Rev. James Robert Williams Jr. 50, of Springfield, MA, went home to be with the Lord, Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Baystate Medical Center. He was born to the late Rev. James R. Williams Sr. and the late Bishop Elizabeth Williams on October 20, 1969 in Springfield, MA. He was educated in the Springfield Public School system. An alum of Central High school, Rev. Williams went on to become a chef and secondary a photographer, where he has captured many weddings and moments from far and near. He would be known to capture the image of people on the street and call it art.
Rev. Williams was a dedicated and faithful member to the Freedom House of God Church Inc. where he wore many hats such as, Chief Musician, President of the Men’s Day Club, member of the Sunday School Book Committee and member of the Pastor’s Anniversary Committee. He is known for bringing such messages as “Crossroads: The Choice is Yours” and “The Prodigal Son”, a story that resonated with him personally. When Rev. Williams wasn’t proclaiming the gospel, he could be seen sitting in the musician’s corner from his teenage years, where he began playing the drums. After encouragement from his mother to play another instrument he picked up the trumpet and never put it back down, mastering his gift. After which he began playing the bass guitar, never forgetting his love for the trumpet. Rev. Williams is most known and remembered for his mild-mannered behavior being a gentle giant that drew many to him. He will also be remembered by his siblings and those from childhood as being a mischievous little boy, known for breaking his sibling’s toys to see how they worked, but did not know how to put them back together. Having to be closely monitored by his mother because of his precocious, inquisitive ways he stayed close by her side, becoming a mama’s boy at heart.
Having a heart of gold, Rev. Williams always had love, wisdom and advice to give, spreading the love beyond his family to many young lives and hearts in the community. Being a football coach for the 5A organization for many years, Rev. Williams or “Coach” as his players called him, even to this day, taught them “home, school, and football,” where if you didn’t take care of home and school you would not play, regardless of your talent, building the character of many young men. Because of his teaching and motivation one of his players was drafted to the NFL, bringing to life a dream he worked hard and waited to see come true. Rev. Williams did not just keep his coaching strictly to the football field but spread his love to kids and teens who did not know true fatherly love. He has worked in many homes with children becoming a father figure and friend to many. His last employment being with The Children’s Study Home, where he made a lasting impact on the youth there.
Always one to spread happiness and laughter, he will be remembered for making jokes in serious moments just to lighten the mood, or for being the head chef in the kitchen on Men’s Day, where he was famous for his sauces and his roast, which Bishop requested her own piece to be set aside.
He will be remembered for giving nick names to everyone he loved, never repeating the same name, but building the bond between them. Although some people never knew what the name stood for, they gladly accepted the token of love given by him. He was also given special names from his loved ones, such as “Boo” by his wife, “Bear” and “Zad” by his daughters, and “Paco” by his grandchildren.
He is predeceased by his father, Rev. James R. Williams, Sr., his mother, Bishop Elizabeth Williams and sister, Angela D. Wallace Johnson. Rev. Williams leaves to cherish his loving memories his beloved wife of 31 years, Nelida Williams, children: James R. Williams III (Tiara), Koralise Williams, Jourdan Williams (Zamarrie) and Kiana Williams. Siblings: Debra Drayton (Jeffery), Tanisha Williams-Smith (LaVaughn), David Williams Sr., Christina Bullard, Steven Williams (Hope), Sharon Jackson, and a special sister Debra James (Watson). Five grandchildren, Odreona, James IV, Joesiah, La-nyzha and Janiel. 2 special sons: Eric Wallace Jr., and Arion Griffiths, and a special daughter Ashleigh Geier. He also leaves behind a host of godchildren, nieces and nephews, church family and friends.
Private services will be held by the family. A memorial service to honor James will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be made to the church that he loved so much in James’ memory.
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