Dec.30, 1926-April 14, 2005

McMINNVILLE - Jack H. Williams, 78, of McMinnville, died Thursday, April 14, 2005, at his home.

A memorial service for Mr. Williams will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the First Baptist Church in McMinnville. A reception will follow at First Presbyterian Church in McMinnville.

Mr. Williams was born at Filer, Idaho, Dec. 30, 1926, to Fred and Litha Williams. He attended Poplar Hill grade school and graduated from Filer Rural High School in May 1944. During high school he was Associate Student Body president, class president, editor of the student paper and was active in theater serving as Thespians president. He also was a member of FFA for 4 years raising sheep and steers. He began singing at local gatherings and school contests when he was 5 years old.

He worked on the farm for two years following high school, leaving for Whitman College in the fall of 1946. He lived in a barracks on the McCaw project for the first 2 years at Whitman and pledged the Teke fraternity his sophomore year. He directed the Teke chorus and won the fraternity choral contest in 1950. He traveled all over the Pacific Northwest singing with the Whitman choir.

Mr. Williams received his bachelor's degree in 1950 and a master's in 1951. He did his student teaching in in Milton- Freewater and was offered a job there in the fall of 1951. During his 37-year teaching career he taught speech, stage craft, junior English, choir, honors English, and was a guidance counselor. He also sang with the Robert Shaw chorale for summer workshops in San Diego in 1956 and 1957.

In the fall of 1954 things changed for Mr. Williams when a baby blue Oldsmobile holiday 98 pulled up and redheaded OSU grad Elsie Laughlin from Yamhill stepped out. They were married Aug, 17, 1957, at the Methodist Church in McMinnville.

School and students were the primary focus of his life. Christmas and the spring May Time medley concerts played a prominent public role over 32 years. However the most important time was spent helping students realize and achieve their ambitions. His house was always open for visiting students and some even became temporary family. The struggles and successes of many students were a daily topic of conversation through school and retirement.

Survivors include his wife, Elsie, of McMinnville; son, Gregory Williams of Richland, Wash.; daughter, Lori Burton of McMinnville; brother, Dale Williams of Filer, Idaho; and grandchildren Stephanie Burton, Jeff Burton, and Fred Williams.

Memorial contributions may be made to McMinnville First Presbyterian Church Choir, Milton-Freewater Area Foundation or Jack Williams Auditorium Fund through Macy and Son Funeral Directors, 135 N.E. Evans, McMinnville, OR 97128-4682.

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