Obituary: Joseph "Sam" Williamson

June 11, 1930 - February 11, 2024
Joseph "Sam" Williamson
June 11, 1930 - February 11, 2024
Posted at 2:20 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 16:20:35-05

Joseph "Sam" Williamson was born on July 11, 1930, to James and Marie Williamson, in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. He attended St. Mary’s residential school where he put on his first pair of hockey skates. It was here he acquired a love for hockey. When he was a bit older, he ventured to Hibbing, MN, where he played for the Hibbing Flyers and worked in an open pit iron ore mine. It was in Hibbing that the legendary Bob Dylan would watch him play hockey. Dylan would go on to say in an interview ‘Sammy’ was his favorite hockey player, alongside Robert “Rocket” Richard.

Sam’s hockey career would be put on hold as he served his country during the Korean War. Upon his discharge from the Army, he was told there was hockey in Montana. He loaded up his car and ended up in Great Falls where he met the love of his life, Betty Jean, in 1959. They married in 1960. Their marriage was built on faith and love, and they instilled that in their four children.

Once in Great Falls, he started working at Foreman & Ford Paint Co. and joined the Great Falls Americans hockey team. He played for the Americans for many years. He received the leading score title and the most gentlemanly award on more than one occasion. He was honored to be on the 1956 U.S. Men’s National Championship team. His jersey, #11, was retired in 2014 at the Ice plex in Great Falls. Hockey was a big part of his life, and through it, Sam gained many amazing friends that he treasured with all his heart.

He was a glazier by trade and worked for many years at the House of Glass where he installed the windows and electric doors of many buildings and businesses in Montana and the Northwest. He would go on to work for The Ursuline Center for 15 years, a position he loved and enjoyed being a part of. Sam was a friend of Bill W. for 40 plus years. He was an integral part of the Cum Christo (Cursillo) movement, St. Dismas (prison ministry), and the Kateri Tekawitha conference and meetings in Great Falls.

Sam is survived by his daughters, Sherry Vogel and Noreen (Frank) Bell; grandchildren, Jeremy Williamson, Kyle Vogel, Sam (Heidi) Williamson, Eric (Tamera) Vogel, Alexa Bell, and Taisha Bell; 14 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.