January 11, 2017
Kelso Lee Williams, 93, passed peacefully from this life to be with his Heavenly Father on January 11, 2017. He was born March 19, 1923, to James Robert and Dixie Opal Watson Williams on the family farm in Washita County, just outside of Rocky, Oklahoma.
The day after graduating from high school at Rocky, Kelso enrolled in a welding school in Cordell, completed two sessions, then moved to California to work in the Kaiser Shipyards, helping build one Liberty ship a day. He was drafted into the U.S. Army, and served his country during WWII as a mechanic and crane operator in numerous countries in the Pacific Theater. Upon returning home to Oklahoma, he married Lillian Morris on October 26, 1946 in Cordell, Oklahoma. He earned a degree in soil science in 2 years and 7 months from Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical College, graduating in 1951.
Upon graduation from college, Kelso accepted a job in Kansas as a soil conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He assisted landowners in southwestern and northwestern Kansas with erosion control and irrigation opportunities in their farm plans, and helped survey and build some of the first floodwater control projects (often known as SCS structures) in the United States.
He was a faithful husband, father and grandfather. Kelso and Lillian were blessed with two wonderful daughters, Becky and Pam. In Kansas, Kelso volunteered as a member of the Lions Club of Meade, and as a member of Rotary Club of Hill City, and was active in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, member # 21784.
Upon retirement, Kelso and Lillian returned home to Cordell to raise cattle, grow wheat, and farm the family land. That farming operation still includes the quarter section of land he was born on and which has now been in the family for one-hundred years.
Kelso was a life-long learner; he took auto body classes at the local career tech center near Cordell and was still taking computer lessons until last fall, and he was always planning some new project. He and Lillian were members of the Hobart Antique Tractor Club for many years. They loved to restore vintage tractors to showroom quality, especially the red ones (Farmalls), and then drive them in parades. Together, Kelso and Lillian also enjoyed watch and clock collecting and repair. He was an accomplished woodworker and loved using his wood and metal lathes to turn and make personalized items for family and friends. He loved photography and took and organized hundreds of pictures during his lifetime.
Kelso and Lillian moved from Cordell to Edmond three years ago, and were blessed to make so many new friends at Lyndale Edmond, formerly Copper Lake Estates at 15th and Kelley, Edmond.
Kelso was a life-long member of the church of Christ and a faithful servant of our Lord. He was baptized in 1951 by Eldred Stevens in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was a member of Northside church of Christ in Cordell, and later, the Edmond church of Christ. He loved a cappela singing, and he loved to sing and to lead singing. He understood what “shaped notes” were, and how to use them.
He was an avid Oklahoma State University sports fan, and also relished time spent on woodworking and fishing, and sharing tractor-time with the grandchildren. He enjoyed major league baseball over the years, especially teams like the Braves, the Rangers and the Royals.
Kelso was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Gwendolyne Finley; four brothers-in-laws, Lonnie Morris, Doug Morris, T.J. Finley and R. L. Alexander; and one nephew, Richard Alexander.
He leaves to cherish his memory, Lillian his wife of seventy years; two daughters, Becky Rogers and husband Cleon of Little Rock, AR, and Pam Hammonds and husband Glen of Edmond, OK; six grandchildren: Andrea Rogers of Manhattan, NY, Lauren Hammonds of Oklahoma City, Alex Rogers of Fairfax, VA, Nick Rogers of Baltimore, MD, Emily Rogers of Stillwater, OK, and Austin Hammonds of Kansas City, MO; one great-granddaughter, Juniper Rogers of Manhattan, NY; one sister, Glenna Mae Alexander of Whitesboro, TX; one sister-in-law, Marilyn Morris of Elk City, OK and of a host of others he was proud to call his family and friends.
A formal visitation is scheduled for 3 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, January 15, 2017, at Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond, Oklahoma. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. January 16, 2017, at the Edmond Church of Christ, Edmond, Oklahoma, with interment to follow at 2:30 p.m. in Lawnview Cemetery, Cordell, Oklahoma.
Memorials may be made to: In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK, or the Cordell Public Library, Cordell, Oklahoma.
Services are under the direction of the Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond, Oklahoma.