Robert Williams

Aug 7, 1928 - Dec 17, 2020

East Lawn Memorial Park
4300 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA, 95819


Robert Williams passed away peacefully on Thursday December 17th, 2020 in Sacramento, California. Bob, as he was known to everyone, was a loving and generous husband, father, grandfather, brother-in-law and a proud veteran of the United States Navy. Bob was a Sacramento native and lifelong resident.

Born August 7, 1928 to Frank and Wilma Williams. Bob is predeceased by his beloved wife of 65 years, Carol Williams. He is survived by his sons David and John; grandchildren Marilyn, Matthew, Paul, Nicholas and Kenneth; great-grandson Andrés; daughters-in-law Audrey and Martina; brother-in-law Ashley Harkness, his wife Kathy, nieces Janet Harkness, Cynthia Harkness and Daniel Harkness; and his sister-in-law Sara Topcu and her husband Ali. He is fondly remembered for embracing the new family brought to him through marriage.

Bob attended local schools, graduating from Sacramento High School and Sacramento State University. He joined the Navy, serving as a corpsman at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland. Later, while working days, he attended night classes at McGeorge School of Law, where he received his juris doctorate. He was a member of the California State Bar Association and the Sacramento County Bar Association.

He joined the California Department of Transportation where he worked for 36 years, most of those as Deputy Legislative Secretary for four consecutive California Governors: Brown Sr., Reagan, Brown Jr. and Deukmejian. Upon his retirement from state government, Bob’s dedication to public service was recognized by the Los Angeles Times, calling him “A Model Public Servant,” and by then State Controller (and future Governor) Gray Davis, who wrote “your desire to serve the people is a standard for all of us to uphold.” Bob later served as a member of the Commission of Uniform State Laws and as an attorney at the law firm of Nielsen, Merksamer, Hodgson, Parrinello, and Mueller.

He was active in many community and professional activities: River Park Little League, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts Troop One, served as President of the McGeorge School of Law Alumni Association, a member of the Select Committee of Advisors for the Pacific Law Journal, and Secretary of the Sierra Oaks Neighborhood Association.

He was an avid cyclist and active participant in local cycling clubs and events. When not on his bike, he was often supporting other riders at refreshment stations.  In retirement, he enjoyed travel across the country and in Europe, notably to Sweden to connect with his mother’s family. A particularly fond memory was his warm reception in the northern Swedish city of Haparanda, where his mother was born.

Due to COVID-19, the burial will be private, and the memorial service will be held virtually on Saturday, January 9, 2021, at 10:00 AM. To attend the virtual memorial service, please refer to Robert’s obituary page on the East Lawn website and join the livestream at the scheduled time. You may also join using this link:


  • Sean Tracy says:

    Praise the Lord for the gifts shared with so many by Bob. I worked with Bob in the Deukmejian administration as a Jr. Staffer in the Correspondence Unit. I always appreciated Bob coming over to inform us about hot legislation or issues. He spent more time with us asking about our families, careers, activities, and took a genuine interest. He took us on the tour of the Capitol tunnel to the Treasurer’s Office, and always invited us to events in the Horseshoe. Such a great public servant, human being, and mentor/teacher.

  • Audrey Lyndon says:

    I could not have asked for better in-laws, and hope to live up to Bob and Carol’s example someday. Just the nicest, most welcoming people. It is hard to have to say goodbye. Rest well Bob. Thank you for your kindness and your service.

  • Tomy says:

    Bob along Carol were one of the most kind and welcoming people I have ever met. My dear Bob was truly a great person to me and the rest of my family since day one, he open his home to me and fed me, he also allowed me to enjoy his nice pool back when I was a young teenager living in Sacramento. He showed me the nice American sport culture, he took me to my first and ever collage football game and also to an NBA match between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, so from my Spanish perspective it was like a dream come true to be able to attend those thanks to him. Of course those only scratch the surface of how gentle (as in gentleman) Bob was not only to me for the little but important time I was able to see him in person, but for all the years he took care of my sister Martina and the rest of the family and not to mention how he raised David and John into the great man they are today. Bob I will never forget you and you will always be in my heart. Thank you for everything and the legacy you left in this world. Rest in peace.

  • Ashley Harkness says:

    Bob was the role model for me as I grew up. My father passed away when I was just over a year old. When Bob came to the family, I could look up to him. Many of life’s lesson I practice came from being guided by Bob. We will miss him, the man that filled our lives.

  • Andrés says:

    Bob was a man we all looked up to and was an inspiring role model always taking care of his loved ones whether they were blood on or not. I can not name a time where I felt nothing but a pure love from Bob and even after his passing I know that the love will always be there on his side and our side. May his beautiful soul rest in peace🤍

  • Sheryl and Doyle Whisenhunt says:

    My condolences and prayers to the family. You will be missed. Thank you for letting me get to know you.

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