by Walter Fox
Robert Morgan Williamson Jr., 83, formerly of Chestnut Hill, a civil engineer who had invented pre-grouted tile sheets for the American Olean Tile Co., died Jan. 8 at his home in Ambler.
Mr. Williamson, who retied in 1994, had held many positions during his 30 years with the tile firm, including director of training and development for the company’s national sales force, director of technical services and product development, and technical director of sales.
He had also served as the firm’s liaison to the Tile Council of America and the Construction Specifications Institute, and was a former president of the American Association of Inventors.
Earlier in his career, he had worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Armco Steel Corp. and the Hercules Cement Co.
Born and raised in Chestnut Hill, Mr. Williamson attended J.S. Jenks Elementary School and graduated from Germantown Academy, where he was a member of the football, baseball and track teams and the glee club. He remained active in the academy’s alumni affairs and had served as president of the alumni association.
He received his degree in civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the track team and performed with the university’s band, glee club and Mask and Whig Society.
He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II.
He had been a member at different times of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, Summit Presbyterian Church in Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler.
He continued his love of music in later life, performing with the Ambler Rotary Singers and in church choirs. He played the saxophone, mandolin, piano and harmonica.
Mr. Williamson is survived by daughters Sandy Williamson, of Annapolis, Md., and Elizabeth W. Turner, of Audubon, N.J., and a sister, Jane Shoeniger of Erdenheim. His wife of 55 years, the former Virginia M. “Mitzi” Fromuth, died in 2005.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in the auditorium at Gwynedd Estates, 301 Norristown Rd., Ambler.
Memorial donations may be made to Germantown Academy, 340 Morris Road, Fort Washington, PA 19034, or to Jefferson’s Parkinson’s Disorder and Movement Disorders Program, Attn: Dr. Tsao-Wei Liang, 900 Walnut St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19107.