Kenneth Eugene Williams was born to Minnie Estelle Jones Williams and William Garland Williams on March 23, 1942 in Snowcamp, NC. He was one of 10 children.
As a child Kenny ran with his six brothers, doing the usual boy stuff, skipping school and getting into trouble, sneaking off to swim, fish or hunt squirrels; when they were supposed to be in school or working in their Dad’s tobacco fields. Kenny grew up driving mules to plant and harvest and put up tobacco, not an easy job for a child. They had chickens, pigs and a couple of cows. He grew up in a 3 room house where all the kids ended up sleeping in the same bed. Kenny often told his daughters Sandy and Susan that “when a chicken cackled five boys ran to find the egg; who ever found the egg got to eat.” He said that he had to fight to find a place at the table. Kenny and his brothers would ride their bikes several miles with nickels in their pockets just to buy a co cola (it’s a southern thing). It was a major treat to get to go to town once a year to sell the tobacco. Kenny attended Sylvan School in Saxaphaw, NC; making it through the sixth grade and had to quit to work on the farm as so many kids did at that time. His mother worked hard in order to keep everyone fed. Meals were oftentimes squirrel, that one of the boys got, and biscuits. All the kids learned to make the biscuits by watching their mother. Kenny made the best biscuits until he decided frozen was easier.
Kenny joined the Navy as soon as he was old enough to join, very likely as an escape from the farm and the work involved with tobacco. He was stationed in Newfoundland as a mechanic on the U.S. Navy’s planes. Kenny came home on leave one year to find the police at the house. One of his brothers had shot their dad in the knee. Boys will be boys.
Kenny served with the U.S. Navy for four years, when he got out he went to Denver with a buddy with plans to go to Alaska, but ran out of money. He got a job and met Roberta on the job. They married and had Susie; four years later they had Sandy. Kenny’s job transferred him to Grand Rapids, Michigan where they stayed a year before returning back to Denver. Kenny got sick of Denver and moved the family to Cortez in 1972. He worked a few jobs here and there in Cortez, eventually buying out Caun-Co Inc. Kenny joined the 928th unit of the National Guard, serving in Desert Storm. He was a long serving member of the American Legion volunteering for nearly every function.
Kenny is survived by his children, Susan Pernot (Joel), Sandra Wall (Frank); his sisters, Linda Williams and Faye Williams Pergerson both of Graham, NC; his brothers, Lynn Williams (Phyllis) and Richard Williams (Barbara) both of Burlington, NC; numerous nieces and nephews as well as many great nieces and nephews; untold friends and colleagues. Kenny is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Roberta Irene Gardner Williams; his parents; three brothers; and two sisters.