Major Richard Dale Williams, USAF Retired, passed away in his home on February 12, 2020 surrounded by his family. He was 92.
"Dale" was born in Shadyside, Ohio to Benjamin and Doan Williams on November 15, 1927. He grew up in Bellaire, Ohio and left school in 1945 to join the Navy to fight in WWII. Upon his return from the war he attended Ohio University and then joined the United States Air force.
His overseas tours included the Pacific, Thule, Greenland and Johnston Island.
He met his wife Betty Ann when he was stationed at New Castle AFB in Delaware in 1955. They were married for 64 years. They were transferred to Roslyn Air Force Station in 1958 and then to Suffolk County AFB in New York. In 1963 they were sent to Vandenberg AFB in California with a missile squadron.
It was while they were stationed in California that Dale began his lifelong love of horses. His passion for trail riding started with his first horse Vaquero.
In 1967 Dale brought his family and his horse across the country to Tyndall AFB in Florida. He became a member of the Tyndall Saddle Club and made fast friends with the horse community in Bay County. He and Betty Ann were involved with forming the Bay County 4-H Riding Rebels and their children were among the club’s first members.
In 1976 Dale was given the honor of escorting a group of horseback riders from our area to meet up with the Bicentennial Wagon train pilgrimage. He and his dear friend Ray Leach cleared and created a backwoods trail from Panama City to Marianna.
While his children were growing up, Dale was always there to support them during ball games and horse shows.
After retiring from the Air Force, Dale became a math and science teacher with the Bay County school system. He taught at Mowat Middle School for over 19 years.
With his second retirement approaching and having earned his pilot's license in previous years, Dale finally got his own small airplane. He enjoyed flying on weekends with his friends and sitting around the hangers telling stories.
Dale was also an avid golfer and sailor.
His interests were many and varied. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen, the Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion, the NRA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Ercoupe Owners Club.
Dale was a family man, a cowboy, a military man, a teacher, a pilot, a golfer, a sailor and a friend. He also never came across a tree or plant that wasn't eventually growing on his property. He was often quoted as saying “The best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago.”
Dale was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Dorothy and Joyce and his brother Howard.
He is survived by his wife Betty Ann, his son Richard Dale Williams II and his wife Tamara, daughter Victoria Green and husband Tommy and daughter Leesa Dale Johannesen and husband John. He and Betty Ann have 7 grandchildren; Brian Green, Daniel Green, Lindsay Johannesen Fowler, John Philip Johannesen, Samantha Dale Williams, Josie Williams and Richard "Dale" Williams III. Their great grand child is John Houston "Jonner" Fowler. He is also survived by his best buddy Hal.
It was Dale's wishes that no services be held.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you plant a tree or a flowering shrub in Dale's memory.
To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.