Clarence Raymond Williams
November 6, 1926-July 29, 2019
Ray Williams passed away peacefully at the age of 92 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He died in his home in Oakland, California on Monday, July 29, with his children at his side.
Ray was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1926; upon graduating high school in 1943, he enlisted in the US Navy and served the country for 27 years. His military service enriched his life in many ways – from fueling his love of airplanes and flying to meeting his wife of 53 years, Mildred “Millie” Chieko Nakadomari, while they were both serving in Naha, Okinawa.
His naval career took Ray far and wide – Mineola, New York; Anacostia, D.C.; Alameda, California; Pensacola, Florida; Coronado, California; Naha, Okinawa; Whidbey Island, Washington; Kodiak, Alaska; Iwakuni, Japan. Ray also spent time aboard Naval carrier ships during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. His final military post was the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California. Ray retired from his commission as Lieutenant in 1971; he and Millie settled in nearby Hanford, California to raise their family.
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Ray and Millie met in 1961 while he was stationed in Naha, Okinawa and she was assigned there as a teacher for the Navy. They maintained their romance, sometimes over great distances, and got married November 27, 1963 in San Jose, California. In 1965, Ray and Millie moved to Hanford; daughter, Lisa, was born in 1972 and son, Kevin, was born in 1974.
With Hanford as their chosen hometown, Ray continued to work in aircraft maintenance and opened his own business, Williams Aircraft Service, which became Hanford Flight Center in 1977. Ray made many friends through his operations there, and the business kept him busy until he retired for good in 2001.
Ray and Millie enjoyed spending time with their friends at the Hanford Elks Lodge and the Noon Lions Club. Many of Ray's fondest memories later in life were of the camaraderie he enjoyed at the Lodge; time with friends was sorely missed when he moved to Oakland to be near his daughter in his final year.
Ray is survived by his wife Millie; daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Michael Wottrich; son and daughter-in-law Kevin and Kerry Williams; granddaughters Sophie, Ivy and Eliza Williams, and brother and sister-in-law, David and Chris Williams. He was a friend to many but requested no memorial service be held. Instead, raise a glass and play a friendly game of poker in his honor. In lieu of flowers or other remembrances for Ray, please consider a small donation to the American Cancer Society: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/RayWilliams
Ray's final wish was to be buried at sea. The US Navy will inter his remains in the ocean near Hawaii, his wife's home state, to honor this last request.