He leaves behind his wife, Barbara Blossom Williams; their four children, Ann Williams Stocke, Jane Williams Korhonen, Kirk Williams McKie, and Lawrence (Will) Williams IV; and six grandchildren.
Larry’s was a life well-lived, both personally and professionally. His youth was spent in the Chicago area, principally in Lake Forest. He left in 1942 to attend Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. At age 18, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps to serve his country in WW II, primarily fighting as an infantryman in the Pacific theater.
After his discharge from the military he completed his formal education at the Colorado School of Mines, graduating with a BA in geological engineering in 1952, and later attending the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1971.
A lifetime Caterpillar employee, Larry was most closely associated with the company’s global marketing efforts. His 80 by 80 strategic vision for the company’s engine division was fundamental to Cat’s future global positioning in that business. A sales growth target once viewed as a pipe dream became a reality under his leadership and was used as a prototype for the bold decisive risk taking that Cat needed to embrace in the future.
Shortly after being promoted to vice president of Marketing in 1985, Cat adopted a contemporary approach by re-branding itself as a global leader in earth moving equipment, engines and services transforming itself in 1986 from the Caterpillar Tractor Company to Caterpillar Inc., and adopting what is now one of the most recognizable logos in the world. After 38 years of service to the company, he retired in 1990 as the company’s vice president for administrative responsibility for Europe/Africa/Middle East and chairman of Caterpillar Overseas S.A. (COSA ) in Geneva, Switzerland.
In retirement Lawrence continued his lifelong passion for the game of golf, either locally at the Country Club of Peoria, or on Gasparilla Island. He also played at the Lemon Bay Golf Club. In both instances, he served as a governing board member and was the president of the Country Club of Peoria from 1986 through 1987.
In addition to golf, his free time was spent serving on additional boards in their adopted home of Boca Grande, most prominently the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority. During his tenure as an appointed supervisor, GIBA purchased and assumed the operating responsibility for the bridge’s causeway and toll system in 1998.
From his early self-reliant days at the Strang Ranch in Colorado, to his time spent in Arequipa, Peru with his mother and stepfather, and later in his career assignments with Caterpillar in Billings, Mont. and Geneva, Switzerland, Larry understood the importance of the great outdoors and taught his family to respect and embrace its beauty.
Memorials may be made to Wildlife Prairie State Park, 3826 N. Taylor Road, Hanna City IL 61536. (wildlifeprairiestatepark.org)
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