Dewey Rudolph “Rudy” Williamson
1918 – 2011
Dewey Rudolph “Rudy” Williamson, 93 of Twin Falls, passed away Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at his home with his loving wife, Marie by his side.
Rudy was born May 11, 1918 in Elba, Alabama, the son and 9th child of Joseph & Maggie (Mack) Williamson. When Rudy was just a small boy, the family moved from Elba, to Bonifay, FL. There he grew up, attended schools and graduated from High School in 1936. Rudy’s father was a simple farmer, trying to raise 10 children during the Depression, so niceties like running water weren’t always available. They bathed in the creek and carried their water for everything else from the well.
Rudy loved to learn, he had an extremely sharp and agile mind and was amazing with figures. As a young man, he suffered from an injury that he felt sure would keep him from the military. However, in February, 1942 he was drafted into the United States Air Force and was sent to Basic Training in Wendover, UT. From there, he was stationed in Mountain Home, ID, with Headquarters Detachment of the 470th Bomb Squad. He achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, and also had the privilege of being known as the shortest Master Sergeant in the 4th Air Force. According to an article written about Rudy, “He stands a mere 5 Feet 2 inches in his GI socks and weighs in at 120 lbs after a heavy lunch.” He served as the section head of the 470th Statistical section. He had the ability to compute facts and figures, especially percentages at an amazing speed and was a whiz at airtime statistics.
However, a military man must have rest and recuperation time, so on one of his week-ends free, he hitchhiked to Twin Falls, and went to the Roller Skating Rink. There he locked eyes with a pretty, young girl named Marie Bower. He tagged her and after skating together, they went to the Radio Rendezvous. Not having a vehicle and being a gentleman, Rudy delivered Marie to her home in Filer by taxi-cab, and then after saying Good Night, he hitchhiked back to Mountain Home.
The next time he had leave, he once again hitchhiked to Twin Falls, met up with Marie and asked her to be his wife. She said “Yes”, but because she was not yet 18, Rudy decided they would wait until she was. However, he promptly wrote a letter to her father to ask for her hand in marriage. Her father wrote back that he was concerned about religious differences that may come between them, however Rudy never once questioned the beliefs of his young bride and so on June 10, 1944, they were married in Twin Falls, Idaho. Marie returned with Rudy to Mountain Home, and then they were transferred to Tonopah, “Gold”Hill” NV where they lived until he completed his military career.
In 1945, 9 months after their wedding, Sandra Jo Williamson made an appearance in Tonopah, NV. She was a mere 5lbs, 6 oz and was the apple of her father’s eye.
After Rudy was Honorably Discharged in 1945, they stayed in Tonopah. Then in early 1946, the family moved to Twin Falls, Idaho where they have lived for the past 65 years. In 1949, Dewey was born and Rudy felt with a son and a daughter that their family was complete.
Rudy worked for Banner Furniture and then for Sears as a Salesman. After leaving Sears, he went to Buhl, Idaho where he purchased a furniture store and an apartment building and decided that he would get his own business going. Well, he was approached by an older man who wanted to have something to do and he asked Rudy to sell him the store. Rudy did! So then he came back to Twin Falls, and became involved with Elvis Cain. Rudy worked for Cain’s Home Furnishings for 26 years. He was an exceptional salesman and Elvis’ right hand. In fact, when he tried to retire at the age of 65, Elvis would still call regularly with questions or because Rudy’s customers were in the store and would only deal with him.
While he was always happy to assist or care for his customers, in his spare time, he began to develop interests outside of work. Rudy was dedicated to his family, and although he was not a member, he has for the past 67 years faithfully attended the Seventh Day Adventist Church with Marie. He realized the value of church school and Christian education. As Marie had begun working when the children were school age, Rudy was in charge of driving them to school. They both attended church school, so after dropping them off each morning, Rudy would go and have his breakfast at the Burger Stop. This is a tradition that has continued until Rudy could physically no longer travel every day.
Rudy was very civic-minded and he enjoyed meeting people and making friends, so he started looking to music as a way to meet more people and expand his friendship base. Rudy was an extremely talented guitar picker and he started the idea circulating of having a Country Music Association in the Magic Valley. He became one of the Originators of the Country Music Jamboree which began being held at Filer High School and grew so popular that it had to be moved to the CSI arena. There it became so crowded that the Fire Marshal threatened to close the Venue because of the number of people that were there. During these events, most of the money raised would go to Easter Seals or to a local charity such as Harbor Valley House.
When the Jamboree went by the wayside, Rudy continued to play for dances at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Twin Falls & Jerome Senior Citizens Centers, local nursing homes, The Crystal Ballroom until it closed, Spanbauer’s Barn where he played for 17 years until it closed. He was there for the Farewell Concert and it was very emotional for him. Besides his music, Rudy was a volunteer for the Buzz Langdon Visitor Center and enjoyed telling people about Twin Falls. He was a life member of the Twin Falls Monarch Lions Club and was dedicated to seeing that the Flags were always put up and taken down in the appropriate manner. He was honored by the Lions Club in 1989 for his dedication to the Organization. He knew all the members very well and has outlived all but two of the Charter members of the Group.
Rudy was dedicated to his family and was always there to support them and share with them whatever he had. In 1994, Rudy and Marie celebrated 50 years together and the Turf Club was full of people and laughter and music. Just one more testament of how much people love and respect Rudy & Marie. In 1999, once again the Burger Stop got the same privilege, as he celebrated his 80th birthday.
Friends were very important to Rudy. He never forgot a kindness and was never known to speak ill of anyone. Very seldom do you meet someone about which it can be said, “They really have no bad habits or vices.” The Depression engrained a respect for things and people into Rudy. He never drank or smoked, he was conscientious of his appearance, careful with his words, slow to anger and you knew if he said it, It was the Truth. That is the true measure of a man and one that is rare and should be cherished.
In his last years, macular degeneration had set in and he was no longer able to drive. But knowing how much he enjoyed his daily trip to the Burger Stop, his very good friend, Gary Tetz stepped in. Gary made it a point of going every morning, picking Rudy up and taking him to the Burger Stop. Then they would do whatever errands needed done and they would spend hours together driving and talking. Gary filled a very special place in Rudy’s life that no one else could fill and his family wants him to know that they are extremely grateful for his love and kindness.
For those of us who have had the privilege of knowing and loving this man, the sting of death is real. However, we are all the better for having known Rudy and been able to call him our friend. He will be missed by all who knew him, and for those of you who didn’t, you missed out. He was one heck of a guy.
Surviving Rudy is his loving wife of 67 years, Marie (Bower) Williamson of Twin Falls, daughter, Sandra Jo Williamson of Loma Linda, CA; son, Dewey (Phyllis) Williamson of Twin Falls, ID; grandson, Dewey Williamson, Jr. of Twin Falls, ID, his brother, Boyce Williamson of Boise, ID and much extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his 8 other siblings.
Funeral Services for Rudy will be held Tueday, November 22, 2011 at Parke’s Magic Valley Funeral Home 2551 Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, ID with Pastor Dwayne Kluchesky officiating. Visitation for Rudy will be held on Monday, November 21, 2011 from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Interment will be held following the services at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Twin Falls, ID.
The family would like to express their thanks to Dr. Aaron Brown and Hospice Visions for their loving care of Rudy and Marie during these last few weeks of his illness. And also on a special note, there is one lady who has gone above and beyond to care for Rudy and Marie. To be a confidant and life-long friend; because sometimes God knows when we need an angel here on earth, our love goes out to Ardith Schneider.
For those wishing to share memories and condolences may do so at www.magicvalleyfuneralhome.com.
November 21, 2011, 5:00P.M.
Parke's Magic Valley Funeral Home - Twin Falls
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November 22, 2011, 11:00AM
Parke's Magic Valley Funeral Home - Twin Falls
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