Obituary: Ruben Williams


Ruben was born on March 2, 1935, in the Harmony Community in Cullman County to Verlon Aurice and Nonnie Clayter Hudson Williams. Ruben passed away on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

Ruben was a graduate of Cullman High School and attended Auburn University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management. He served in the Air National Guard as a firefighter from 1959 to 1965. Ruben’s career began as a Forester with the U.S. Forest Service in Estacada, Oregon and he worked his way up to District Ranger of Winema National Forest in Chiloquin, Oregon and later in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. His ethics and hard work led him to Washington DC, where he became a Special Land Use Officer in the U.S. Forest Service National Office.

Ruben met Shelba, his future wife, at Sandy Baptist Church outside of Portland, OR where he was ordained in 1964 as a deacon. Once Ruben retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 1990, he and Shelba moved back to his family farm in Cullman County. They became active members of First Baptist Cullman, where he served as a deacon.

Ruben served in Gideons International, regularly speaking at churches around North Alabama, and worked with a prison ministry. He also supported the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators, was involved with the Cullman County Forest Planning Committee helping plan and host educational field trips and other activities, and was a long-time dedicated Trustee for the New Hope No. 1 Memorial Church and Cemetery in the Harmony Community, Cullman County.

Ruben was preceded in death by two sisters, Dolores Williams Lott and Faye Williams Doss, a brother, Donald Williams (June), and three nephews.

Ruben is survived by his wife of 59 years, Shelba Macon Williams, one son, Keith Williams (Jeannine), one daughter, Brenda Williams Youngblood (Todd); one brother, Joseph Thomas “J.T.” Williams (Cheryl); four sisters, Carolyn Jo Williams Machtolff (Steve), Nonnie Diann Williams Ladd (Bart), Londa Ele Williams Pate (James “Jim”), and Flavin Williams Glover (Glenn); eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial donations be made to The Gideons International, PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800 or through online donations at