Rolla E. Wesley Williams, 75, of Kalamazoo, formerly of Paw Paw, passed away Sunday December 27,
He was born May 30, 1945 in Benton Harbor, the son of Rolla L.Williams and Josephine (Damron) Williams.
Rolla grew up on his parents’ farm, just north of Paw Paw. In 1963, he graduated from Paw Paw High
School. While in school, and for many years to come, he played baseball and softball all over the area.
At the age of 18, he met the love of his life, Carmen, at The Dog and Suds drive-in. Once she graduated
from Lawton High School in 1965, they were married and celebrated 55 years together on July 31st, of
In the 1970’s, he enjoyed being part of the Jay-Cee’s and was elected the president of their Kalamazoo
chapter in 1976.
He was an avid racing fan, both locally and NASCAR. He raced in the SW Michigan area in the 70’s with his
yellow #39 stock car.
Rolla was a Journeyman Electrician who worked his way through the IBEW union.
He went on to work for the City of Kalamazoo for 18 years, and was the president of their workers’ union.
In his later years, he enjoyed working alongside his wife, managing properties in Michigan and California.
In 2012, while living in southern California, he was diagnosed with the rare and incurable cancer of Multiple
Myeloma. He endured a grueling treatment plan, consisting of a total stem cell transplant, and 8 years of
regular chemotherapy treatments. Through this, he became an advocate for more research and public
information for this disease, helping as many others diagnosed with it as he could.
For retirement, he and his wife moved to Baldwin, MI and the “great northern woods,” to enjoy their golden
years together. Most recently, deciding to move back to the Kalamazoo area to be closer to his daughter
He adored his grandson, “Ford,” and loved going on adventures with him, spinning long fables, and teaching
him to hunt and fish.
Rolla was an extremely giving man, who valued friends and family above all. He would do anything to help
someone in need, and loved to tell stories and give advice based on the experiences of his incredible life.
He also enjoyed golfing and bowling on leagues with his friends, and loved to go fishing and hunting.
He is survived by his wife, Carmen (Drake) Williams, daughter, Kristi (Jeff) Radtke; grandson, Stanford Rolla
Stevens and one sister, Jonell (Craig) Williams. And far too many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and
nephews to count, but all important family to him.
Rolla was preceded in death by his sister, Helena Quake.
At Rolla’s request, cremation will take place. There will be a memorial service held in the spring 2021.
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