Ernest (Ernie) Leroy Williams was born in Independence, Missouri, on October 7, 1956, as the last of Franklin and Esther Williams seven children. He died on August 28, 2022, at the Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park, Kansas.
Ernie launched his life in the theater at an early age, entertaining neighborhood kids with various pageants of his own creation. At Lamoni High School in Iowa, he wrote and produced plays. He attended Graceland College for several years and transferred to Park College where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. Later, he received a masters in theater from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
His love of theater lasted a lifetime. He directed plays at theaters in Independence, Atchison, Liberty and Kansas City. He cultivated area playwrights and performers. One of his greatest joys was helming a production and bringing it to life.
Ernie met Dr Fred Fowler while he was working at a 7-Eleven store. Thus began a relationship that flourished for the next 37 years. They shared a love of the arts – theater, opera, ballet – which they enthusiastically attended and supported. They also shared a love of the culinary arts, in which they both excelled.
Ernie was preceded in death by Dr. Fred Fowler, his parents, Frank and Esther Williams, and brother Jim Williams; brother-in-law Eugene Kozuki, and two nephews: Eric Kozuki and David Mitchell. He is survived by a sister Elizabeth Newberry, Lamoni, IA; sister Mary Jo Bowen (Bob) Macomb, IL; sister Judi Kozuki, Windsor Heights, IA; brother Byron Williams, Beaver Dam, KY and sister Laura Williams, Lamoni, IA. Also, several nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; and great grandnieces and great grandnephews; many cousins; as well as lots of friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ernie’s name to:
The Ernest Williams Scholarship Fund
City Theater of Independence
201 N. Dodgion
Independence, MO 64050