Kenneth Roy Williams
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Kenneth "Ken" passed away at home on Friday, September 3rd, ending a long and arduous battle with cancer. He had been in hospice care with family at his bedside and his dogs on his bed for his last three weeks of life. Ken was at once magnanimous and obstinate; a true instigator at heart. He felt his emotions fully and expressed them at will. He was a creative and innovative force of nature who freely shared his generosity and love. Most of all he loved his family, his dogs, and his CSW family. He will be remembered for his radiant smile and love of life. He is dearly loved and will be greatly missed.
Ken was a proud first generation American, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to English immigrants. While in high school at Country Day in Whitefish Bay, Ken began working for his father's company. After a brief stint in the marines and college, Ken again worked for the family business. Upon his father's death in 1973, Ken assumed a leadership role and ultimately became the primary shareholder and CEO; roles he held for many years. Under his leadership, Central Storage and Warehouse (CSW) expanded to become one of the largest family owned/operated climate controlled warehousing companies within the Midwest.
While Ken oversaw the incredible success of his family business he also engaged in philanthropic pursuits to support the arts and community. He was the chairman of the board and a past president of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, now called Young Arts; an organization that honors and supports the development of young artists. Ken served on the board of directors for American Players Theater in Spring Green which is a regular recipient of support through the philanthropic foundation he established to honor his parents, the Cecil Jack and Peg Williams Foundation. He also personally supported the Peninsula Players in Fish Creek. Ken was an original founding member of the Horseshoe Bay Golf Club in Egg Harbor and was a long-time member of the Milwaukee and Maple Bluff Country Clubs. In addition, Ken donated his time and resources to community/civic organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Sturgeon Bay and Canines for Warriors as well as numerous individuals and families in their times of need.
Ken was preceded in death by his mother, Henrietta Isabel (Peggotty) Williams, father, Cecil "Jack" Williams, and nephew John Sharratt as well as his faithful companions Kelly-dog, Kerry, Saffron, and Kaitlyn. He is survived by his sister, Gwendolyn Sharratt and three ex-wives Patricia Williams, Jenifer Murray, and Trish Williams; his children Jack (Samia Shalabi), Kelly (John Scocos), Jeannie (Michael Plautz), Alexis, and Nicole; his grandchildren Veronica, Chloe, Andreas, Costa, and great grandson, Jetson; his nieces and nephews Elizabeth, Kathy, Jennifer, Jill, and Steve; Jacklyn and Joshua. Ken is further survived by his best friends; his loving dogs Loosey and Roxie.
Funeral services will be held at Christ Church, 5655 N Lake Dr, in Whitefish Bay, WI, on Saturday, September 18th at 11:00am with a reception in the Great Hall to follow. In remembrance of Ken a "Celebration of Life" will also be held the first weekend of October at Horseshoe Bay Golf Club in Egg Harbor, WI; more details to follow.
In lieu of flowers, Ken requested that any memorial donations be made to Canines for Warriors, the Boys and Girls Club of Sturgeon Bay, or Christ Church.