Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 15, 2013

IUK to honor musician, teacher

Bob Williams spread his love of music throughout Howard Co.

By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Indiana University Kokomo will celebrate the life and music of Bob Williams with a birthday memorial and reception at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Havens Auditorium.

Williams, a teacher, actor and musician, was a long-time friend to the campus and received its Distinguished Service Award in 2008. He and his wife, Pat, used their musical talents to entertain at many campus events and donated proceeds from his first CD to IU Kokomo. They also contributed to the campus library.

“Bob and Pat always have been here to support IU, and especially the Kokomo campus,” said Cathy Valcke, interim vice chancellor for public affairs and advancement. “They’ve been great friends to us, and Bob will be missed. He was always there when we called upon him.”

Williams was born July 17, 1934, in Warsaw, and died June 24, 2013, at IU Health Hospice House in Bloomington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in piano from IU’s Jacobs School of Music and later earned a master’s degree. He was the long-time accompanist for IU’s Singing Hoosiers.

His teaching career began in Howard County, where he taught at Northwestern High School. While there, he wrote nine original musical productions for his students. He moved to Haworth High School and Kokomo High School systems, where he taught English, literature and drama, while continuing to direct plays at both high schools, his obituary stated.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s Bob was under contract as an actor with Act One and Helen Wells Agencies in Indianapolis, where he did work in both TV and print advertisements.

Williams was also involved with Kokomo Civic Theatre, working with many close friends and sharing his love of music and theater. He was awarded the Kokomo Civic Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He formed a group, “Bob Williams and Friends,” which performed the works of Williams’ favorite composers in venues in northern Indiana.

He also performed in the first play ever put on at Havens Auditorium, Valcke said.

Many people in the community knew and loved him, she said.

It was hard not to like him, she said. He always had a smile on his face.

“He was very happy,” she said. “He was very passionate about music.”

Williams was always willing to share music with others, even if it meant driving the 100 miles from Bloomington to Kokomo after he retired to do it, Valcke said.

He performed every year at the chancellor’s holiday gathering. He also performed often at Havens auditorium.

Valcke said there may be some musical performances during Wednesday’s reception, but the piano will likely remain quiet. His wife and friends will talk about his life.

“I won’t be surprised at all if we have a packed house,” Valcke said. “We’re going to celebrate a life well lived.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com.

WANT TO GO? WHAT: Memorial and reception to honor life of Bob Williams WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday WHERE: Indiana University Kokomo's Havens Auditorium