Franklin G. WILLIAMS
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YORKTOWN - F. Grayson Williams, 88, of Yorktown, Va., died peacefully at home on July 26, 2012.
Grayson was born on Feb. 28, 1924, in Hampton, Va., to the late Charles Franklin Williams and Toano Vaiden Strange. He graduated from Newport News High School, where he earned the Julian Gordon trophy for football and two college scholarship offers. Those plans were deferred, when Grayson became a U.S. Marine, where he served 29 months on the USS Iowa. He married Nancy Robins Gary, on Dec. 28, 1944, and when he was discharged in 1945, took the scholarship for football and played for Furman University. Upon graduation, he began his teaching and coaching career in South Carolina. He returned to Virginia, where he earned a graduate degree at William and Mary, and taught and coached football at York High School until his retirement in 1986.
Grayson was a man who embraced life, enjoyed the simple things, loved his family, friends and career as an educator and coach. He loved to engage people he met; share stories and listen to theirs. His heart was as big as his presence and he will be missed by those he touched.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Irene Mark and Betsy Marks.
Left to cherish his memory, his wife of 68 years, Nancy G. Williams and their five children, Franklin Grayson Williams Jr. (Sandy), Kathryn W. Jones (Bill), Gary 'Charlie Boy' Williams (Karen), Mark Robins Williams, and Nancy Elizabeth 'Beth' Pratt (Bull); six grandchildren, Alease, Russell, Chris, Suzanne, Paul and Robin; and nine great-grandchildren, Sam, Sawyer, Connor, Logan, James, Jenna, Mason, Gracelyn and Rylee. He also leaves extended family members and a host of friends, some lifelong, as well as former students and players, whom he impacted in his positive, inspiring way.
The family will receive visitors at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at Peninsula Funeral Home, followed by the memorial service at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Peninsula Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Grayson's honor to a local animal shelter. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Daily Press from Jul. 29 to Jul. 30, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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36 entries
August 5, 2012
To Nancy and all the family, I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Grayson first when he coached at York; and then got to know him again as an adult when I discovered my best friend, Louisa, was his sister-in-law. He was always at the center of every gathering or party, making everyone feel welcome and at home, sharing a laugh. May God comfort you all and help you remember all the good Grayson brought into our lives.
Judith Campbell
July 31, 2012
To say I am blessed to have had you as my uncle, teacher and friend would be an understatement. I grew up with confidence because of the encouragment you gave me. You always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. I became a teacher because of you. All of my life I dreaded this day, but you assured me you were ready to go. It is all of us left behind who have lost, but you left us all with so much to carry on with. I know you are in the arms of God because your goodness shined through all you did in your lifetime. I will miss you terribly. I love you,
"Annie Fannie"
Laurie Artman
July 31, 2012
Beth, I will miss his phone calls, sharing a joke, and what he's cooking good to eat and then asking "If he can speak with his Little Girl". He loved you very very much, I cannot imagine how much you will miss him but he will always be with you in memory and heart. Love you!
Joanie Karavias
July 31, 2012
Beth, Mark, and family, My deepest sympathy for the both of you and your family. He will forever remain in your hearts. He was a very special person to each and everyone that had the opportunity to know him. God Bless and take care of Mommy (Nancy)
Joanie Karavias
July 31, 2012
Grayson Williams gave everyone "his heart and soul." He loved everyone which included pets and critters. The sparkle in his eyes showed the happiness which depicted his life. And in his finest hour he was lovingly taking care of his wife and still smiling! God Bless Grayson and his family.
Betty Watson
July 30, 2012
I cant tell you how saddened I was to hear of Coach William's passing..what a sweet sweet soul this man was...I can only imagine the loss that his family is feeling at this moment...I adored him as a Coach a friend and a teacher...just one of the nicest and most remarkable men to be close to.. thanks coach for the wonderful memories
tracy brown
July 30, 2012
Coach Williams taught me and all of my brothers and sisters to drive. He coached some of my brothers. He was always kind, and never critical. I'll always remember him for that. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I still practice so many things he taught to this very day.
God bless you all and we'll be keeping you and yours in our prayers. Donation to Go Rescue Pet adoption has been made in Mr. Williams name.
Sandra Stubbs Woodhouse
July 30, 2012
What would I give for getting one more of his hugs, seeing the twinkle in his eyes, hearing his teasing, listening to one of his stories, or basking in his contagious, huge laugh! How could I have missed out on so many years? Life takes us in so many directions, and this is an example of how much we end up missing important people. I so love Grayson Williams! He was so much fun to be around, even making drivers' education an adventure. He always made me feel special and loved, no matter how much time had passed since we last met. He had that dynamic energy and joy for living that drew you to him. The world won't have the same magic with him no longer here. He loved dogs as much as I do, and that alone made him my special pal! I loved talking dogs with him. I send my love and prayers for comfort to each one of the Williams' family. Gary, I send a huge hug to you and to Karen. Please hold your mama extra tight for me once in a while and give hugs to each of your siblings for me, too. They may not recall Lori Shackelford, but everyone needs a hug, and especially now, extra hugs may help still the sorrow for at least a moment or two. I wish I could find a way to be with you all on Thursday. Know that my heart and spirit will be there, regardless of this ol' body! I love you, Coach Grayson Williams. But I believe you already know that.
Lorraine (Lori") Shackelford-Giddens
July 30, 2012
A truely unforgettable man. Never saw him when he didn't have a smile and a hug for me. He had a way of making you feel like there was no one else more important to him than you. I'll miss him and am so glad I knew him. God's peace to his family left behind.
Tara Neill
July 30, 2012
Gary and Karen,
So sorry to hear about your Dad. I met him a few times and I could see what a special Man he was to your family and how he was so genually full of love and concern for others. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.
Kim Bevan
July 30, 2012
Coach Williams was my JV Football Coach and Driver's Education Teacher. I remember him as a caring and firm mannered coach who cared for his players. My year under him (1970)was the best of my high school football career. He will be missed.
Clyde Burke
July 30, 2012
Beth and Paul,
All your family at DTA send love and our prayers to you and your family.
July 30, 2012
Grayson was such a wonderful person and ohh the stories he could tell my hearet is broke but the wonderful memories and good times we all shared up at ricks country store and that smile and laugh of yours will stay with me forever i am glad we got to talk a few months ago .Dont worry that beautiful little filly horse u gave me is a lasting memory of you may u ride high in heaven Grayson..will miss you so much..
Sharon West
July 30, 2012
For the family og Grayson, he was a teacher, father, helper and anything that he could do for the kids he gave more than his share for everyone, I have so many fond memories from my kids, he was a person always smiling and very sincere. Love Betty Kopczynski
July 30, 2012
My prayers are with you Nancy,Grayson,Cathy,Gary,Mark,Beth and the entire Williams family.I never enjoyed watching football games more than watching them with big Grayson! R.I.P.Big Daddy.
Karen Moore
July 30, 2012
All of the Employees at Fox Auto Repair will miss Mr. WIlliams. He was such a sweet wonderful man. RIP Mr. Williams...
Brenda Fields
July 29, 2012
Few could match the 'wisdom & the 'strength ; , Much Love Coach . I am a better person for being blessed to have met you .
July 29, 2012
Coach Williams was an awesome teacher! All of us who attended YHS will cherish the fond memories he left us with! My deepest sympathy to his family...God bless each of you.
Cynthia Sulzberger Wells
July 29, 2012
Our first memory of Graybird was when he wanted to meet Stanley our Rhodesian Ridgeback. He'd never seen one and he was just crazy about dogs in general. He was such a warm and genuine man. You felt like you'd known him forever. I think he wanted everyone to enjoy life as much as he did. He loved a big plate of fried oysters with friends. Once he was so anxious to cook me a big steak that he put it on almost immediately after he had soaked the coals with charcoal lighter and lit them. He might as well have marinated it in fluid. He was so enthusiastic that I ate it anyway.
Steven Brown
July 29, 2012
Grayson and I spent many happy years working at York High School. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He always had a wit about him which put you in a happy mood just being around him. I will miss seeing him drive by my house every day on his way to Hardee's for his breakfast. He was a stranger to none and will be missed by all. My sympathy to all his family
Joan Price
July 29, 2012
sending all my love to your family,(cynthia dawn-carlton-shetterly
Id like to send my sympathes to the whole famil on mr williams passing.,i was a good freind of his son grayson,(cindy) and mr williams and his wife were the nicest sweetiest people ive ever met. they helped me so much about 20 yrs ago when i was so young,thankyou both for that and God Bless this this family in the time of there grieving,,cindy
cynthia shetterly
July 29, 2012
What a sweet thoughtful loving man. He will be misses by so many I heart is sad but I know he is now healed and having a great time in heaven with all his friends and family. I aw very blessed to have ihim I my life for a short time. He always talked about his family and was so proud of all his children. My prayers are with all left behind
Betty Bennett
July 29, 2012
Coach Williams-what a wonderful man. The students and faculty at York were blessed to have you leading,teaching and coaching. You taught us many life lessons. You will be missed here on earth. Heaven is an even better place with you there. May the Williams family feel God's loving arms around you at this time. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Louisa Lackey
July 29, 2012
I'm so sorry to hear of Grayson's passing. I always loved his friendly smile and treasure the friendship he shared with my dad. They shared their love of dogs and bird hunting! My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Lynn Murden
July 29, 2012
coach- heaven will rejoice at your appearance there and this world will be a little dimmer for your passing. you were a great influence to thousands of students and teachers and, if i neglected to do it back the, thank you.
dave marsh
July 29, 2012
If there was a nicer man i never met him, Grayson never had a bad thing to say about anyone. You will be missed.
mel barbee
July 29, 2012
I have a lot of good memories about Grayson,especially the time we went to the Preakness when "Carryback" was running. I also remember times when he came to the house and Momma had cooked a pot of beans. He was a good eater. One time we were supposed to go hunting and when he came to get me it was pouring down rain. I'm sorry to say I didn't go. I could go on and on but I will stop with "Semper Fi".
Betsy (another Marine) Menin
July 29, 2012
He was a fine person to look up to and have as a mentor. He cared about his students and his friends. He will be missed by many.
Greg Marchi
July 29, 2012
I am deeply saddened by the news of Grayson's passing.He enriched every life he touched.My prayers are with all the family.

Love and sympathy,
Marie Dorsey Valencourt
July 29, 2012
Estes Family
July 29, 2012
So many memories of this loving Man. To know him was to love him, thats what he did you loved you and made you feel like family. To this day every time I have a tomatoe sandwich I think of him teaching me how to make the best ever down in the house in Dare. As you eat you have to say umm.uumm umm.. now thats good. RIP Greybird Heaven sure has one great rare Bird.
Pam Estes
July 29, 2012
I had the great pleasure of playing for Coach Williams at York. He was a great coach but he was a friend and mentor as well, not only to his players but also everyone he came in contact with. He set an example for all of us at York.I know he will be greatly missed by his family and everyone who had the good fortune to be in his presence. My condolence goes out to the family.
Michael Hedge
July 29, 2012
to Gary Charles, sorry to hear about your Dad, my thoughts are with you and your family. I can still hear your Dad's voice on the phone and I know he was a really great guy!! He had some of the best garden beets and collards I ever had the pleasure to cook up!! They don't make MEN like our Daddies anymore....
Kat Warren
July 29, 2012
We are so sorry to hear of Grayson's passing. Our heart felt condolences go out to the family. R.I.P. Grayson, you will be remebered !
The jewel family
July 29, 2012
We are so sorry to hear of Grayson's passing. Our heart felt condolences go out to the Williams family. R.I.P. Grayson, we will remember you !
The Jewel Family
July 29, 2012
Grayson, as I say goodbye, my heart is heavy, I will miss you and the love you gave me all my life. May God give your children and wife the support and peace they need, at this time.
Grayson, I will keep your interesting stories and laughter with me always.
So happy adventures in heaven. Until we are together again.
Love Always, Sue Sue
Susan Gary
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