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Lewis Richard Williams March 31, 1934 - April 17, 2024

Lewis Richard Williams

Lewis Richard Williams passed away peacefully on Wednesday April 17th 2024 with his loving wife Julie by his side at St Alphonsus Hospital. He had just celebrated his 90th Birthday on Easter Sunday with all his family in good health. Tragically a week later he had a severe fall that led to a number of complications he could not recover from. The family wishes to thank all the ICU staff at St Al’s that made his short stay comfortable.

L.R., Big Lewie, GPL, Pops as he was called, was born on March 31, 1934 in Menasha, Wisconsin to George and Laura Williams. He had three siblings Katie, Patricia and George Jr. that preceded him. He was a star basketball player and football player at Neenah-Menasha High School and went on to the Stout Institute before he was accepted into officer school and pilot training in the U.S. Air Force in 1954.

His first duty assignment was at James Connally AFB in Waco Texas where he taught pilot training on T-33’s. It was there that he decided to go to the 1957 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans because the Baylor Bears from Waco were playing. There he met his first wife Sara Loutherback (Hearity), a Baylor coed at the world famous Pat O’Briens on Bourbon Street. They had 3 children during their early Air Force days they affectionately described as a Texan, a Georgia Peach and Toyko Rose.

Lew’s next big duty assignment was at Yokota AFB in Japan from 1963-1967 where he flew C-130’s over Cambodia and Laos with what he affectionately called “Spooks” in the back of the plane which were CIA agents monitoring communications prior to the Vietnam War. Of course, his favorite mission was training flights with his good friend Capt. Ben King to the Azores where they would come back to Japan with a plane full of Mateus Rose.

In 1968 he left the Air Force and joined United Airlines as a pilot based in Chicago. He also continued his military service flying F-86’s at the Indiana National Guard and KC-97’s at the Wisconsin National Guard to complete his 25 years of service and retire as a Lt. Colonel.

His time at the Wisconsin National Guard took him to Frankfurt Germany where he discovered skiing in the Austrian Alps. This led him to move to Boise Idaho as well as discover Sun Valley, a lifelong favorite where he enjoyed many a combo and carafe at Louie’s Bar and skiing with Doc Tweeten.

In 1987 he met the love of his life, Julie Shaw at Angell’s in Boise. They were married and soon moved to Denver where he was based as a United Airline Pilot. Lew and Julie moved back to Boise where they built a home up on Hillway Dr in 1990.

He retired from United in 1994. They moved from Hillway Dr to Plantation Lane in 2004. They were members of Plantation Golf Club (River Club Golf Course) where they had many friends. He golfed twice a week with The Old Good Boys, enjoyed tennis, skiing, working in the yard and garage as well as his numerous Costco runs.

Big Lew enjoyed his Boise haunts like Peg Leg Annies and the “Coach” with his buddy Ben King and his wife Sheila who also retired in Boise. He also enjoyed what he called “Tuesdays with Bruce” whether it was pancakes at the Diner or the Pork Chop sandwich at Lindy’s. Later years they joined the “Mazatlan Mafia” from Boise for winters in Mexico before transitioning to a wonderful Del Webb casita in Surprise Arizona.

However, above everything, it was family that really made his heart beat, especially spending time helping his grandkids. Whether it was getting them into swimming or tennis lessons, finding them their first car or even giving them a chance to run a bulldozer, he made it happen.

He always had a smile and an easy laugh. He was famous for his rib nights, no one would miss those. Words can’t describe how much we’ll all miss him. He was a larger-than-life figure that can’t be replaced.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Julie Williams, his children Charley and (Mary) Williams, Steve and (Trish) Williams and Kelli Decker, her children Terri Mulcahy and Mike Shaw, and all the grandkids on both sides; Whitney, Hailey, Ian, Hannah, Melissa, Max, Brendan, Mike Jr, Ashley, and Will.

Inurnment will be at Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 14th at 2 o’clock with family and close friends. There will be a Celebration of Life gathering at the River Club Sunday, June 9th from 3pm to 6pm.

Donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Shriners Children.

Arrangements are under the direction of Bowman Funeral Parlor of Garden City.

Inurnment will be at Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 14th at 2 o'clock with family and close friends. There will be a Celebration of Life gathering at the River Club Sunday, June 9th from 3pm to 6pm.

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Donations can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or Shriners Children.