06/24/2008 11:00PM

Nebraska hall of famer Dean Williams dies


Dean Williams, who worked for Daily Racing Form as a chart-caller for nearly 50 years before retiring in 1995, died Tuesday at a care facility in Elkhorn, Neb., at age 81.

Williams was a jockey before going to work for Daily Racing Form in the 1940s. He spent the vast majority of his career covering the Nebraska circuit. In addition to his Daily Racing Form responsibilities, Williams also served as the racing secretary or announcer at a number of Nebraska tracks. As the announcer at Fonner Park, Columbus, and Lincoln, Williams would call the margins between horses over the public address system during his description of a race and that information would then be transcribed and serve as the offical chart.

Williams decided to retire in 1995, the same year he was inducted into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame and the final year of racing at Ak-Sar-Ben, a track dear to his heart. He called his last race that fall at Columbus.

In recent years, Williams had suffered from the brain disorder Dementia with Lewy Bodies, which has symptoms similar to Alzheimer's Disease. Two weeks ago he suffered a broken hip in a fall.

Williams is survived by wife Sheila, children R.D. Williams, Scott Williams, Becky Christiansen, and Julie Greely, plus 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. R.D. Williams, currently a steward at the Lincoln State Fair, won more than 4,000 races as a jockey, while grandson Dylan Williams is in his second year of riding.

Williams was to be cremated and a small family service was planned. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Life Care Center of Elkhorn, 20275 Hopper Street, Elkhorn, Neb., 68022.