ONEONTA — Roger Williams of Oneonta crested his final wave March 26, 2013, at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital.
He was born March 18, 1927, in New Berlin, the youngest son of Katherine (Roberts) and Robert Williams.
Roger grew up in New Berlin and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944. Although quiet regarding his service during World War II, he was very proud of his tour of duty on the Destroyer U.S.S. Black, a member of the Pacific Fleet. Beginning on his 18th birthday off the shores of Okinawa Japan until August of 1945, the ship was heavily engaged in combat. Roger was a Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class earning an American Theatre Medal, Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal, two Bronze Stars and a Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy in June 1946, Roger returned to New Berlin where he worked for a time at Kraft Foods in South Edmeston.
He loved cars and went into business with Nathan Clark who owned the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. He eventually became sole proprietor and was very successful in the automotive business.
During his years in New Berlin, he served as village mayor for much of the 1960s, was captain of the volunteer fire department, and was an active member of the American Legion and the Masonic Lodge.
Upon selling his dealership in 1977, Roger moved to Oneonta, where he owned and operated Thirty Nine–Fifty Auto Mart on Main Street and partnered in a U-Haul rental business with his friend, Gary Munson. He loved cars and being at work. Roger just could not imagine what he would do if he “retired.” He was still at his “shop,” six days a week, until his recent illness.
He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Oneonta and volunteered at the City of Oneonta Youth Center.