HARLEM - Ray Williams, 72, died Sunday, May 23, 2004, at his home in Harlem due to natural causes.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in the New Horizon Day Center in Joliet. Burial will be in the Joliet Cemetery at 4:30 p.m.
born on Aug. 23, 1931, in Boyd to John and Ann Williams. Ray was raised in Joliet until 1937 and then moved to Boulder due to health problems. He came to Harlem in 1978 and was a member of the activity center.
Ray enjoyed doing woodwork, bowling, playing cards and listening to country music. His favorite performer was Reba McIntyre. He also played country western music on the harmonica and would sing country songs. He bowled in the Montana Special Olympics and took many medals and trophies until the last two years. Ray loved to take rides in the springtime, looking at all the newborn calves, going to Sandy's Caf for coffee and visiting with community members. His relationship with former Blaine County Sheriff Jack Harrington was how Ray became known as "The Sheriff" of Harlem. When he first came to Harlem, he would sit and watch and count trains going through Harlem for hours. Ray would play poker in the back room of a local bar, winning many hands. He had great admiration for Stella Brietmeier and the late Francis Bardanouve for all their work in promoting deinstitutionalization for the developmental disabled. Ray was one of the first semi-independents living in his own apartment in the state of Montana. He was very proud of having his own apartment right up to his death.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents and brothers John and Don Williams.
Survivors include his brothers, Ron Williams of Nampa, Idaho, Charlie Williams of Hardin, Bill Williams of Joliet, Melvin Williams of Amado, Ariz., Vern Williams of Lewiston, Idaho, and Elmer Williams of Tucson Ariz.; sisters, Pat Arthun of Joliet, Viola Broten and Laura Nottingham both of Belfry; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.