Published in The Herald Democrat on Sep. 25, 2019.
1922 - 2019
Major David W Williams, Retired USAF, made his final flight home to heaven September 17,
David (Dave) Weldy Williams was born August 23, 1922 to Weldy and Ada Williams in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When Dave was 7 years old, his mother passed away, and he went
to live in Washington DC with his aunt and uncle, Edith and Carl Bergman. When he graduated
from McKinley High in 1940, he joined the Army Air Corps as a mechanic and his new life
In late December of 1942, Dave qualified for Aviation Cadet training in Phoenix, Arizona at
Williams Air Base. Flying was a life-long love.
On his way to Arizona, Dave stopped in Champaign, Illinois at Chanute Air Base. There he met
the other love of his life, Dorthy (Dot) Rutan. They dated until he left for Williams AFB, where
Dave completed his training, was given the rank of 2nd Lt. and received his wings. On the way
home to DC, he stopped to see Dot. As the story goes by Dave's account, "When Dot saw
those wings, she said 'Let's get married'". And he said "OK". Thus his life in the military with Dot
Dave was assigned to California for Combat Training in the P-38 Lightning. For the duration of
WWII, he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England, specifically, the 364th Wing. Dave's
greatest distinction during the war came when his fighter group participated as bomber escorts
during the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. They were called the "Little Friends".
At the conclusion of WWII, Dot and Dave were stationed at Johnson Air Force Base in
Irumagawa, Japan (during the occupation). Their first child, Mary, was born there in 1949. The
family was later transferred to Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Georgia, where their son David
was born in 1954. Dave's last tour of duty was Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman, Texas. In
1962, Major Williams retired after 22 years in the US Air Force.
Not one to stay idle long, Dave began studies at Southeastern State College in Durant,
Oklahoma. He was awarded a degree in Industrial Arts and History in June of 1965. He taught
at Dillingham Junior High in the Sherman School District for 20 years before retiring from
teaching. He had loved his second career almost as much as his first.
Dot and Dave spent their retirement traveling the country in their 5th wheeler and going to the
Air Force reunions of his fighter squadrons. They especially loved being winter visitors to
McAllen, Texas. They met and enjoyed the company of many new friends in South Texas.
When Dot passed away in 2006, Dave discovered a new way to share his knowledge of the
history of the military by becoming a volunteer at the Perrin AFB Museum in Sherman. At the
Museum, he made many new friends and developed a passion for being part of this wonderful
family. His buddies were Jim Farris, Charlie Giarraputo, Dan Stange, and John Elkins. They
would spend hours reminiscing about their Air Force service and exploits. They loved sharing
their stories and enlightening the visitors who toured the museum. A special group of ladies
who were also volunteers at the Museum did their best to keep that group of guys in line. They
are Mary Day, Ginnie Ammons, Laura Longmire, and Bernie Stange. He spent many hours
enjoying this camaraderie. That special group of men and women gave him great joy and
sincere friendship during his later years without Dot.
Another valued friend and caregiver to both Dot and Dave is Edna Draper. Edna has always
there when they needed her over the past 13 years. She is a big part of the Williams family and
they will be forever grateful for her devotion and kindness.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, and his loving wife, Dot.
He is survived by his daughter, Mary Heard of Yuma Arizona, and son David (and wife Debbie)
Williams of Salado Texas; grandson Jim (and wife Stacey) Heard and great-grandsons Justin,
JT and Grayson of Mesa Arizona; granddaughter Maggie (and husband Mike) Kipp and
great-grandchildren, Molly, Maeve, and Morgan of Phoenix Arizona; and grandson Scott (and
wife Carrie) Williams and great-granddaughter (on the way), Elliott of Portland Oregon.'
In honor of Major Williams, and all the men and women who have served, are serving, and will
serve in our armed forces, please make a visit to the Perrin AFB Museum to see and
experience the wonderful exhibits and special memorabilia representative of our American
There will be a private family gathering to celebrate Dave's life at a future date.