Arthur "Art" Loren Williams Jr.

September 8, 1928April 4, 2019

Arthur L. Williams, Jr., born in West Los Angeles, California, September 8, 1928, passed away on April 4, 2019. Art attended grammar school in Redondo Beach and was a high school graduate in the class of 1946 at Owens Valley Unified High School. He was student body president and varsity basketball team captain. As he put it, "No big deal. It was a small school." While attending high school, he resided in the WWII Japanese internment camp at Manzanar, California. His parents worked for the War Relocation Authority. After high school, he served three years in the U.S. Navy in Panama and aboard the U.S.S. Wright CVL-49, an aircraft carrier. He graduated from Fresno State University, class of ’53, and that same year married Melva J. Daniels. They had three children, Gregory, Michael, and Terri. Art’s first job out of college was with the United Water Conservation District. His first assignment: initial ground water studies in Saticoy, and laying out the route for a new road to be built above the high water mark at the Santa Felicia Dam. To this day, the road you drive on is the one he laid out. After working on the construction of the dam, he started his 32 year career with Tidewater Associated Oil Co., which became Getty Oil. Drilling oil wells was in his blood. Art was a fourth generation California oil worker. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and three uncles came from the Pennsylvania oil fields before 1900 to work in the California oil boom. Art had a most interesting and challenging career. His career path took him from development engineer in Ventura and then the San Joaquin Valley to area engineer in Bakersfield during the start-up of the Kern River Field thermal recovery. He was one of ten honored for their achievements in pioneering the development of thermal recovery. Next, he became the superintendent for the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and the northern gas fields, then superintendent of Ventura operations during the installation of C Block water flood, followed by operations manager in Peru, drilling four wells 4,000 miles up the Amazon, each over 18,000 ft. deep. With little to no dry land, the Peru operation was all carried out by boats, barges and helicopters. His next position was operations manager, Europe during the early development of oil recovery in the North Sea. He had a dual roll reporting to J. P. Getty and to Getty Oil’s international division. Art then became the general manager and government representative of the Middle East operations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and his final position, while residing in London, was Getty exploration production manager, Europe/Africa and managing director of North Sea operations. Art’s hobbies included hunting, fly fishing, surfing, and golf. On the golf course, he shot his age or better over a hundred times, the first, a score of 69 at age 70. As a member of Saticoy Country Club he said, "If you can consistently shoot your age at Saticoy CC, you can shoot it anywhere." He was right. In the early 1970s, he served as president of Saticoy Little League. His cost cutting measures, along with strong support from the Mexican-American community put the league back in the black. Art was devoted to recording the history of over 400 caucasians who lived inside the fenced Manzanar camp during WWII, about which he authored the book Reflecting on WWII, Manzanar, and the WRA, which is now in the Smithsonian Museum. He gave walking tours and talks for the National Park Service Historic Society in Manzanar for over 20 years. In 2004, he organized the only reunion ever held for the Manzanar staff and their families who had lived in the camp with him during WWII. He grew up with values developed during the Great Depression: hard work, conservativeness, and the belief that "if you want it, earn it," yet he was generous to others. Through his experiences and sharp memory, he always had one more interesting story to tell. Art was preceded in death by his parents, A. Loren Williams and Mary Herrington Williams, a brother Thomas Dana Williams, and Melva J. Daniels Williams. He is survived by his three children, two grandchildren Kayla Hawkins and Kristopher Hawkins, and his devoted companion of many years, Marilynn Viles. Private graveside services were held at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, in Ventura. In lieu of flowers, family suggests making a donation to Livingston Memorial, 1996 Eastman Ave., Suite #101, Ventura, CA 93003-5768, Salvation Army, or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, CA 93003. Condolences may be sent to


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Arthur "Art" Loren Williams Jr.

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Jeff Burton

April 8, 2019

Art was a great supporter of Manzanar National Historic Site, I am grateful to have known and worked with him.