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Philip Durel Williams

August 22, 1939 ~ April 30, 2020 (age 80)


Philip Williams, 80, beloved Husband, Father, and Brother, was called to his eternal resting place on April 30, 2020. He entered this world on August 22, 1939, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, born to Philip and Minette Williams. He is survived by his wife Vernah Williams; sons Philip, Christopher (Molly), and Scott (Tara) Williams; daughters Suzzanne (Gordon) Harwood, Beth (Gary) Bobb, and Sandie Wilson; 16 grandchildren: Zac and Chelsea Williams; Felicity (Peter) Azzouni; Nick (Marah) and Jeremiah Runtsch; Brandon, Logan, and Wyatt Bobb; Jon and James Williams; Shelby, Shaye, Shyler, and Shepherd Williams; and Isaac and Gwendolyn Wilson; 3 great-grandchildren: Anna Azzouni, Oliver Chavez, and Ophelia Cadena; brothers George (Liz) Williams; and Herb (Kathy) Williams, and several nieces and nephews. Phil's father was a State Department officer, and brought his family to his various assignments, in Brazil, Argentina, Bahamas, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Israel, Washington DC, and Haiti. Young Phil entered high school and junior college at New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM, after the family's tour of duty in Costa Rica. Phil received a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. After graduation, he met and married his first wife, the late Mary Whealy, and the couple produced 4 children: Philip, Suzzanne, Elizabeth, and Christopher. Phil served in the Army from 1961 - 1968, and because of his lifelong love of radios and fluency in Spanish, was recruited by the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD. He and his first wife were divorced after 13 years of marriage, and he retained custody of their children. He met the love of his life, Vernah Newport, and married her on June 6, 1975, in Laurel, MD. Phil brought his family with him to his new position as Operations Officer at RAF Edzell, a joint US Navy/Royal Air Force station in Scotland. While in Scotland, the couple produced two more children, Scott and Sandra. After a 3-year assignment in Scotland, the older two children returned to the States where they lived with their mother, completed high school, and joined the Air Force. Phil was reassigned to Harrogate, England, where the family lived for 3 more years. While living in the United Kingdom, various members of the family were able to visit Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and many parts of the UK. The remaining family returned to Maryland in 1983, where Phil continued to work with NSA at Fort Meade. In 1990, Phil was offered a job at the US Air Force/Australian Joint Defense Facility/Pine Gap in Alice Springs, Australia, and was promoted at the same time to the Senior Executive Service. Phil, Vernah, and the youngest two children thoroughly enjoyed their tour in Australia, where they remained for 4 years. While there, Phil was honored by being awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement in recognition of his superior performance of duty from August 1990 to March 1991 as the Chief of Operations at an overseas ground station during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. This is one of the highest medals a civilian in the intelligence community can be awarded. In 1994, Phil returned to the States, and retired at age 55 from the National Security Agency, having served 33 years in Government service. The family moved to Clovis, NM, in September 1994, where Phil's lifelong love of model trains was lovingly displayed in the Clovis Depot Model Train Museum. One of Phil's passions was the development of a historic railroad district in downtown Clovis, and he worked for several years to get the Santa Fe #9005 switch engine moved to its present site on 1st Street, which is now the Phil and Vernah Williams Historic Railroad Park. Phil and Vernah ran the museum and model train store until 2016, when Phil's back problems caused them to sell the business. Phil was well known in Clovis for volunteering to serve on various organizations and committees. He was a founding member of the Clovis MainStreet program, and the Clovis Area Train Society. He also served on the Hotel Clovis committee, with the Clovis Historical Society, and volunteered at the Lighthouse Mission. He is a devout member of First United Methodist Church, and has been privileged to occasionally teach Sunday School. At his former church, he served twice as President of the congregation Council and once as Secretary. In recent years he has studied religions of the world as compared to Christianity, and was beginning a study of our Lord Jesus as he is depicted in ancient Apocryphal texts. His curiosity, intelligence, kindness, and love of God are characteristics we will all miss. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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Memorial Service
August 5, 2020

2:00 PM
Steed-Todd Funeral Home
800 E Manana Blvd
Clovis, NM 88101

Please note
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
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