Hugh W. Williams
March 16, 1931 – December 9, 2022
Hugh Williams passed away at age 91 after a wonderful lifetime enjoying family, friends, business, golf, art, music, and much more.
The son of the late Janet and Arthur Williams of Omaha, he was predeceased by his beloved wife Mary Jean (Neely), sister Janet Fletcher of Fern Park, FL, and brother Mike.
He is survived by two sons, David (Susan) and John (Lynn), plus grandchildren Jordan (Franco) Famularo, Redwood City, CA; Neely (John) Miller, Omaha; Eden (Zack) Olson, Kansas City, MO; Maddy Williams, Alexandria, VA; Heather (Brett) Carver, Omaha; Lauren (Joseph) Melleno, San Diego, CA, and John M. Williams of Omaha; sister-in-law Betty Williams of Omaha; brother-in-law Jack (Raita) of St. Paul, MN; several nieces and nephews, and six great-grandchildren.
Hugh, nicknamed “Butch,” was formerly president of Drake- Williams Steel, Inc., one of Nebraska’s oldest privately-held companies, founded in 1882. He and his brother Mike ran the company for many years and provided the vision to steer it into the structural steel market in the early 1960s.
Hugh was a past board member of Happy Hollow Club. He and his late wife, Mary Jean, were among its longest-standing members. As a faithful alumnus, he was named to the Central High School Hall of Fame. Over the years, he donated the beautiful eagle sculpture on school grounds and gave scholarships honoring Central teachers. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated from Omaha University, now the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and donated to UNO’s Baxter Arena to help build its hockey program.
In memory of Mary Jean, he was a key donor of the stunning glass art in the Chihuly Sanctuary for cancer patients and their families in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Fred and Pamela Buffett Center.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he served in the Army in the U.S. and Japan after the Korean War. He worked as a commercial artist before joining the family firm in Omaha. He wrote a book, “Steel Resolve,” about the origins and history of Drake-Williams Steel and its role in Omaha’s history. The book was a finalist for two independent publishing awards in 2009, the Indie Excellence Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. In retirement, he was active in the Borrego Springs, CA, and LaQuinta, CA, areas for many years.
A private family service is planned at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Omaha. Cards with stories and memories about him, sent to the family c/o Dave Williams, 21060 Bonanza Blvd., Elkhorn, NE 68022, would be much appreciated.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Nebraska Humane Society.