Capt. Robert Russell Williams, III, USN (Retired), of Severna Park, Maryland, passed away July 18, 2021. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, Bob Williams with his wife, Sea, by his side, together listened to the touching words of love forwarded to him by his daughter and son, then quietly he found his peace. Bob succumbed to multiple myeloma having fiercely battled the relentless disease.
Bob’s love and thoughtfulness were subtle yet intense. His way was an unexpected gift here, a thoughtful deed there, always taking care of Sea, his children, his grandchildren, siblings and friends.
He was born June 28, 1942, in New London, Connecticut, to Mrs. Rose Abert Williams and CAPT Robert Russell Williams Jr., USN, a notable World War II submariner. As customary with most navy families Bob’s family called many parts of the United States and Canada home until his father retired in 1960 and they permanently settled in Rose’s hometown of Rockville, Maryland.
In 1965 Bob graduated from the American University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While there he was an All American swimmer and met the love of his life, Sema Elizabeth Antablian, known as ”Sea,” whom he married in 1967. Later in 1965 Bob received his naval commission after completion of Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated from Destroyer School in 1968. Bob completed a Master of Science in Management in 1971 at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. During 1987 Bob earned a graduate diploma from the College of Naval Warfare. During that same time Bob completed a Master of Arts at Salve Regina College in Newport. In 1991 Bob received a Master of Arts in National Security & Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
Bob’s life was defined by love, service, and competition. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a Surface Warfare Officer retiring in 1996 after service in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars. He served on and commanded several warships including the USS Gyatt (DD 712) as Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer, USS Steinaker (DD 863) as Operations Officer, USS Canon (PG 90) as Commanding Officer, USS John S McCain (DDG 56) as Executive Officer and later as Commanding Officer, USS Paul F Foster (DD 964) as Executive Officer and the USS Hewitt (DD 966) as the Commanding Officer. Bob also served on the staffs of Commander, Carrier Group One in 1985 and Commander Mid-East Forces in 1990 and 1991 and as Commander, Destroyer Squadron 5, in 1988. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Officer Distribution Division, and on the Staff of Commander Naval Telecommunications as head of Manpower Division. Lastly, Bob was assigned to the Pentagon as Deputy Director, Operations, Plans & Politico-Military Affairs Division N31/N52B, May, 1992 - July, 1996 thereby completing his 31 year U.S. Naval career. Multiple Legions of Merit, Navy Commendations (with Valor), and Combat Action ribbons are amongst his numerous decorations.
Fierce, though sportsmanlike, best describes Bob as a competitor, excelling in U.S. Masters Swimming competitions for many years until he discovered Triathlons. Bob also excelled here, qualifying for and successfully competing in several Ironman Hawaii championships. Bob was a long-time resident of Coronado through his naval career. He was a key planner in standing up the annual around the island swim and the base-to-base swim in the 80’s. Bob’s other notable athletic achievements included 27 swims across the Chesapeake Bay, a solo bicycle trip across the United States, numerous swims around Coronado and several marathons. Bob continued his service with volunteer work at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, where he contributed enormous amounts of his time on maintenance and construction projects. He also served as an Election Judge in Anne Arundel County.
Bob is survived by his forever loving wife Sea, daughter Tracy Ann (Lee) Brading, and son CDR Robert R. (Cheryl) Williams, IV, USN. He also leaves behind his four grandchildren whom he cherished dearly, Madison, Gracen, and Cole Brading and Spencer Jack Williams. Additionally, he is survived by beloved siblings Rose Windle, Sally Drew, Roger and Tom and their extended families all of whom Bob thought of very fondly.
Capt. Robert R. Williams, III, USN (Retired) was a man to be celebrated! A burial service with full military honors and a funeral escort is projected to take place in 9 to 11 months at Arlington National Cemetery.
*** If you choose to make a memorial contribution in honor of Robert R. Williams, III, any of the following would please him: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Project Safe Pet or The Navy SEAL Foundation.