OBITUARY: Stephen R. Williams

Stephen R. Williams, 81, of Newton died on Monday, April 3, 2023. Steve was born on Jan. 4, 1941, in Wellington to Leonard and Opal Williams.

Steve grew up in Wellington, Kansas, where he graduated from Wellington High School in May 1960. He went on and attended Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia and graduated in 1964 with a B.S. in education. While in college, Steve met his wife, Cheryl, through a blind date. They were married on June 28, 1964, in El Dorado, Kansas.

Steve and Cheryl made their home in Salina, Kansas, next door to Harold and Florence Eisenhauer. The Eisenhauers became like another set of parents to them. Marci was born in 1969, and in 1971, Marc joined the family. While living in Salina, Steve taught English at Salina High School while pursuing his masters in school administration from Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia. He graduated with an M.S. in school administration in August of 1969. In 1971, Steve became assistant principal/activities director at Salina High School South.

The family moved to Newton in 1976, when Steve became principal at Newton High School. In 1980, he changed his career and worked at Hesston Corporation, holding various positions. In 1990, Steve was called to return to education and became principal at Salina High School Central. He held that position for 11 years until he retired. In the summer of 2001, Steve and Cheryl moved back to Newton, where they have made their home since. Steve held many retirement jobs, but he was most proud of his time serving as a consultant for the Kansas Health Foundation.

Steve was also honored to be a member of the Army Reserves from 1967 to 1976. He chose the Reserves because they had an opening, and he was accepted. He was sent into active duty in 1968 for five months.

Steve was a proud alumnus of Emporia State University, formerly known as the Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia. Steve gave many of his years to the university, serving on the alumni board and the Emporia State Foundation Board of Trustees. Steve was honored to be chair of the foundation from 2015 to 2017.

He enjoyed golfing, playing cards with friends, yard work and grilling, and was an avid reader. He enjoyed watching his Red Sox and KU basketball but never forgot to cheer on the KSU Wildcats, because all his grandkids attended college there. His grandchildren were his pride and joy, and he loved spending time with them.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents and Harold and Florence Eisenhauer.

Steve is survived by his wife of 58 years, Cheryl; his two children, Marci (Doug) Brenneman of Newton, Kan., and Marc (Kari) of Spring Hill, Kan.; and five grandchildren, Katie (Jarrett) Whitson, Max Brenneman and Isabel (Hunter Willyard) Williams. Steve is also survived by his brother, Duane, of Wellington, Kan.

Condolences may be sent to Peterson Funeral Home in Newton. Memorials may be made to the Stephen R. and Cheryl S. Williams Scholarship at Emporia State University or Trinity Heights United Methodist Church of Newton.

A service to celebrate the life of Steve Williams was at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 8, at the Trinity Heights United Methodist Church. A luncheon followed the ceremony.

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