LAKIN — Harold Leon Williams, 87, died at 2 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at home in Lakin. He was born March 10, 1932, at Grandfolks Paul Hagler's home, four miles north and a half mile east of Deerfield, to Thomas Vernon Williams and Dorothy (Hagler) (Williams) Yakel.
Harold lived the first two or three years of his childhood in a one-room cellar behind a sod dugout of his grandparents, Tom and Bessie Williams, north of Lakin. He was the oldest son of twelve siblings.
Harold went to the Columbia one-room country grade school through the sixth grade. His parents moved to town in August 1943, when he started the seventh grade at the Lakin Grade School. He graduated from Lakin High School in May 1949.
He worked for the State Highway Department prior to his induction into the United States Army from 1951 to 1953, with the rank of corporal. He served in Wiesbaden, Germany in the Battery B, 40th AAA Gun Battalion. Harold received "Outstanding Trainee of the Day," Occupation Medal in Germany, the National Defense Service Medal, Sharpshooter Badge and the Good Conduct Medal.
Harold returned home and continued to work for the State Highway Department until Feb. 20, 1956, when he went to work for the Kansas Highway Patrol. He worked as a patrolman in Liberal and on the turnpike between Wichita and Topeka until Nov. 1, 1959.
He married Maylene Chance on May 15, 1960, at the Elmont Methodist Church, where Maylene was active in the church. Harold was 28 years old and Maylene was 20 years old. They bought and moved into their first home at 402 South Lakin Street in Lakin. They have been blessed with fifty-nine years of marriage.
In November 1959, Harold had left Topeka and was working for Lakin-Kendall Farmers Coop. He continued working there until April 1, 1963, when he was hired at Colorado Interstate Gas Co. at Lakin. Harold retired from CIG April 1, 1994, with 31 years. He also worked extra for the ASCS Office measuring crop and bins for 30 years. He was a volunteer fireman for the Kearny County Fire Department for 15 years, and his biggest passion was working for Edd Murray on his farm harvesting wheat, working on machinery and just hanging out with Edd and enjoying Ivah's cooking and baking.
Harold was an active member of the Emerald Lodge No. 289, A.F. & A., in Lakin for 60 years and served as Worshipful Master during the year of 1963. He was a member of the Lakin Methodist Church, where he attended Sunday school, church, Bible studies and held many offices in the church, including church treasurer for four years and president of Lakin United Methodist Men for several years. He loved the Lord and his church family and loved spending time with his children.
Harold was very talented with woodworking, doubling the size of his first adult home and building a garage and tool shed. He designed and made baby cradles and time-out chairs for all the grandchildren, friends, and nieces and nephews who wanted one, little barns and dollhouses for his children and grandchildren, wagons and bicycles and tricycles, cabinets for his church, a prayer stand with a kneeling bench, China cabinets, a gun case for his nephew, and many other items. He was blessed with many talents and had a joy in sharing with others.
He is survived by his wife; his children, Victor K. Williams and wife Rebecca of Topeka, Valerie K. Welty and husband Keith of Parkville, Mo., and Chance M. Williams and wife Shauna of Manhattan, Kan.; son-in-law, Jeffrey Gnagy of Wichita; Juan E. Torres of Tucuman, Argentina; brothers, Keith Williams and wife Pat and Rick Yakel and wife Barbara, all of Lakin, Tom Williams and wife Randi of Bowman, N.D.; sisters, Doris Smith of Farmerville, La., Vera Calvin and husband Jerry of Hot Springs Village, Ark., Marian Weber of Lakin and Jeanie Fraser and husband Mike of Garden City; sister-in-law, Shirley Williams of Ulysses; aunt, Donita Hagler Buerkle and husband Robert of Holcomb.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Robert, Jim and Junior; sisters, Joyce and Yvonne; daughter, Ann D. Gnagy; and grandson, Huck Williams.
A celebration of life service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Lakin with Rev. Ivan Milosi officiating. Burial will follow at the Lakin Cemetery. There will be no calling hours.
The family is suggesting no flowers, but those wishing to honor Harold may do so by contributing to the Lakin United Methodist Church, Kearny County Historical Society, the Kearny County Senior Center or memorial of your choice. Condolences may be given at garnandfuneral-homes.com.