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In Memory

Joel Williams

Joel Williams, age 65, a resident of Rio Communities, New Mexico, passed away on Monday, May 11, 2009 after battling cancer for the last year.

Joel was born in Nashville, TN, June 29, 1943 to Frank and Bernice Williams.

He met and married his wife, Marsha, while in high school in Gallup, NM. In 1973, they moved to Valdez, AK, where Joel worked for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System during construction and operations.

  • Construction: Joel was a backhoe operator on the mainline ditch from Sourdough to Valdez. He & his hoe actually hung from cables while digging on Thompson Pass at a site called "Rock One".
  • Operations: Joined the operations in Valdez & was one of the members of the Oil Movement & Storage crew that received the first oil into Valdez on 7/28/77. He continued working with OM&S, Power/Vapor Systems, Ballast Water Treatment Plant, & the Marine Dept. In December,1985 Joel became a Shift Supervisor with the OM&S/PV crews.
  • In March, 1994 was also on hand to "catch" the first samples of the 10 Billionth Barrel of oil to enter the Valdez Terminal. Joel retired from operations in 1995, but continued 'on contract' to assist with training & development of new hires at the Terminal until his departure in 2002.

He retired and returned to New Mexico in 2002.

Joel was an avid hunter and fisherman and truly believed Alaska was his home. His greatest hunting trip was in 2005 when he, his wife Marsha, Eric and Sally traveled to Tanzania, Africa, to hunt Cape Buffalo; a trip he had dreamt about his entire life. It was also the most successful hunting trip of his life. He was a Life Member of the NRA and a member of the Valdez Elks Lodge #2537 in Valdez, Alaska. Joel has many friends in New Mexico and Alaska who will truly miss his strong spirit and dedication to life.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Bernice Williams and a grandson, Sean Williams. He is survived by his wife, Marsha; son, Eric (Sally and Shane) of Valdez, AK; daughter, Kelley of Lolo, MT and sons, Willie Brubaker of Valdez and Dennis Lewis of Butte, MT; sister, Barbara Williams of Albuquerque and brother, Sam Williams of Anchorage, AK.

There will be an open house at 1101 Vista del Monte, in Rio Communities on Thursday, May 14, 2009, beginning at 4:00 PM, for all who would like to gather and remember Joel. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Valdez Elks Lodge 2537, PO Box 1607, Valdez, AK 99686. Arrangements are being handled by Riverside Funeral Home of Belen, 418 W. Reinken Ave.