Cover photo for Richard Arlen Williams's Obituary
Richard Arlen Williams Profile Photo
1939 Richard 2023

Richard Arlen Williams

February 14, 1939 — March 28, 2023


Richard Arlen “Dick” Williams, AKA “Didactic Dick” and “Dr. Dick”, 84, of Gulfport, MS passed away on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Gulfport.

Dick was born on February 14, 1939 in Johnstown, PA to George and Rosetta Nee Flenner Williams.  He graduated from Johnstown Central Senior High School in 1957; attended Otterbein College, Westerville, OH freshman year 1957-58; University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown 1958-60, University of Pittsburgh 1961 B.A. Degree, University of Southern Mississippi, M.S. Degree 1973; and Newburgh Theological Seminary, PH.D. 2013.

His military career includes Naval Reserve 1961-62, honorably discharged to enter Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland Air Force Base.  He was commissioned as a reserve officer, retiring as a captain in 1982, completing twenty years of service.  He was awarded the Bronze Star for Combat Support while in Southeast Asia, serving in Thailand and Vietnam; the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.  He was also awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Air Force Longevity Service with three oak leaf clusters; National Defense Service Medal; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster and Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Dick was a member of the Order of DeMolay and was awarded the Degree of Chevalier in Johnstown for distinguished service.  He served as a Master Counselor as a DeMolay member and was a Third Degree Mason of Greater Johnstown, Lodge 538.  He was a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Gulfport and the church’s men’s club.

He lettered in football, basketball and track freshman year of high school and was a member of varsity baseball team, Herbein College, freshman year he lettered in basketball, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, sophomore year.  He was a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s varsity soccer team his senior year.  He was offered a scholarship to play another year but decided to enter the workforce to pursue a military career.  Dick had no prior soccer experience but played as a back-up goalie under Pitt’s All American goalie.  He was elected Chaplain of Student Council all four years of high school.

Dick’s hobbies were genealogy; antique clocks, especially European; traveling, especially to the UK; story telling and telling jokes to hear the sound of laughter; creating special treats from the kitchen was a pleasure and being with family and making them happy.  Loving and serving Our Heavenly Father was a top priority.  Making Debbie happy, loving her, the children and grandchildren, Angel and Gabby were all of his greatest joys.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his son, Scott Arlen Williams; his brothers Teddy Metzger, Jr. and Norman Floyd Metzger; and his sisters, Rhoda Evans, Evie Howard and Betty Allison.

Dick is survived by his spouse, Debbie Williams; his children, Tracy Ann Williams of Mobile, AL; Erin Richelle and Charles “Dix” Hollis of Biloxi, MS; Patricia Ann and James Broome of Colorado Springs, CO; a step daughter, Michelle Ladner(Dean) of Gulfport, MS; his grandchildren, Chelsea Grothues, Ross Hollis (Sarah), Ian Hollis, Fiona Williams, Gavin Broome; step grandson Trea Ladner (Safia); his brother, Ronald Dean Williams (Mary Gail) of Ft. Worth, TX and a sister-in-law, Margaret Chain of Gulfport, MS and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Monday, April 3, 2023 from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15452 O’Neal Road, Gulfport, MS.  The funeral service will be Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 11322 W. Taylor Road, Gulfport, MS at 1:00 p.m. where friends may visit one hour prior to the service.  Interment will be in Biloxi National Cemetery, Biloxi, MS.

Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home, O’Neal Road, Gulfport is honored to serve the family of Dick Williams.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Arlen Williams, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, April 3, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home - Orange Grove

15452 O'Neal Road, Gulfport, MS 39503

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

11322 W. Taylor Road, Gulfport, MS 39507

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Biloxi National Cemetery

400 Veterans Ave., Biloxi, MS 39531

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