Beloved son, father, husband, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to everyone, J Fred (Fritz) Williamson of Lyons, Kansas, passed away on Thursday, Aug 6, 2020. He was 88 years old. To be universally both respected and adored is no small feat, and yet J Fred accomplished just that. Dignified but never elitist, generous with his love but never one to coddle, someone who was perfectly comfortable serving in one of the most esteemed positions in the Masonic Society or lounging barefoot on a lake-side beach, J Fred was a truly unique and amazing man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
J Fred (or Grandpa Fritz as he was known to many) was born October 12, 1931 in Larned, Kansas and is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Dorothy Williamson, his first wife Nancy (Brubaker) Williamson, his daughter in-law Kim (Schoenhofer) Williamson, and his grandson, Scott Williamson.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Pat) Biggs Williamson of Lyons, KS, his children, Brad Williamson and wife Carol (Patton) Williamson of Lawrence, KS; Fred Williamson and wife Tanya (Perdee) Williamson of Cleveland, MO; Marcia (Williamson) Neal and husband Jim Neal of Marquette, KS; and Mike Williamson and wife Elaine (Snyder) Williamson of rural Lyons, KS, his step-son Tom Biggs of Lyons, KS, 12 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren living in Kansas, Colorado, Washington, Indiana, New York and Ontario, as well as many nieces, nephews and countless friends and relatives who loved and cherished J Fred for his infectious, often ornery sense of humor, his devotion to his family, and his generosity to his community.
J Fred graduated from Lyons High School in 1949 and attended the University of Kansas. J Fred and Nancy raised their children in Lyons, KS, and owned the H&S Laundry and Dry Cleaners. A member of the Royal Masonic Lodge number 192 in Lyons, KS, J Fred was honored to serve as Grand Master of Kansas from 1973-74.
J Fred was a businessman, a volunteer firefighter for over 50 years, and a long-time regular for coffee at various Lyons coffee spots--most recently, the Dairy Queen. In his retirement, J Fred enjoyed gardening, wood carving, bow hunting, fishing, and spending time at his cabin at Kanopolis Lake. In 1998 J Fred married his longtime friend and neighbor Patricia, and they delighted in many summers together at Pat’s cabin in Creede, Colorado. A master craftsman, J Fred built furniture and excelled at artist carvings of animals, birds, mountain men, and Santa Claus (his specialty). He shared his expertise with others teaching wood carving classes in both Hutchison, KS and Creede, CO. To his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Grandpa Fritz very much embodied Santa Claus with his white beard, red jumpsuit, and jolly, generous spirit. His hand-carved Santas and other carvings were especially treasured gifts which are now fitting remembrances of such a generous, happy and talented man.
J Fred was always the life of the party, and loved nothing more than gathering with family and friends for good food, good stories, and good fun. Family dinners and get-togethers throughout the year would feature kolaches, Brookville chicken, spicy homemade salsa, ham for Christmas, platters of crispy, freshly caught fish, and J Fred’s famous homemade bean-dip (although not usually all the same meal). He will be dearly missed.
Because of the global pandemic, there will not be a public service. Visitation is 1:00 until 7:00 P.M., Sunday, August 9, 2020 at Birzer Funeral Home, Lyons; family will not be in attendance. Those who wish to share their memories of J Fred are encouraged to do online: https://www.birzerfuneralhomes.com/obituary/JFred-Williamson/guest-book. In lieu of flowers, donations honoring the life of J Fred Williamson will be welcomed at Head for the Cure Foundation (brain tumor research), or the Lyons Bell and Star Fund. Please make checks payable to one of those organizations and write “J Fred Williamson memorial” in the memo line. Donations may be sent to the Birzer Funeral Home, 214 W. Avenue South, Lyons, KS 67554.