart of gold that he shared with everyone. And those six children and the multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren that he anchored all love him with all their hearts. The term "step" never entered an introduction of Dick/Papa Dick to anyone. Richard Lyles Williams was thicker than any blood. He was blessed with a long life, a meaningful life, and he left this world peacefully. We are poorer for his passing, we are richer for having him in our lives. We all miss you and look forward to seeing you again.
Preceded by: Parents: William Martin Williams and Ester Ruth Lyles Williams of Bruton, AL; Sister, Anna Ruth Williams Eddins of Monroeville, AL.
Surviving: Daughters: Beth Mangum Johnson (Tom), Dr Sandi Rhoden. Sons: Ed R. "Buddy" Mangum (Irene), Tom Allen, Jerry Allen (Elvia), Colonel Julian Allen (Eva). Grandchildren: Mel Parkman (Pam), Micah Johnson (Nikki); Ashley Johnson Lee (Tommy), Keller Mangum Wray (Heath), Robyn Mangum Hearn; Dr Chad Rhoden (Rhonda), Clay Allen, Tyler Allen (Jackie), Jessi Allen Robb (Eric), Brandon Allen, Randy Holloway (Donna), Jamie Allen. Great Grandchildren: Cody Parkman, Jade Parkman, Jacob Lee, Zach Lee, Katy Keller Wray, Cassidy Wray, Cade Wray, Holland Hearn, Malli Mangum, Luke Rhoden, Briley Rhoden, Reece Robb, Logan Robb, Cary Cocke, III, London Yard, Emily Holloway, and Gavin Holloway . Niece: Sharmon Eddins Meigs (Walter). Nephews: Rev Woody Eddins (Florence), and Dr Charles Eddins (Marla).
Pallbearers: Dr Chad Rhoden, Jack Gill, Colonel Julian Allen, Mel Parkman, Cody Parkman, and Micah Johnson.