CLINTON, Wis. – Donald Richard Williams, 80, passed away on Monday, May 23, at the Alden Park Nursing Home in Clinton, Wis.

He was born to Richard and Elinore Williams on Nov. 25, 1935, in Beloit, Wis.  He lived his entire life on the family farm in Manchester Township, Boone County, Ill., except for his final year at Alden Park Homes in Clinton.

He graduated from Center Grade School in Manchester Township, and North Boone High School in Capron, Ill.

During his junior year in high school, he bought a John Deere tractor in need of extensive repairs, and worked on this tractor during the evenings, and by the end of high school he sold the tractor for a good profit, setting himself up as a dealer and repairman of John Deere tractors, which became the direction for his life.

He owned a John Deere dealership in Beloit during the 1970s and 1980s, becoming the second largest John Deere dealer in Wisconsin, doing more than a million dollars in sales in many months.

He put all of his profits into purchasing farmland, and when the farm depression hit in the mid 1980s he lost the dealership and also five farms.

He was a genius with repairing tractors, and made his living for most of the rest of his life repairing farm machinery in the state line area.

He also was a collector of antique tractors.  Upon hearing of a particular model of tractor or sometimes other kinds of farm machinery as well, he would just climb into his truck and take off for Montana or any other state and purchase the tractor, sometimes bringing it home on his truck, and sometimes hoping to arrange transportation at some later date.

His special prize was a 1913 Rumeley Oil Pull which he kept at Threshermen’s Park near Edgerton, Wis., where he enjoyed getting the Oil Pull out to show or drive in the parade on Labor Day weekend.

Don loved to travel and to visit with people he encountered.

In 1960, he went on a Lutheran Church youth project to Norway, helping in construction of a mountain retreat center north of Hamar, Norway.  At the end of his two months working on this project, he purchased a Triumph Tiger Cub motorcycle and toured around Norway, England, and the European continent.

He also visited relatives in western Canada, and his sister Diana in California, sometimes with his parents and sometimes on his own.  With his sister Carol he visited nephews Peter and Tom and their families in Colorado and Oregon, always having good adventures with travel and family.

In May, 2015, Don and Carol traveled to Norway, spending Syttende Mai with cousins Nancy and Oyvind Wilhelmsen in Drobak, and visiting friends in Arendal in southern Norway.

He also greatly enjoyed his family at home, watching the growing-up of numerous nieces and nephews.

Don was the “Grandma Moses” of poetry; he said he could write a poem about almost anything, such as the lemon pies served at the Blaine church dinners, or about a girl who swallowed a safety pin.

He also was known for being unable to resist a good dance tune.  He ran/walked the Syttende Mai 17-mile run from Madison to Stoughton nineteen times.

Don was a lifelong member of Jefferson Prairie Lutheran Church, and at the end of every service he made a special effort to shake the hand of every person and say, “Peace be with you,” and so now we say the same to him.

He is survived by siblings Carol Hasvold, Decorah, Iowa; Terence (Loretta), Belvidere; Diana (Geoffrey) Glass, Three Rivers, Calif.; and Randall (Meredith), Manchester Township; seven nieces and nephews, and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

Don was preceded in death by his parents Richard and Elinore Williams, and a brother-in-law

Rev. Paul Hasvold.

A Memorial service to honor Donald’s life will be held at a later date. Rosman Uehling Kinzer Funeral Home and Crematory is privileged to be to be serving the family.

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