BIG SANDY - Ray "Shorty" Williams, 72, died Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003, at a Big Sandy hospital due to complications with Parkinson's Disease.
His funeral service will be 11 a.m. Friday at the Christ Lutheran Church in Big Sandy with the Rev. Jeff Stoopes officiating. Burial will follow at the Big Sandy
Cemetery. A fellowship luncheon will be held at the church immediately following the services at the graveside.
Ray was born in Big Sandy on Dec. 26, 1931, to Byron and Alice Williams and was raised in the Warrick community.
As a young boy, Ray lived with his uncle Pete Norden and served as a ranch hand on several ranches in the Warrick area while riding horseback to attend the Warrick school. Ray also enjoyed participating in rodeos. His love of rodeos brought him together with his longtime friend Joanne Angell. Ray and Joanne shared their first date after Ray "came to" after being thrown from a bronc in the Chinook Rodeo in 1947.
Ray and Joanne were married on Aug. 28, 1948, in Havre, and Ray began working for Eddy's Bakery in Havre. Ray also worked for Baltrusch Construction, served as foreman of Chouteau County, and worked as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator in a variety of places. He also drove school bus for the Big Sandy Schools. Ray enjoyed ranch work and served as foreman for the N.L. Ranch and worked for several ranches, including Miller's Ranch in Chinook and Henderson's Ranch in the Bear's Paw Mountains. Ray also owned his own trucking company.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Joanne Williams of Big Sandy; daughters, Linda (Gerald) Rutledge, Carla (Raymond) Courtnage and Peggy (Andy) LaBuda, all of Big Sandy; son, Ray (Denise) Williams Jr. of Helena; brother, Byron Williams of Big Sandy; sister, Sherri Taylor of Great Falls; sister-in-law, Beverly Williams of Fort Benton; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ray was preceded in death by his father, Byron Williams; mother Alice Norden Williams; and brother Paul Williams.
Ray enjoyed spending time with his family and took pride in being a good father and grandfather. His recent activities involved visits with his family and friends.
Until his illness, Ray's hobbies included gardening and yardwork. Ray maintained the yards and gardens of the Christ Lutheran Church, Centennial Lodge and the Big Sandy Medical Center.
Ray was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church and took great efforts to remain active in his community.
Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy Medical Center Physical Therapy Department, the Christ Lutheran Church or to the Big Sandy Senior Citizen Center.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of Holland and Bonine Funeral Home.