Pat Williams stood Wednesday night on the stage her husband performed on and declared to the more than 100 people gathered, “The show must go on,” even with him gone.
Bob Williams was a celebrated actor, director, musician and teacher in the area. He was also a husband, a father and a friend to many.
He died June 24.
His friends and family gathered Wednesday night on the stage in Havens Auditorium at Indiana University Kokomo to remember him on what would have been his 79th birthday.
It was a fitting setting — one chosen by Pat shortly after her husband’s death.
She called IU Kokomo Interim Chancellor Sue Sciame-Giesecke to see if the stage that meant so much to her husband would be available for a memorial service.
The interim chancellor didn’t even hesitate before saying yes.
“I thought, ‘Duh. That’s perfect. That’s exactly where it should be,’” Sciame-Giesecke said during the memorial. “I was in a lot of shows with Bob. Being on this stage brings back a lot of great memories.”
In fact, Bob was in the very first production performed at Havens Auditorium.
He was in more than 40 productions during his lifetime — many of them performed with the Kokomo Civic Theater.
That’s how he met Doug North.
“Back in 1959, Bob and I were a couple of obnoxious young men, kind of arrogant,” North said. “We weren’t really friends.”
They were rivals who were forced to work together on a show. And they just sort of clicked and formed an unlikely friendship, he said.
Bob would usually agonize over his parts and worry about whether he was doing them justice. But he never needed to stress over it, his friend said.
He always knew exactly what his dialogue was, and he knew his songs way before anyone else did, North said.