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Michael Williams

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Michael Williams Obituary
Michael Williams FEURA BUSH, NY - Michael Williams, master of the art of creating community, died in the arms of his life partner, Susan Derda, early Saturday morning, March 2, 2013. Michael is survived by a loving mother and cherished siblings. He is also survived by a large community of friends, who all knew him as a man with a wonderful singing voice, a love of wordplay, and a really, really big, vocabulary, which he used to good effect and much amusement. His skill with words was exceeded by his capacity for romance, demonstrated in the gift he gave to Susan on the day he died, a roll of red duct tape. Friends of Michael and Susan will understand why this was a romantic thing to do. He was also known for his generosity to younger generations. Honorary nieces Amy Atkins, Hannah Dean-Wood and Sarah Schneider will explain that, when you wanted permission to engage in any of your more questionable activities (buying too much ice cream, dancing until dawn, trashing his kitchen), the person to ask was Kindly Uncle Michael, who said yes to their every request. Perhaps Michael developed these skills while running the Troy saloon Holmes and Watson, which he founded with Rick Knight in 1978. There, one found a welcoming atmosphere, where conversation and live music were the rule, and interesting people from all walks of life shared ideas, stories, and the proud history of Troy. Or perhaps he learned them in the many parties he and Susan hosted, where members of the Fruitcake Circuit would gather to enjoy clam chowder, turkey, music, and a necessary respite from their families during the holidays. New friendships and relationships formed and blossomed at these parties, enriching everybody. The assembled multitude turned out in force when Michael and Susan (after many years of happily living together apart) made the formal commitment of marriage in 2009, at a gathering that included music, food, champagne, and much joy. Whatever the source of his superpowers, Michael exercised them with great aplomb, and those who loved him - and there are so many - will feel his absence as a great error of the universe for the rest of their lives. We can all continue to honor his life by remembering and following the example of generosity, hospitality and community he always set. Think of him when you sing, when you cook for friends, and when you gather for fun and camaraderie.

Published in The Record on Mar. 10, 2013
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