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Ronald "Tad" LaRue Williamson Jr.

October 7, 1958 May 15, 2014
Ronald   "Tad" LaRue Williamson  Jr.
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Obituary for Ronald "Tad" LaRue Williamson Jr.

Ronald LaRue Williamson, Jr. (“Tad”)


Tad Williamson was born in Ocala, Florida in 1958. He received his nickname – “Tad” – when his Uncle Otto uttered to a then-pregnant Kay Williamson, “I can’t wait for that little tadpole to get here so I can take him fishin’.” Tad spent his early years in the Sunshine State, attending Wildwood schools (elementary, middle, and high school); and also earning an Associate Degree from Lake-Sumter Community College in Leesburg, Florida. He moved to Georgia in 1982.
As a young man, Tad developed a rare form of cancer, underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatment, and remained in remission from the disease for the remainder of his life. However, as a result of his experience, Tad’s physical strength and endurance were restricted, so he turned his attention and energy to more cerebral interests: computers and amateur (“HAM”) radio.
Tad’s early career in computer technology took him all over the country driving a demo-van for a computer sales force. When relating his tales of the road, Tad would tell his listeners that he had visited 48 states, only missing out on Alaska and Hawaii. Later, Tad enjoyed an established career in the Information Technology department at the law firm of Smith, Gambrell & Russell in Atlanta, GA.
Upon becoming involved in amateur radio, Tad earned his HAM license and began operating a home station. He made contacts with other HAMs from around the world, participated in special contests, and took part in annual “Field Day” (disaster preparedness) events. Over the years, Tad earned numerous certificates, awards, and plaques documenting his extensive radio career and accomplishments. He was a recognized leader in “Code” (Morse code) operations.
For a time, Tad was also a motorcycle enthusiast, along with his father, mother, sister, and brother-in-law. Together, the family participated in many group rides with the Lake County HOG Club of Leesburg, FL. Tad and his father made two cross-country excursions together – one to Sturgis, South Dakota; and one which stretched across the southeast through Texas and the Badlands and back again. Tad then began riding for the “Ride to Live” effort, in which motorcyclists raise money to fight diabetes – a condition with which Tad himself was diagnosed in early 2002.
Tad loved to cheer his favorite teams from the stands or in front of the TV, including the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and ESPECIALLY the Florida Gators of the University of Florida. This loyalty was hatched during Tad’s days at Shands Hospital in Gainesville where he received his treatments for cancer. A member of the Gator team walked a football through a practice session and all of the players signed it. The ball was delivered to Tad in the hospital, and a forever-fan was born! Indeed, Tad often reported that the blood in his veins was not red; it was Orange & Blue!
In 1997, Tad realized a dream when he married Karen Rutschow of Yalaha, Florida. The couple’s story actually began years earlier when Tad visited the Rutschow home to pick up Karen’s sister for a date and found a then-14-year-old Karen who beat him at a game of chess in just four moves. Tad never forgot the young upstart and many years later became prompted to look her up. The couple talked and visited for several months, eventually culminating in Tad’s proposal to Karen at a Solar Bears hockey game on Valentine’s Day with all immediate family members in attendance. The message “Karen R. will you marry me, Love Tad” appeared on the JumboTron above the arena, and Tad got down on one knee with the ring to do the thing right. The couple was wed on October 17. The couple lived in Marietta, Georgia until – in 2012 – a second dream was fulfilled.
In 2012, Tad and Karen purchased acreage in a beautiful, rural location and settled in Eatonton, Georgia. Tad became employed as a Network Administrator at Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville and was finally able to erect a special radio tower with an extensive antennae array in order to facilitate radio contacts all around the world. In October 2013, Tad had the privilege of being invited to participate in the Southern DXpedition trip to Mozambique, South Africa, where a team of radio operators established a network for world-wide communication.
More than anything, however, Tad Williamson was known – and will be remembered – for his out-going personality, grand sense of humor, optimism, and zest for life. Tad never met a stranger and was a friend to all. He lived life to the fullest and took advantage of every opportunity for adventure and new beginnings. Interestingly, Tad enjoyed Rock-n-Roll, and his favorite quote – from a song by The Grateful Dead – was “What a long, strange trip it’s been” … a fitting summary to describe a man who faced the challenges of life and kept on living.
At the time of his death, Tad and Karen were married 16 ½ years … living the dream and serving as parents to their five felines. Tad is survived by his wife, Karen; his mother, Kay Jones Williamson; his sister, Lynn Williamson Moore and her husband Ronnie Moore; his maternal grandmother, Lynn Jones; and countless family members and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to those organizations which were important to Tad: the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or to another charity of your choosing.
A celebration of life memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 24th at 11 AM at First United Methodist Church in the Historical Sanctuary.

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