Joel Thomas Williams Jr.
1920 - 2015
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WILLIAMS, JR., Joel Thomas Joel T. Williams, Jr., age 94, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 17, 2015, surrounded by his large and loving family. A native Dallasite, Joel was born on September 14, 1920, one of four children of Joel T. and Bessie Cobb Williams. Joel grew up with his brother and two sisters in east Dallas and attended Woodrow Wilson High School. He distinguished himself early as an athlete, formed lifetime friendships with his teammates, especially the linemen who he says made him look good, and was known by his teammates as Crazy Legs Williams. After high school he attended Baylor University where he played baseball on an athletic scholarship until he enlisted in the Navy to join the war effort. Like so many of his generation, Joel learned about responsibility and taking care of others as a very young man. He earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander, was deployed to the Pacific, and was given command of a submarine chaser at age 25, with responsibility for the lives and well being of his crew. In 1943, while stationed in Pensacola, Florida, Joel married his high school sweetheart, Marguerite Landrum. He completed his college education while in the Navy, returned to Dallas after the war, and earned his law degree from SMU while he and Marguerite began their family life with the birth of Joel T. Williams III and Jan Williams Graham. While in law school, Joel began working in the savings and loan industry, launching a long and successful career in banking and finance. He was a natural leader and rose to become Chairman of Texas Federal Savings and Loan, and served on numerous corporate boards throughout his career. Joel's life was not without hardship. His beloved wife, Marguerite, died of cancer in 1962. In 1967, Joel married the second love of his life, Betty Lu Slaughter Perryman, expanding the family he so loved with a devoted daughter, Linda Perryman Evans, and son, Walter Lewis Perryman, III. Joel's life was characterized by his early years. He never forgot his humble beginnings in east Dallas, or the grave responsibilities of wartime leadership that shaped a lifelong dedication to his fellow man. His many friends came from all walks of life. From those at the pinnacle of success to those in need, he engendered the friendship of all. Joel was strongly civic-minded, with longstanding service on the City of Dallas Park Board, the Dallas Arboretum Board, the Salvation Army Board, the Goodwill Industries Board, serving as executive chairman of the Constantine Foundation for 44 years, and serving on the Executive Committee of the State Fair of Texas until his death. He was a longtime member of the Salesmanship Club, a city councilman and former mayor of University Park, a past president of Dallas Country Club, and a founding member of Park Cities Presbyterian Church. But Joel's generosity extended far beyond his service through organizations. He devoted his time, wisdom and resources in the quiet service of many in need. One of the great joys in his later years was delivering Meals on Wheels, providing assistance to many people known and unknown to him. If someone was new to the neighborhood, he would be the first to deliver food and welcome them to the area. He was a teacher, mentor and counselor to many. From the many teenagers he taught with great patience to drive his standard-shift 50's era Willis Jeep, to countless young men and women who sought his advice on any range of subjects, whether it be career, family, investments, or how to buy a house, plant a garden or make a souffle. For those who lost loved ones, he provided support and guidance to help them rebuild their lives. He never missed a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of those he loved, or to hold them up in challenging times. He lived his life an example to others, and as a servant-leader to all who knew him. One of Joel's greatest lessons to those who knew him was his resilience. He never dwelled on his losses - he adapted. As a single parent raising young teenagers he had many bases to cover, but he did not neglect his friends. In later life he once commented that the best investment he ever made was the investment of his time in relationships with people. In the last few years of his life, Joel lost the use of his legs. But rather than constricting his activities, he just focused more on what he could do. With the help of his devoted caregivers, he continued to host dinner parties for friends until a week before his death, he grew his own herbs, he planted his own vegetable garden, he directed the cooking in his kitchen, he sat and talked with his family and his friends, and the list goes on. He always had a project. He taught all of those around him how to live life to the fullest with what we have, and to move beyond what we have lost. Now in heaven, we know that Crazy Legs Williams is still using all that is available to him and we will live forever in awe of his legacy. In addition to his two beloved wives, Joel is predeceased by his parents, his brother Robert and wife Betty, his sister Mary Elizabeth Hinckley and husband Doug, his sister Francis Anderson and husband Weldon. He is survived by his four children, Joel T. Williams, III and wife Susan; Jan Graham and husband David; Linda Perryman Evans; and Lewis Perryman; and by his granddaughters Marguerite Graham; Lindsay Graham; Katie Walters and husband Nathan; Laura Chavoya and husband Brandon; and Jennifer Williams; and by seven great grandchildren. He will be missed by his brother- and sister-in-law, Jack and Gloria Hammack, numerous nieces and nephews, and many special friends including, Cathy Ganci, Nadine Anderson and many dear friends at Birchwood Farms Golf and Country Club in Harbor Springs, Michigan. The family wishes to thank Dr. Carrie Carter for compassionate care and Yezna Ayele, Fikerte Beshah, Pius Okath and Faith Odoyo for their loving support in recent years. A celebration of Joel's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 21, 2015 at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, 4124 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, TX 75219. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum, Park Cities Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made at

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Published in Dallas Morning News from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21, 2015.
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Memories & Condolences
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22 entries
August 30, 2015
For more than 10 years, Joel was part of our Saturday golf group at Birchwood. He was just fun to be with, to be in the company of someone who just enjoyed life and never complained about anything. We will miss Joel.
Ken Monroe
August 26, 2015
Joel was a great friend of my dad, Ray Bean, for many years through Camp Grady Spruce. He was also mayor of University Park when I had City Hall beat at the Park Cities News, and always treated me professionally even though he had known me since I was little. Dad respected and admired Joel, appreciated his sense of humor, and loved every minute that they spent on "boys' weekends" away. My sympathies to the family, with appreciation for an admirable life well lived.
Susan Bean Aycock
August 25, 2015
What a joy it was to know Joel Williams. Nobody told a story better, cooked a better brisket, or gave a better bear hug. My heartfelt sympathy to his loving family. I'm one of those people in the obit - one of the ones he helped and taught. Godspeed, my old friend.
Ann Ragsdale
August 23, 2015
Joel will be missed by young and old alike. He was an inspiration to all who knew him. I loved sitting with him as he related wonderful memories of his life. He loved life, family, friends and most of all The Lord.
Rest in peace, my friend!
Bill Hill
August 21, 2015
Our sympathy and condolences in the loss of Joel Williams; distinguished citizen of our community and generous civic servant. It was my privilege to have known him, to be associated with him and some of his civic work, and as a member of the Salesmanship Club. I was saddened by the report.

George R. Schrader
Former City Manager, City of Dallas
August 21, 2015
Joel and Betty Lu were part of our Birchwood Monday night golf group. So many fond memories of our times together. Joel hosted a " Texas BBQ" dinner for our group on August 10th. A very special night! I will always think of Joel when I make my biscotti.
He will be missed!
Bob and Marilyn Gault
August 20, 2015
We were deeply moved by the tribute to our friend Joel. What a blessing to have him as part of our lives. He was a loving friend to everyone. We know he is in the loving arms of the Lord. Joel we'll miss seeing you in the summer but you will never be forgotten.
Steve and Jane Horn
August 20, 2015
Sincere sympathy to Joel, Jan, and family. I have very fond memories of your father during our growing up years.
Sally Eddins Schneider
August 20, 2015
Joel was kind and generous, wise and humorous. He loved life and lived it to its fullest. I will always remember our times shared on the ranch and his support, knowledge of nature and witty humor. There was no "back up" in Mr. Williams. Failure was not an option. Joel stood strong, stood fast... with a "can do" attitude. He was an inspiration and his influence will always be remembered.
Eddie Baggs
August 20, 2015
My deepest sympathy to the family.
sylvia craddock
August 20, 2015
My sincere condolences

Yvonne Lowere
August 20, 2015
Joel was one of my favorite people I have ever known. I have always considered it a privilege that he thought we were friends.
Loved the guy!
Jody Lane
August 20, 2015
Joel was a key mentor while serving on the board of Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation. Even more importantly, he remained a friend for life: such a privilege! Whether visiting with him in Dallas or in Birchwood, you could count on two things: a tribute to the Lord and a story to make you laugh. Wise, compassionate, servant-leader! Thank you, Joel, for being in my life. Carol Burrow
August 19, 2015
Joel was an inspiration to all of us who had the privilege to have known him. He lived everyday as if it were his last.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they celebrate his amazing life.
Mike & Sue Moore
August 19, 2015
Joel was a true of Texas's finest. He will be missed by all of us.
Ima Williams
August 19, 2015
We moved next door to Joel about 10 years ago in the community of Birchwood Golf and Country Club in Michigan. The doorbell rang on evening and there was Joel with an apple pie welcoming us to the neighborhood and he made it himself! He was such a thoughtful person and a kind man.
Maryle and Darryl Barbe'
Maryle & Darryl Barbe'
August 19, 2015
Joel's life was an inspiration to all to keep on living every moment we are given!
Chuck and Carol Cooley
August 19, 2015
We are blessed to have known him, played and cooked with him and prayed with him.....a very special man.
Monica and Tom Crawford
August 19, 2015
I already knew that Joel was an amazing man, kind and full of grace. Until I read this tribute, I did not realize just how amazing he was. Well done, good a faithful servant. It was a privilege to have known him.
Priscilla Horn
August 19, 2015
With deepest heartfelt sympathy, Mike and Dixie BURKHOLDER.
August 19, 2015
A life well lived! We will dearly miss our friend Joel. He will shine in his heavenly home.
Hamlet and Dianne Newsom
August 19, 2015
There are not enough words to describe this incredible man. What a gift he was to us all.
Arch and Clare Pardue
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