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James Jerome “Jerry” Williams, devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully at Cortlandt Healthcare, Cortlandt NY on Oct 1, 2023. He was 91 years old.
Jerry was born in Los Angeles, CA, on Aug 3rd 1932 to James Cullen Williams and Lucile (O’Brien). He grew up in Inglewood, CA, with his loving parents and sisters, Marian and Margaret, attending Mt. Carmel High School.
From an early age Jerry embraced the outdoors. He was an Eagle Scout, inspired by his time hiking, camping and fishing in the surrounding California mountain ranges, as well as summers spent with his father and grandfather in Panguitch, Utah. He served in the Navy Reserves from 1954 to 1958.
His journey into oil exploration began with a Masters in Geology from UCLA in 1955 and work with Marathon Oil in Ventura, CA. He had adventurous assignments mapping the North Slope in Alaska, flying to remote areas, landing on small lakes, and walking the wilderness. As a young man he enjoyed California life– surfing off Solimar Beach, playing his ukulele, skiing and taking the “Snowball Express” to Sun Valley, Idaho. He savored the folk music of Kingston Trio, Limelighters, Joan Biaz along with classical symphonies and guitarists.
It was at this time that he met his beloved wife of 61 years, Patricia Marie Kennedy. In early 1962 he took an assignment to Libya working for Oasis Oil Co. That same year, he married Patricia in Tripoli, and it was while living in Libya that his 2 children, Sheila and Terence, were born in Valletta, Malta.
His career as an “oil finder” was a rich and well-traveled one. Spanning over forty years, he settled for various lengths of time in California, the UK, Colorado, and Albania. He was both a company man – with Occidental Petroleum – and entrepreneur, forming Warrior Resources in Colorado, and Isramco in Israel. His optimism, knowledge and enthusiasm enabled him to play a key role in the oil industry from explorations and discoveries in the US, Libya, the North Sea, Guatemala, Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean Seas. He was known as a negotiator: from talks with tribes in the Fezzan over water wells; to the British government over North Sea concessions; to consulting with the Angolan & Gambian governments on writing their petroleum laws.
His sense of adventure and travel never ceased: organizing 50 geologists on a remote expedition across the Sahara into Chad; and introducing his family to the Alps through his love of skiing. A legacy of travel was passed onto his wife and children, all of whom reaped the rewards and continued in that pursuit themselves.
In 1997, Jerry retired with Patricia to his favorite destination: the mountains in Breckenridge, Colorado, where they lived on and off from 1981. He then moved to New Mexico, and, finally, the Hudson Valley, NY to be near his son, grandchildren and sister-in-law, Lisa McMurdo.
Jerry was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in the UK in the late 1970s, and bravely fought the condition for over 40 years, which he suffered through until his final years of immobility, long cared for by his devoted wife.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Patricia; their two children Sheila Lucas (Anthony Lucas) and Terence Williams; six grandchildren Francesca, Monique, Natalie and Antonia Lucas, Sasha and Lena Williams; two sisters, Marian Achenbach and Margaret Hawes; in laws; Lloyd Hawes, Lisa McMurdo and Robert and Judy Kennedy as well as much loved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jerry’s Family will gather to remember his Life with a Catholic Mass on Friday, October 20, 2023 at the St. John the Evangelist Church, 31 Willow Street, Beacon, New York.
Memorial donations can be made in Jerry’s memory to Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation (https://www.helpfightra.org/donations/) or to Doctors Without Borders - who are assisting with the recent floods in Libya - (https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/get-involved/ways-to-give)
Arrangements were entrusted to the care of the LIBBY FUNERAL HOME, 55 Teller Avenue, Beacon, New York. To offer a message of condolence or share a fond memory, please visit: www.LibbyFuneralHome.com
Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, Help Fight RA
8815 Conroy Windermere Road, Suite 309, Orlando FL 32835
Doctors Without Borders USA
P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown MD 21741-5030