Friday, February 01, 2008


The Passing of Roger Williams: 1932-2008

Obituary for Roger H. Williams

Roger H. Williams, of Winnsboro, passed away Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at the age of 75. He was born in New Bern, North Carolina on June 28, 1932 to the late James E. and Blanche Hancock Williams. He was a graduate of Wake Forest University, a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving during the Korean Conflict in occupied Germany. He was a retired Civil Servant for the Department of Defense, a Baptist, as well as an Eagle Scout. He married Nancy Newton on January 9, 1982 in New Bern, North Carolina. He was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother, James E. Williams, Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Nancy Williams of Winnsboro; one son, James Shirley and wife Stephanie of The Woodlands; two daughters, Teresa Williams of Highlands, New Jersey, Donna Fite and husband Randy of St. Louis, Missouri; one sister, Virginia Nichols of Buena Park, California; and was a loving grandfather to his six grandchildren, Joy Nyberg, Brooke Shirley, Olivia Shirley, Jamie Shirley, Stephen Shirley and Andrea Fite.

Funeral services for Roger were held at Beaty Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, Feb. 1, 2008, with Rev. David Rose and Dr. Leslie Mills officiating. Two musical selections were performed by Scott Bowman, Music Minister at First Baptist Church of Winnsboro: My Tribute and The Lord's Prayer. Another music selection, On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand, was included electronically.

Rev. Rose read from Chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians, and emphasized how Roger touched the lives of others. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," Rev. Rose declared. In his prayer, Rev. Rose dwelt on Roger's sacrifices for his country, his family and his friends.

Dr. Mills read the Lazarus story from the Gospel of John, emphasizing that death is a transition to a better life. "Roger was strong in who he was," added Dr. Mills. "And, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of His saints."

Interment was at Shady Grove Cemetery, where Rev. Rose read the 23rd Psalm. Pallbearers were John Futral, Jerald Brewer, Joe Dan Boyd, Tommy Boyd, Ronny Ellison and Jimmy Hamm.

Roger, a tribute by Helen Tinney Miller

I grew to know and understand Roger Williams after he moved to Texas, to which he came Reluctantly, with a capital R!

Roger left North Carolina only because of his love for Nan: He was a family man. I also know that he came from a good family, something I could sense through interactions and conversations with Roger.

He adjusted slowly, but eventually became a Texan!

His alma mater was Wake Forest University, but Roger finally could watch, and perhaps enjoy, Texas sports teams.

He never grew to be a “Southern drop-in,” however. He wanted to be showered and shaved when company came a-calling. His “drop-in philosophy” was one of the few things on which he and I were in total agreement.

However, I have seen him jump in his pickup truck and drive 20 miles, while in sweat-caked work clothes, to help a friend in a medical emergency.

He quietly did such things for others, and wanted no accolades for it.

John Deere was a name he learned to love in Texas, while spending quality time on his tractor, one of the true joys in his life. It was one of my joys to watch Roger’s thorough transformation from confirmed city slicker to comfortable country squire.

He loved being a Carolinian. He liked being a Texan. But, recognizing that his destiny was to move to a better place, Roger had his life in order, and has now moved upstairs.

We miss you, Roger!

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