Joseph H. Williamson


Joseph Henry “Joe” Williamson, 60, of 3253 Pinnacle Ct., Mason City, formerly Madison, Wis., died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 at the Mercy Medical Center North Iowa, Mason City.

Joe Williamson’s life was a miracle.

Born in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 4, 1952 to Lillian and Rollie Williamson, Joe was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 10 years old.  At 13 he suffered a recurrence of the tumor and was given 24 hours to live.  Joe seemed to be invincible, although his mobility was limited, his love and joy never were.  He went on to work at UW Hospital Animal Research for 25 years, earning “The Most Dependable Employee” award upon his retirement.

Joe’s father, Rollie, dedicated his life to giving Joe care, respect and compassion with the energy only understood by a parent who loves his child.  Joe lived at home with his parents until his mother’s death, when he and his father, his best friend, moved to Mason City. There he enjoyed working at Opportunity Village. 

Joe’s favorite moments were spent following the Iowa State gymnastics team, cheering on his nieces and nephews, and fishing on Clear Lake. Many people on the lake will remember Rollie shouting in excitement, “Set the hook, Joe!” and Joe answering, “Get the net!”

        Joe was welcomed into eternal life by his mother, Lillian Williamson; his sister, Sara; niece, Kara Littel Shinners; nephew, Paul Williamson; and family friend, Frank McNutt.  

Joe’s life is celebrated by his father, Rolland Williamson (Anne Grady); seven sisters, Gayle Williamson, Mary Williamson, Amy (Dennis) Pyle, Alta (John) Shinners, Kara (Jim) Clawson, Paula (Al) Gavula, Lora (Neal) Bentley; brother, Matt (Lillian) Williamson; and 12 nieces and nephews. 

In the words of his nephew, Evan, “Joe Henry is gone,” the guy we thought was invincible.  One would say he never got a ‘fair shake’ at life, someone who could not walk, but what nonsense!  A ‘fair shake’ at life never comes.  That is his lesson.  He managed to live without prejudice, bias or hatred while often denied the luxuries of travel, speed or self-sufficiency.  As someone outside the boundaries of ‘normalcy,’ he taught everyone within those boundaries from his wheelchair.  Still more important than the Joe without hatred was the Joe with happiness.  Happiness is your own creation.  Faces do not lie; Joe’s was full of wisdom.  Fullness of enjoyment was in his smile.

There will be a private family service. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Humane Society of Mason City(

Catch the big one Joe Henry!

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