WILLIAMS, DANIEL BRENT
Daniel Brent Williams passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 23rd at the E.T. York Care Center at Haven Hospice after a long and courageous battle with ALS. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Naomi, his daughters Catherine Nilon (John) and Jarett Forkner (Jared), his grandchildren Jack and Jane, sisters Macie White and Amanda Mae Sargent, and several nieces and nephews.
Born December 2nd, 1951, Brent spent the majority of his childhood in Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Gainesville in 1969 to attend the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting, followed by a Masters degree in Journalism and Communications. After college, Brent worked for WUFT-TV Channel 5 and WUFT-FM Classic 89 and Nature Coast 90, Gainesville's public television and radio stations. During his 37-year career, Brent served most of his time as the Director of Development and Community Relations. His primary roles and responsibilities were focused around fundraising, where he put his gregarious personality and distinctive voice to good use during on-air pledge drives. He was also instrumental in the success of membership renewals, corporate support and planned giving commitments for the stations. Brent retired in 2011 from public broadcasting, having devoted himself to the industry for over three decades.
In 1989 Brent was introduced to the world of Rotary International, the largest service organization in the world, and a new passion began. He rose through the ranks of leadership by holding numerous positions at the local, district, national and international levels. Some of those positions included Club President of the Rotary Club of Gainesville (2002-2003), Governor of Rotary International for District 6970 (2006-2007), and Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator (2010-2013). He also served as a member of the Fund Development Committee of the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation, Representative to the Council on Legislation, Rotary International Director Nominating Committee, as well as Training Leader and Future Vision Trainer at both the 2012 and 2013 International Assembly, preparing incoming District Governors around the world for their responsibilities during the coming year.
Among the many awards and accolades Brent received throughout his professional and Rotary career, two that he was especially proud of were the E.T. and Vam York Service Above Self Award presented by the Rotary Club of Gainesville, and the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation.
Brent was a loving husband, a wonderful father, a caring brother and a loyal friend. He truly embodied Rotary's motto of 'Service Above Self', through his volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others. In his free time he enjoyed traveling, Gator sports (particularly volleyball), playing golf, exploring national parks, working in the yard, and meeting his friends each week for Sunday morning breakfast at 43rd Street Deli. While it is impossible to sum up the magnitude of this incredible man, simply put, he loved and was loved abundantly. He touched so many lives and left a lasting impact on everyone he knew.
The Williams family would like to thank the staffs of Comfort Keepers and Haven Hospice for their compassionate and sincere care. Betty Taylor, you helped make the unbearable bearable, and we're forever grateful for your kindness and service. We also wish to thank Brent's army of friends who through their love and dedication made sure that his positive attitude, infectious personality, and his gentle spirit never changed despite the challenges he faced. You are the most incredibly kind and big-hearted group of people we have ever known, and we love you.
A celebration of life will be held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL 32607, on Thursday, February 11th at 11am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donations to be made to:
The PDG D. Brent and Naomi R. Williams
(Gift ID: E11168)
Checks should include the Gift ID# and mailed to:
Karena Bierman, Gift Planning
The Rotary Foundation
1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
Arrangements are under the care of
MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES
311 S. Main Street. (352) 376-5361.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8, 2016.