John Ray Williams
John Ray Williams was born on January 27, 1947, in Marlinton, West Virginia, the son of Drylia and Nellie Kellison Williams. Drylia’s death in 1961 left Nellie to raise her young son alone. It was from Nellie that he received his nickname “Chipper”; she would say that as a little boy he was just like his father, “a chip off the old block.”
Chipper was a member of the Marlinton Methodist Church where his mother was his Sunday School teacher. A friend and classmate, Tom Michael, states that his first recollection of Chipper was in the church at Marlinton where they also participated in MYF and Jr. Choir. Another favorite activity was riding his pony Sugarfoot. His friend Tom notes, “Chip loved that pony and I loved riding him . . . .”
|Chipper attended Marlinton High School where he excelled in math and had an interest in biology. He served as president of the senior class and was a member of the national honor society. After graduation from high school, Chipper attended West Virginia University. He had been a member of the band in junior and senior high school and was in the Mountaineer Marching Band in college. He also was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, was active in the 4-H Club and the Boy Scouts, and worked at the Youth Science Camp while a student at West Virginia University. Chipper became engaged to Jo Anne Bray.|
He was a junior when he was inducted into the Army on September 15, 1967, a member of Company A, Second Battalion, Second Infantry of the First Division. He received his training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Polk, Louisiana. Chipper left for Vietnam on March 7, 1968. In December, his mother was notified that Chipper, then a sergeant, has been missing near Da Nang, Vietnam, since Thanksgiving Day. It was subsequently learned that he had been wounded in combat on November 29, 1968, and later died of those wounds.
The body of Sgt. John Ray “Chipper” Williams was returned to the United States and in December 1968 was interred in Mountain View Cemetery in Marlinton.
Information from the Pocahontas Times/Jaynell Graham
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