James L. Williams, 85, went to be with his Lord at his residence on May 30, 2018, surrounded by his loving family.
James (Jim) was born on May 1, 1933, to Stella and Harvey Williams in Brownstown, Illinois.
Jim started earning his own way early in life. As a boy, he earned money cutting grass for neighbors and delivering newspapers on his bicycle. He was a Boy Scout and raised animals for the county fair.
As a teen, he played the trumpet for the high school band and was a member of the Drum and Bugle Corp for the American Legion. After graduation, Jim got a route to drive for the Coca-Cola Company.
In 1953, Jim joined the military. He chose to join the Air Force, and not the Army, so his mother would not have three sons on the battlefield. Soon after Basic Training, Jim was stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, and had a job as a clerk. His outfit was deployed to Misawa, Japan, for 3 months. Therefore, he earned the distinction of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
When Jim returned to Bergstrom Air Force Base, he was put in “Frozen Status” while being cleared for a top secret assignment.
It was during this time, in Texas, that Jim met the love of his life, Ann Bingham. They were introduced to each other on a blind date and Jim fell in love with Ann instantly. They became engaged in a matter of weeks because Jim had to leave for his new assignment at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. They married on August 11, 1954, in Texas and Ann accompanied Jim back to Washington, D.C.
Jim’s new assignment was at the Air Force Office of Atomic Testing. The AFOAT1 office had an additional location at the Pentagon. Part of Jim’s job was to be a runner between the two offices walking to the Pentagon to deliver or pick up paperwork. Jim often greeted J. Edgar Hoover while walking down Constitution Avenue.
After completing 4 years in the Air Force, Jim and Ann loaded their new TV and washer into their new Ford pickup and moved to Illinois, where he got his old job back with the Coca-Cola Company. Soon he decided to attend Eastern Illinois University on the GI Bill. He attended classes and held down 3 jobs to support his wife and 3 young daughters.
Later, Ann became homesick for her family in South Texas, so they moved to Harlingen, Texas, where he went to work for J.C. Penney, managing the men’s suit and shoe departments. Then he became manager of the men’s department at Sears.
Jim’s ability in the sales profession led him into a new career in Real Estate. He went to work for Haynes and Swope Realtors and eventually opened his own office, Jim Williams Realtors, near the corner of Business 77 and Tyler St. When the property was purchased by Walgreens, Jim relocated to an office building at 502 East Van Buren.
Jim was a family man and adored his wife and 3 daughters. He loved family vacations, backyard barbecues and shopping backroad knick knack stores for his family of females. He enjoyed selling houses and land and watching the Dallas Cowboys and the San Antonio Spurs on TV. His favorite minister was Billy Graham.
Jim is survived by his daughters, Vivian (Joe) Ballenger, Karen (Edward) Guetzow, and Sharen Williams. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Sarah (A.J.) Salazar, James (Mari) Williams, Rachel (Kyle) Jud, Sam Ballenger, Joshua Ballenger, Hannah Ballenger; and four great granddaughters and one great grandson. Additionally, Jim is survived by two nieces and two nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Ann Williams, his father, Harvey Williams, his mother, Stella Williams, his brothers, Lewis, Kenneth and John Williams; and his son-in-law Frank Williams.
Visitation will be held on Friday, June 1, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM with the family present from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the funeral home.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM, at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home with Pastor Mark Coppins officiating. Private burial will follow.
For those desiring to do so, memorial contributions can be made to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305.
The family gives heartfelt thanks to Paula Gonzales, who faithfully served the family as caregiver for 10 years. Other caregivers faithfully serving the family were Elena Guerra, San Juanita Trevino, Gloria Hernandez and Ofelia De La Cruz. The family also gives many thanks to Nurse Jessica Sibaja and all the staff at Kindred Hospice.