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Published: Monday, 10/10/2005

OC office manager was UT fund-raiser

Bruce C. Williams, 88, a former corporate office manager for Owens Corning and a longtime University of Toledo fund-raiser who headed the University's Alumni Telethon for seven years, died Friday in the Arbors at Sylvania Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, from complications of a fall.

Mr. Williams, who retired from Owens Corning in 1982, served a term as president of the University's Alumni Club in 1971, then supervised an alumni fund-raiser campaign that provided sponsorship for a number of student scholarships for many years.

Because of his fund-raising efforts, Mr. Williams was asked by UT alumni and trustees to sit on the selection committee that hired Glen Driscoll as the 11th president of UT.

"He was a very thoughtful person, unassuming, and loyal to his friends," said Geneva Williams, his wife.

Born in Toronto, Mr. Williams came to Toledo after living with his aunt and uncle in Detroit. He attended and graduated from Maumee High School and became an American citizen shortly before World War II, when he was drafted into the Army.

He then trained as a pilot in the Army Air Corps and served in the China-Burma-India theater, where his grandfather had once fought as a member of Queen Victoria's Army in India. The nephew of a bishop in the Church of England, Mr. Williams was awarded a number of medals during WW II, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Bronze Stars.

Mr. Williams returned from the war to pursue a bachelor's degree in business from UT, graduating in 1948.

He continued his military service in the Air Force Reserve as a liaison officer to the Air Force Academy, retiring with the rank of major.

He started his 34-year career at Owens Corning in 1948, and was a member of the Toledo Chapter of the Administrative Management Society. During his term as president of the organization, he received a merit award for outstanding achievement.

A former part-owner of a Toledo gourmet store, Mr. Williams was a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and attended the cooking school, Ecole La Varenne, in Paris.

"He enjoyed cooking, especially when we hosted friends for dinner," Mrs. Williams said.

She said that her husband spent most of his retirement involved in a number of volunteer projects and he served on the board of the Toledo Animal Shelter Association for 14 years, and was a member of the advisory board of the Salvation Army for 27 years. He was also a member of the Toledo Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

A past president and member of the Owens Corning Retirees Club, Mr. Williams and his wife also traveled extensively, visiting 27 countries and all but seven American states.

"Greece was our favorite," Mrs. Williams recalled. "We loved visiting friends in Athens and traveling to a number of islands."

Surviving are his wife, the former Geneva Combs, whom he married April 19, 1968; son, Craig, and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the J. Jeffrey Fretti Funeral Home, 5045 West Sylvania Ave., where services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Animal Shelter Association, Salvation Army, or the UT Sigma Beta Phi Last Man's Club.



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