Theodore Judd Williams (Ted), of Polson and Missoula, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at his Missoula home after a courageous battle with lung and brain cancer.
He was born on Sept. 26, 1942, in Anaconda, to Graydon and Mildred (Lind) Williams. Ted and family moved to Dayton, on Flathead Lake, and he was educated in a one-room school house nearby. He loved Flathead Lake! And, in his own words, he had a wonderful childhood around the Lake, on the Lake, and much of it in the lake. Ted was bused to Polson for his high school years where he was an outstanding student and played trumpet in the band and participated in football, basketball and track. He spent summers working on his grandfather’s ranch baling hay and helping his grandpa with all ranching chores. Ted graduated from Polson High School in 1960 and enrolled at the University of Montana. While there, he became a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and also worked at the Bonner mill to help pay for his education. Ted attained a Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1964.
After graduation, Ted was accepted at Washington State University to begin work on his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry which he completed in 1968. In 1965, Ted married Peggy Lee, whom he met at U of M. Ted and his new bride moved to Los Angeles so that he could complete postdoctoral research at UCLA. After a few years there, they then welcomed their first daughter, Wendy. Ted was awarded another postdoctoral position at Michigan State University to continue his research. He accepted an offer to work for the State of Michigan as the laboratory director for the Michigan Public Health Department and Department of Environmental Quality. The family settled in their new home in DeWitt, Michigan, where their second daughter, Jennifer, was born. During his tenure at the State of Michigan Water Control Division, he vastly improved the research dealing with water purity throughout the state and designed new facilities to improve water quality. Ted took an early retirement which the state offered in 1998 as did Peggy from her job as a business teacher at DeWitt High School.
Ted was a very active parent and grandparent. He coached Jenny in soccer and softball when she was younger and, win or lose, he’d take the entire team to get ice cream. Rain or shine, he was always at his grandkids’ football games cheering them on. He was there to offer words of encouragement and guidance to his family. He was a devoted son to his mother, Momo. After moving back home to Montana, he designed and built a beautiful home on Flathead Lake. His daughters and their families have enjoyed many summers at the lake house, enjoying water sports, swimming, fishing, campfires and s’mores and making wonderful memories. He also built custom furniture, joined the Flathead Lake Clean Water Organization to keep invasive mussels from destroying the largest freshwater lake in our country, and designed and placed warning signs on every public boat ramp around the lake. He was elected Homeowner President of our Association for several years and designed and oversaw the building of a large 14-slip dock and ramp on the lake along with two other service-type buildings. He also volunteered his expertise in water contamination issues by joining the Clark Fork Coalition in Missoula. Ted was an avid reader and enjoyed golfing at the Polson golf course. Health issues prevented more traveling in their RV, but they enjoyed themselves when it was possible.
Ted was preceded in death by his father, Graydon Williams. Survivors include his wife, Peggy (Lee), to whom he was married for 52 years, his daughters Wendy (Robert) Gustin of Lake Orion, Michigan and Jennifer Duvall, of Missoula, his mother Mildred (Lind) Williams and his brother Terry Williams of Polson, and his terrific grandchildren Trevor and Jarod Duvall, and Grant, Olivia and Ava Gustin.
A celebration of his life will take place at Flathead Lake next summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ted’s name may be made to the Flathead Lakers Association (flatheadlakers.org). (FLATHEAD LAKERS/P.O. BOX 70, POLSON, MT 59860). Special thanks are given to Partners in Home Care Hospice and Danni, our angel.