Thomas Ross Williams Jr., 64, passed peacefully on March 19, 2021. He was born Nov. 13, 1956, in McComb, Ill., to Thomas and Marlene Williams and was elder brother to Dr. Ted Williams.
In his first two years of school, Tom was a cadet at the John Brown Military Academy in California. The rest of the time, Tom grew up in the Kansas City area. He was a lifelong fan of the Chiefs and Royals and spent his early years participating in sports and playing the trombone in jazz band. During college, he was a camp counselor at the Heartland Presbyterian Center. He graduated in 1981 from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration. He enjoyed attending Wichita State Basketball Shocker games with his family. He earned his Master of Arts in Human Relations from Webster University in 1984. He dedicated his 30-year professional career as a Retirement Community Administrator to the service of the aging population in Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma and Kansas. His last 14 years were spent as CEO of Asbury Park.
Tom married the love of his life, Melynnie, on Oct. 17, 1981. This year marked their 40th wedding anniversary. Tom was a devoted husband and father to three beautiful daughters. He loved his family and never missed an opportunity to support them at a sporting event, musical concert, theatrical production or other endeavors. He was a gracious mentor to three sons-in-law and a doting Papa to three grandchildren with another expected in August.
Tom was active in public service and civic engagements. He served his faith community through leadership roles in his local church and passionately supported missions, including participating in a trip to Haiti in 2016. He was an ordained elder in the church and he and Melynnie were charter members of the Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Florida. He served on the Newton Medical Center Board and was chair of the Ethics committee, past President of the Newton Chamber of Commerce, board member of Mirror, Inc., President of the Kansas Association of Homes for the Aging and board member and Treasurer for Leading Age Kansas. In 2018, he was recognized as Newton Area Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen. As a member of the Newton Rotary Club, Tom served as Past President, a Paul Harris Fellow and was involved with numerous fundraisers, including Meals on Wheels. He also chaired the Mayor’s task force examining the law enforcement faculties.
Tom was diagnosed with ALS in January 2018. Even after his diagnosis, his faith in God did not waiver. His family and friends described him as strong, positive, unselfish and courageous. He continued to inspire those around him and live his life to the fullest.
Tom’s legacy will live on through his family, including wife Melynnie (Mikish) Williams; daughters Dr. Chelsea Thomas (Jarren Thomas), Caitlyn Williams (John Cunningham), Chandler Ochoa (Yordano Ochoa); grandchildren Owen Williams Cunningham, Jaxon Thomas and Olive Williams Cunningham, and Baby Ochoa (August 2021); parents Thomas and Marlene Williams; and brother Dr. Ted Williams (BJ Williams).
The family is offering visitation hours on Thursday, April 1, from 4-6 p.m., in the parking lot of Trinity Heights United Methodist Church. Individual to-go slices of Tom’s favorite pies will be served. Masks will be required to ensure everyone’s safety.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 2 at 11 a.m., hosted by Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, located at 1200 Boyd Ave, Newton, Kan., 67114. Masks and social distancing will be required for those in attendance. Please use church entrance adjacent to Trinity Drive. There will be an option for virtual attendance via Zoom. Please contact the church office at 316-283-6410 or email at email@example.com to request virtual access. Nursery services will not be provided. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made in Tom’s memory to the ALS Foundation Mid-America Chapter, Newton Rotary Foundation or Trinity Heights United Methodist Church — ALS Association Mid-America Chapter, 3450 N. Rock Rd., Suite 208, Wichita, Kan., 67226; Newton Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 14,
Newton, Kan., 67114; Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, 1200 N. Boyd Ave.,
Newton, Kan., 67114.