In Memory of

“Tuffy” Carlton Nathanial Williams, Jr.

October 15, 1952 - February 10, 2022


“Tuffy” Carlton Nathanial Williams, Jr., 69, of Lee’s Summit, MO went home Thursday, February 10, 2022.

Tuffy was born October 15, 1952 in New Kensington, PA.  He grew up in Independence, MO where he established himself as a legendary entertainer at his theatre the KC Opry.  His larger-than-life personality and charisma spread far and wide, making him it impossible for anyone to forget him. Many young music stars, including Garth Brooks, found their footing with Tuffys support. Many also know him as “The Meatman” from his wholesale food business of over 20 years, where he was still entertaining with his countless stories and jokes. His greatest pride however was being known as husband, daddy and “Tapah”.

He was preceded to glory by his dad Carlton Sr., momma Irene and sisters Carol Lakey and Darci Williams.

His legacy includes his greatest love, Karen; son Tuffy (T); daughters Sarah Rigdon, Jesse Williams and Molly Williams and grandchildren Bethany, Vincent, Addy, Levi, Jude, Elliott and Lucas.

A Memorial Celebration of Life will be at 2:00 PM, Sunday, April 3, 2022 at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111 with doors opening at 1:00 PM for a visitation.

Arrangements by Lansford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


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Truly missed by me and the entire Lewis family. We are praying for all who experience this tremendous loss.


Ron Lewis

I knew Tuffy in the very early 1980s, when he hired my brother Mickey to play lead guitar. We lost Mickey almost 5 months ago. Prayers for Tuffy’s soul and for comfort for all his family and friends. 🙏🏼

The reason I am in music is because of this wonderful man. A mentor and admired performer. Another addition to the heavenly band. May God give peace to the Williams family and rest assured we will see “Tuffy ” again when we reach our heavenly home.

Was a great entertainmer. And was a friend to many . Enjoy singing and playing with him at the KC OPRY . He will be missed
Don Riddle

Ruddy was singing to the Glory of God wherever he went. His Minnesota cousins enjoyed his visit for county fairs and school entertainer. He’ll be missed. Love and prayers to his family.

Our prayers are with you! Tuffy was a truly wonderful human, my family has been enriched simply by knowing him.

My thoughts and prayers for you and your family Karen. May God be with you and your family through this loss of Tuffy.

You will never be forgotten Tufffy, the gentle giant. Always with a smile. What a gift knowing you on earth. Until we meet again.
George and Janet

My first experience learning to play the bass guitar was from Tuffy. I received a bass and amp for Christmas when I was in the 10th grade. So mom,dad and I headed for Kansas City to see my talented cousin. Tuffy taught me “House of the Rising Sun”. We played and played that song till I could stumble through it half way decent. Then Aunt Irene came in and told us to practice a song for church. So he picked “At Calvary”. So, we practiced that song until I could play it half way decent. Next stop, Sunday morning church. So anyway, we went to Sunday School then church service. My first experience playing a song at church
Thank you Tuffy for being a blessing to me.
Love and Prayers continue for the family.

So sorry for your loss sending you prayers and hugs he was a really great guy he’ll be missed

Tuffy you meant the world to me. Our friendship was important to me. Known you for 45 years. Will miss your electricity and presence. RIP

He will be missed by many! He had a beautiful voice and could make the keyboard sing. I will remember him sitting in his truck selling his bargains and telling his jokes and many stories. He was quite the guy. The first time I heard him sing “Mary did you know” was at his church. I had never heard the song before and it was beautiful! RIP
Tuffy! You are loved!

Unbelievable was this news, my deepest and most sincere condolences to all he left behind. What an amazing gift it was to have this family in my life and bring me into their love and kindness. One of my greatest wish’s came true to meet my childhood idol. I’ll never forget answering the phone at work, knowing because of caller Id who was calling, and hearing this man always trying to pull your leg on the other end. Good Bless this family and may the lord be with us all who miss and feel the loss.

So very sad to hear of my old friends passing! Thanks to Tuffy and family for allowing me to come to any show or concert free if charge just for copies of the photos I took. Made me the photographer I am today. I even paid tribute to the KC Opry by including KC as the beginning of All my E MAIL address,thus the as it is now still reminds me of those wonderful experiences and times! Rest well old friend,till we meet again in that concert hall in the sky.Kevin D.McPherson

I knew Tuffy from the food business. He was always so funny and made me laugh. I sold to him for many years. I heard countless stories about the love of his life Karen. I heard about his children’s adventures and accomplishments as well as his grand children as they arrived. He loved his family fiercely. You guys all came first in his world after God. He was always helping people in the community and was such a thoughtful man. His jovial big heart will be forever missed. Tears fall and my heart swells for the pain you are all experiencing. Sending love and light to you all. Just be there for eachother as you navigate through your grief. I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

Wow!!! The memories of Tuffy & The Opry… Including life long friendships and family I met and still have and love ( Richard & Alexis). So many stories including watching the Grand last game of the 1985 World Series at the Opry with Tuffy. He was such a great and love filled man. Tuffy you will be missed, until we meet again one day! Love forever, Dirk

My condolences to the family and friends. Praying for the Lord Jesus Christ love and protection to the family as they travel throughout the Grieving Process. Thank you Karien and family for sharing Tuffy such a Godly man and friend who will be missed. I loved making my Louisiana Gumbo for him. He would let me know how much he loved it. Love you all. Mary White

Growing up I met so many people through Tuffy, especially when I worked the concession stand or backstage at the Opry. Although meeting the many famous people that I did, I mostly enjoyed the music. As a singer/performer myself, I wanted nothing more than to be on that stage with them. Also, I could sit for hours and listen to Tuffy playing his piano. In fact, I had a cassette of his that I played so many times that it finally snapped. It was his version of ‘Secret Love’ that I played over and over. I always loved the original song, but that piano interlude in the middle was simply incredible. I would give anything to get another copy and be able to hear that song again. I really hope they play it at his memorial. Either way, it is sure to be a musical celebration of life. If another singer is needed, I would be happy to lend my voice. I am going to miss Tuffy and my heart goes out to Karen and the children and the rest of our family.

Sending prayers and thoughts of encouragement to your family from ours. May the memories that you have continue to bless your lives into the future.

The Scotts

He always had a great show with country music stars that made down the line. Brenda Lee,Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Jerry Reed, Bill Anderson Johnny Paycheck just naming a few. Plus Tuffy’s group was always good and his wife was great singer.

So sorry Karen and family for your loss. Tuffy touched a lot of people.
In the eighties we enjoyed going to fan fare with Tuffy. We had a great time. Went to concerts.
Prayers for the family

Karen & Family, our hearts break for you. Tuffy was an extraordinary person. He would always make you feel as if you were the most important person to him.. Growing up at the Opery, was an awesome experience. I was there all the time with my father ( Bill Riddle), Our thoughts, prayers and Blessings go out to y’all .

My husband, Mike Skaggs, played music at KC Opry years ago and he loved Tuffy. I am so sad to hear this and pray for the family.

To Karen and the family, let me first say how sorry I am for your loss, Tuffy was a Great Man! I’m Praying for you at this time.
May you find Peace to walk this path. When I heard the news about Tuffy, my mind and heart went back 30 plus yrs to my first encounter with him and his family @ The KC Opry. He’s a man of many talents and always had a smile that could light up the room. I participated in his Talent Show and performed against a lot more seasoned performers than I. He saw something in me that I couldn’t.
We became friends through the progression of the talent show and I appreciated the care and love he showed a young man that had dreams to sing.
I learned a lot from Tuffy and the absolutely steller musicians that would back up the songs. My favorite was his ability to play a piano. Most of the songs I would gravitate to were heavy on the piano and he could and would play everything perfectly. He was amazing in his talents and gifts. His stage presence and smile and boisterous laugh was a gift that just energized the crowd and his love and respect for others was incredible to watch.
The audience Loved Tuffy. We became friends and he further influenced my love for the Lord. We had many conversations that centered around God and a relationship with Christ! I’m grateful that he asked me to drive to Nashville for Fan Fair. We took off for Nashville with zero plans and limited funds, yet Nashville opened its hearts and hands to us and we had a time together that I will never forget. Literally the memories and events are like they happened just yesterday not 30 years ago.
Tuffy influenced my life in ways I don’t have words for but my memories of my friend will never fade. I believe that All of Tuffy’s singers, guests, celebrities would say,
He was The Wind Beneath Our Wings!
Blessings, Love & Hugs!
Til we meet again my friend!

So sorry for your loss. I got to know Tuffy and Jesse through the food business. He always was a kind man and would always ask after my children as they grew. Wishing you all the best.

My heart is heavy learning of the passing of my school friend, Carleton. We attended Korte, Nowlin and Van Horn. I always remember his smile and and silliness. May your memories of all the good times bring you comfort during your time of grief. And to Carleton (as I always called him) Fly High Falcon! You are loved and missed by so many friends.

So sorry to hear this. My condolences to your family. I went to elementary school with Tuffy and knew him then as Carlton. Also visited the KC Opry. I agree that he was larger than life, with a great sense of humor and charisma, even in 7th grade. Oh yeah and he was great at kickball.

Karen, We are so sorry to hear that Tuffy has passed. Tuffy was a great friend to my dad. Dad loved him like a son. You all did a great job of singing at his funeral. Great memories of the KC Opry! Tuffy will be missed by so many who loved and respected him. God bless and keep you and the family in the palm of his hand and give you peace. The Burnett family

Back when the K C Opry was going strong I worked in the sound room running the lights for the show. One time he had Jerry Lee Lewis. At the time Jerry Lee was in trouble with IRS. Tuffy had me pay Jerry’s manager in cash in the restroom. Also got to introduce my wife Shirley to Tuffy Karen and Molly on our way back from Minnesota. That was a special visit. God bless the Williams family and all of Tuffy’s friends!

Dear Karen,
So very sorry for your loss. Duffy sounds like a wonderful and amazing man. We lost contact with each other over the years, but I can imagine you have had a wonderful life and beautiful family with Duffy. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Nancy

“Gone but not Forgotten”-🙏♥️
Just want to express my condolences of Tuffy’s transitioned [R.I.P], where he’s forever sharing his gifts and talents. 🙏
Tuffy encouraged me to come up and sing during an “open mic-like” talent showcase at the KC Opry- my debut that night was the beginning of being invited back many times, for good ole’ fashioned fun filled Saturday night family entertainment, he’d introduced me as the “Female Charlie Pride [R.I.P.], who I was blessed to meet at the Nashville Fan Fair, on the KC OPRY BUS TRIP TO NASHVILLE – Do anybody else remember that trip, it was so much fun!!!
Tuffy, thanks for the memories dear friend ❤️

So sorry to hear about this. I played with Tuffy in 1982, and enjoyed every minute of it. RIP Tuffy, you will greatly missed.


Sunday, April 3, 2022
1:00 to 2:00 PM
Uptown Theater
3700 Broadway Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111


Sunday, April 3, 2022
2:00 PM
Uptown Theater
3700 Broadway Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111