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2190Crosley employee earns degree at 95.

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  • LouRugani
    Jul 11, 2010
      Former Richmond, Indiana Crosley employee Marie Williams celebrated her 95th birthday on June 30, just after receiving an honorary degree from Southwest Baptist University.

      She was born Ruth Marie Fuson on June 30, 1915, in Richmond to James Edward and Mary May Fuson. Her father was a barber who owned a shop on North Eighth Street.
      She attended Warner, Nicholson, Test and Morton schools.

      After school, she worked at the Richmond Baking Company and then at the Crosley Corporation.

      She married Gilbert Lee, who died in 1936. She left Richmond in 1940, later marrying Forrest Luper, who died in 1957.
      In 1942, she built a motel in Tulsa, relocating to Kansas City, Mo., where she built the Rainbow Motel and El Rancho Motel and was owner of the Riverside Motel and Restaurant in Brunswick, Mo.

      In 1957, she moved to Lebanon, Mo., where she met and married Bill G. Williams in 1958. He died in 1995.

      The Williamses didn't live in Lebanon long as newlyweds, but returned to the Lebanon area permanently in 1964.

      They built and operated the Vista Motel and Holiday Motel on historic highway 66 near Lebanon. Williams and her husband served on the Missouri Tourism Commission from 1976 to 1981.

      In 1978, Williams was honored with the National Woman of the Year Award given for exceptional achievement in the motel industry.

      Williams was very resourceful during tough economic times working at a variety of jobs such as selling advertising, magazines, real estate and insurance.

      A member of the First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Williams has been involved with Bible study and other church related activities throughout her life.

      She writes a weekly article for The Lebanon Daily Record, sharing her vast knowledge of community history.

      During the Southwest Baptist University Founder's Day celebration June 23 in Bolivar, Mo., Williams was awarded an honorary doctorate of business degree by the university. The honor recognized her career contributions to the hospitality industry and the community.

      Her family includes stepson Bill Williams and his wife, Janet, of Lebanon, Mo.; step sister Anne Personette of Richmond; a nephew, a niece and a cousin.

      Greetings may be sent to Ruth in care of 27141 Highway 32, Lebanon, MO