The Honorable Diocese Bishop Samuel James Williams MTH was born to the late James and Iola Williams on June 1, 1928 in Newville, Ala. He received his high school diploma from the Jackson County Institute of Marianna. He volunteered for service in the U.S. Navy
during the closing years of WW II, 1945-1946. He then served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict
, 1951-1953. He was a member of the Grand Masonic Lodge. Bishop Williams was employed with Southern Bell Telephone Company and was instrumental in helping break down the walls of segregation that involved skilled and unskilled employees. He, was one of the first two black cable splicers in Pensacola, and was the first black cable splicer in Panama City and Chipley. He was also the first black male supervisor with Southern Bell Telephone Company in Panama City a position he held for more than 14 years until his retirement on Nov. 1, 1987 with 31 years and 8 months of service. Bishop Williams accepted Christ as his personal Savior in 1956 under the pastorate of Elder J.S. Shepherd where he served as an ordained deacon. He was called into the ministry and received the ordination for an ordained Elder and began working in the field of evangelism effectively preaching the Gospel of Christ. Within the arena of The First Born Church of the Living God, Inc. he served in the following capacities: Union Director, Youth President, and Presiding Elder, and Superintendent of the Auxiliary Convention all of the Panama City District. He was a member of the First Born Church Seminary Training School in Waycross, Ga., where he earned his diploma in Christian Education, a Bachelors of Theology and a Masters of Theology. In 1997 he was elected to the office of Diocese Bishop and served as the Bishop of the West Florida Diocese until his demise. Under his pastorate, he was sent to Marianna to pick up the pieces of a church that had been left without a pastor and the new construction of the building had ceased and the member's spirit had been broken. Through much prayer, fasting, teaching, and the preaching of the gospel, the members faith was built up and developed a "can do attitude", which led to the new building being completed and named in his honor, Williams Temple F.B.C. He served as pastor of Cottonton F.B.C. of Cottonton, Ala., where he provided leadership and brought revival to the church and many new members were added. It was from this church that the nucleus of our churches in Columbus, Ga., was born. In 1973 he was sent to Neal's Temple F.B.C., which stands as the West Florida Diocese Headquarters located in Panama City where he served for 40 years. A beautiful dining room, parsonage, central air conditioning, padded pews, and carpeted floor were added. His call into the ministry and the preparatory years following his call was under the leadership of the late Bishop W.L. Johnson at Johnsons Temple F.B.C. of Chipley. He was recognized in the 1989 "Who's Who in Americas Christian Leadership". Bishop Williams possessed personal qualities of personal integrity, responsibility, enthusiastic vitality, response capacity, and personal stability. He honestly offered himself to draw out the genuine feelings of others coupled with respect for the differences between persons offering salvation through Jesus Christ. Bishop S.J. Williams was united in holy matrimony to the late Elect Lady Berta L. Williams of the West Florida Diocese in 1954. Being a man of God he loved his wife for over 56 years with all of his heart and gave the same love to their five children, grandchildren and great-grands. Elect Lady Williams preceded him in death on Sept. 11, 2011. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, Bishop S.J. Williams was called to his heavenly home to receive his rest and rewards.
He was preceded in death by his son, Minister Robert Leroy Blount; siblings, Mattie Lou Culver, Corine Wynn, Bertha Swain, James Cecil Davis, Gertrude Walker, Mary Lou Davis, and Louise Patterson.
He leaves to carry on his legacy his loving and caring children, Deacon Wayne Blount (Brenda) of Houston, Texas, Prophetess Phyllis Lee of Columbus, Ga., Deaconess Renee Brooks (Clifford) of Phenix City, Ala., and Evangelist Vanessa Rhynes of Chipley; one beloved brother, Deacon Mordecai Williams (Cassandra) of Chipley; sisters-in-law, Mary D. Shackelford of Orlando, Claretha Marshall and Sarah Catherine Moore both of Chipley; along with a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren; special friends, Diocese Deacon Eddie Harris of Panama City and Elder Floyd Harper of Chipley and numerous god children, nieces, nephews, cousins, the Neal's Temple Church Family and the members of the West Florida Diocese.