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Remembering Gordon L. Williams

editor's note: Brian remembers his father Gordon L. Williams, who passed away over the weekend.

Gordon L. Williams was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1917. He earned a B. S. in physics at Bates College in Maine, where he also met his wife, Dorothy. As a four-year work-studies student, he along with classmate Edmund Muskie, was assigned to clean the campus Chapel. After 3 years of night-school he was awarded an MBA from New York University.

He entered the Army in World War II, and for a time worked with the legendary Helen Keller to help rehabilitate soldiers blinded in battle. He left the Army after four years, having achieved the rank of Captain. He entered the retail and marketing business as a trainee with the W. T. Grant Company. He was later the manager of the John Wanamaker department store in Center City Philadelphia, and as his career progressed he was named Director of Marketing for Corning Glass. He retired in 1982 as Vice President of the National Retail Merchants Association in New York.

He endured the death of his wife of over 50 years -- and the deaths of two of his children. He survived cancer, a heart attack (at age 50), two broken hips and countless pacemakers and replacement batteries... all the while maintaining a consistently sunny and optimistic view of life. He was blessed with 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

He was a great father, a great provider and a great man. Brian and his surviving brother Richard will lovingly remember their Dad as a hardy New Englander -- born during the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson and seared by the Depression -- who went to work each day, a passenger on the Jersey Shore Line, to support his family for over 50 years. He died of complications from a stroke. He was 93 years old. The family is planning a private service.