1942 - 2013
Resident of Watsonville, California
Watsonville native, beloved husband, Father and friend David Williams passed away suddenly on March 25 after a hard fought battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family. David was born September 11, 1942 to Harold and Mary Williams. He attended Moreland Notre Dame and continued on to Mora Central High School. He took great pride as a young man being in the choir and being an altar boy at St. Patrick's church. In fact his love for music escalated to a further adventure of singing at weddings and special occasions with his best friend Joe Montoya. He was Student Body President and MVP of his basketball team. David's commitment and strong work ethic began at an early age. He was well known throughout the community delivering the Register Pajaronian newspaper on three daily routes and working odd jobs at the market to stay busy. He then went on to become an apprentice printer at Service Printers, but was destined to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Starting out as a volunteer firefighter before joining the department full time in 1965 and devoting the next 34 years as a civil servant to his admiring community. Working his way up the ranks first as Captain, Fire Inspector, Fire Marshall, and eventually Assistant Chief. He was then called upon to take on the duty of Planning Director and later Building Official for the City Of Watsonville, which quickly turned into Community Development Director. But this wasn't enough for Dave and his wife's illness prompted him to do more. He decided he'd work side by side with his wife Diane and her mother Kay Beilby in establishing the United Scleroderma Foundation. Spending some 25 years traveling nationwide organizing and developing new chapters, spreading awareness, attending medical conventions to encourage the research of this deadly disease. Meeting with congress initiating legislation for federal funding for the support and research and establishing a national recognition of Scleroderma Day, Week and eventually Scleroderma Month. And when not traveling, spending time at home producing brochures and newsletters full of information on Scleroderma and providing support to the many victims all while maintaining his full time career with the city. Once again expressing his genuine desire and devotion as a true humanitarian.
He encouraged and supported his children to join Little League, Pony League, basketball clubs, track and field, wrestling, 4-H and anything to keep them busy and involved. Always volunteering and supporting; understanding the need for community activities for the kids. He thoroughly enjoyed watching the excitement in the children's eyes when he would appear at the schoolyard to educate them about fire prevention and service. Showing off the Fire engine and its many facets. His passion for restoring antiques and working with his hands lead him to an extra project of refurbishing the antique hose cart for the fire department so that it could be escorted down Main St. in style for the annual 4th of July Parade, which he always enjoyed taking part in. He was a member of the Watsonville Jaycees and the Watsonville Rotary Club.
After retirement he kept himself busy serving on the Board of Directors for the Santa Cruz Metro Transit and The Independent Square of Watsonville. Never giving up on his hometown remaining active in the political arena working alongside his activist friend and neighbor Lorraine Stucki on important social and political issues. He had many medical challenges over the years due to his peripheral vascular disease, which included losing a leg and his eyesight but never his ambition, fight and drive to keep Watsonville alive.
He was preceded in death by his son Jeff Williams. He leaves behind his childhood sweetheart and wife of 51 years Diane Williams and two children Jim and Joann Williams. Three beautiful grandchildren Jordon, Jaiden and Brittany Williams. Brothers Richard (Lorraine) and Robert Williams, (Mitzi) a sister Dona (Ken) Taylor. Brothers and sisters in law Don and Dolores French, Dick and Barbara Beilby, and David Beilby along with numerous nieces and nephews.
A public viewing will be held at 10 a.m. on April 1st, at the Ave Maria Chapel located at 609 Main St. with procession to Our Lady Help of Christians Valley Catholic Church at 2401 East Lake Ave. for a Noon Rosary and Mass. Family request donations be made in Dave's memory to the Katz Cancer Resource Center at 1555 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Mar. 30, 2013