Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams

1918 - 2010

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Obituary of Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams, 92, of Indian Rocks Road, Largo, Florida passed away Sunday, April 25, 2010, at Largo Medical Center, Largo Florida. Joseph was born in Italy on March 19, 1918, and came to the United States in 1924 with his parents. Joseph is the son of the late Anthony and Elena Cesta Williams who raised their five children in Morgantown, West Virginia. Joseph graduated from Morgantown High School in 1938 and later attended West Virginia University where he studied Mechanical Engineering. Following his studies at West Virginia University, Joseph entered Government service at Aberdeen Proving Grounds located in Aberdeen, Maryland in July 1941, as a designer and project engineer on military vehicles destined to play a major role in World War II. Joseph was transferred to Detroit Michigan in September 1942, along with a cadre of members from other Government agencies, to form the nucleus of what was very shortly to become the original engineering staff of the Detroit Arsenal later called United States Tank Automotive Command located in Warren Michigan. Joseph has the distinction of being a âcharterâ member of the Detroit Arsenal which was to play, over the next three years, a vital role in the design, development, testing, and production of tanks and other combat vehicles for the armies of the free world against the Axis powers in World War II. Joseph can truly be labeled one of the Armyâs pioneers in the design and analytical disciplines which are now the basic framework for the scientific approach and methodology of combat vehicle design and development. Joseph enjoyed a long and distinguished career with the United States Tank Automotive Command Center from 1941 to 1976. From 1941 through 1944 Joseph participated in the design and development of the M4 series of tanks. During 1944 through 1949 Joseph helped design and develop many of the T series tanks including the T48 (M48 Patton). Josephâs original drawings of the T48 are now displayed at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, in Fort Knox Kentucky. From 1952 through 1962 as Chief of the Combat Vehicle Advanced Design Branch, Joseph contributed to the concept, design and development of various types of military combat vehicles such as self propelled artillery, armored reconnaissance vehicle, armored personnel carriers, artic carriers, special purpose vehicles, and armored carriers. From 1962 through 1972 Joseph was the driving force in the development of the M60A2 Tank and the M551. Joseph was not only a guiding force in military circles domestically, but he traveled the world representing and sharing technological advances with our allies in all corners of the globe. Josephâs unparalleled knowledge and creativity of combat vehicles placed in him in high demand as a consultant and he continued to consult internationally for the next ten years. Shortly after his retirement from the Army, Joseph was nominated by his superiors for one of the Armyâs highest levels of recognition due to his amazing accomplishments during his Army career. On May 18, 1979 Joe was inducted into the U S Army Ordinance Hall of Fame. Joseph considered this the highest achievement of his Army career and was very proud to be a member of such a prestigious group of individuals. Joe and his wife Frances lived in St Clair Shores Michigan for over 35 years until they retired to Largo, Florida in 1978 where Joe enjoyed consulting, playing golf and his love for gardening. Joseph is survived by two siblings Tristan V. Williams and Gloria S. DePond and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents he was preceded in by his wife, Frances Lee Williams. Friends will be received at Hastings Funeral Home, 153Spruce St., Morgantown on Friday, May 7, 2010, from 5-8p.m. The Holy Rosary will be lead by Rev. Mr. Joseph Prentiss in the funeral home Friday evening at 7:30p.m. to conclude the visitation. On Saturday, May 8, 2010, Mr. Williams will be moved to St. Maryâs Catholic Church in Star City where visitation will be held from 9-10a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will then be celebrated at 10a.m. in the church with Reverend William Matheny as celebrant. Interment will follow in the Lawnwood Cemetery, Morgantown. Send condolences online at

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