James "Rod" Williams 1937 - 2012 James "Rod" Williams was born in 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Bakersfield, California when he was five years old. He passed away on October 22, 2012 in Morro Bay, California from complications arising from cancer. Rod graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 1956, and then attended Bakersfield Junior College, where he was elected Student Body President. He transferred to San Francisco State University where he met Marlene and earned a B.A. in Political Science. In 1966, he graduated from Hastings College of Law with a J.D. Later that year, he and Marlene were married and moved to Bakersfield, California where they had two children: Mike and Julie. Rod practiced law for over forty years in Kern and San Luis Obispo counties. For most of his career, Rod was a criminal defense attorney and devoted his life to protecting the rights of others and promoting justice. During the course of his career, Rod had many high profile cases, but above all else, he cherished the opportunities to represent those who were most in need. At the end of his career, he worked as an attorney at Juvenile Services Center, where he was dedicated to representing and mentoring youth. Rod had a passion for traveling and whether it was with Marlene or the entire family, he constantly sought out new places to visit and new adventures to experience. His passion for traveling was matched by his love of baseball, and particularly, the San Francisco Giants. For twelve consecutive years, he worked as a "Balldude" for the Giants - an experience that meant the world to him. Above all else, however, Rod was devoted to his family and he dedicated his life to providing Marlene, Mike, and Julie with his unconditional love and support and with opportunities to see the world. His interest in history, politics, and learning about other cultures was contagious and he loved nothing more than to debate contemporary political issues with family and friends. As a father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, and friend he will be deeply missed. He is survived by his son, Mike Williams and wife Molly; his daughter Julie Michaels and husband Eric; his nephew and niece, Steve and Deanna Martin; his cousin Aileen Baird and husband Andy; and five grandchildren. The family would like to give special thanks to the following people for their love and support during Rod's illness: Dr. Kota Shekar and his staff at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center; Dr. William Baker and his staff; Hospice Partners of the Central Coast; Melanie Pierce-Ritcheson; and Father Ed Holterhoff and the community at St. Timothy's Catholic Church. A Mass will be held 1:00-2:30 on Friday, October 26 at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Morro Bay. A brief graveside service will be held at Old Mission Cemetery in San Luis Obispo at 3:00 p.m., which will be followed by a reception at 4:00 p.m. The arrangements are being handled by Benedict Retty Mortuary and Crematory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Timothy's Catholic Church, Hospice, or the
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Published in Bakersfield Californian from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25, 2012