Milam Funeral and Cremation Services
311 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL
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
Endowment Fund
(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
311 S. Main Street. (352) 376-5361.

Published by Gainesville Sun from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8, 2016.
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19 Entries
I knew this was coming as Brent had confided in me two years ago that this was his next chapter and I would not be seeing him at Rotary functions in Evanston. But, to learn he has left us still creates that hollow space.

I knew Brent for 38 years and he was one of the most genuine and competent guys I knew in the public broadcasting village. Then in retirement we both shared our love for Rotary and its work across the world. Brent was highly regarded in the top ranks of Rotary International and his club, district and Zone are all the poorer with his passing.

I can hear his laugh now.

Mac Wall
Lexington, KY
February 17, 2016
Mike and I are sorry to hear of Brent's passing. He was truly a good person and wonderful colleague.
Lyn and Mike Seymour
February 13, 2016
Brent was one of the best staff persons I had when I became GM in 1977. He was always positive and a great connection to the community. He had more energy than most everyone and there was hardly a greater supporter of public broadcasting. I enjoyed his company and was so glad to see him progress with the station and in service to Gainesville. My sympathies to his family. I did not know of his condition and thought it strange that there were no responses to my emails or calls to him. Now I know and am so sorry for the loss of Brent to so many who knew and loved him. Joanne also sends along her sympathies. Take care.
David & Joanne Brugger
February 13, 2016
Brent was great guy to be around in high school. Every time he smiled, I smiled. That was just one of his gifts. He was one of few guys I knew who put everybody at ease just by walking in the room. My heart goes out to you, his family and friends. Life is short. Brent gave it depth.
February 12, 2016
Naomi, Pat and I just learned and were saddened to hear of Brent's passing. We immediately bonded as training leaders at the International Assembly, and I always looked forward to the times we would share our love for broadcasting and Rotary. We wish we could be with you at this difficult time, but know our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Mark Kriebel
February 11, 2016
Brent was a wonderful man with a great heart, a lifting spirit, and caring soul. He has earned his spot in Heaven, and left a great mark on this Earth to never be forgotten. My love and prayers go out to his daughter Catherine, her husband John, and to all of Brent's family and friends.
Maris Nilon
February 10, 2016
Brent was one of the finest Rotarians I have ever know. I truly enjoyed working with him and calling him a friend. I will never forget the effort he went through to introduce me at the 2015 Rotary Institute on November 21, 2014 in Asheville, NC. Thank you Brent. I will truly miss you!
Greg Podd
February 8, 2016
My family and I are so blessed that we shared many happy times with Brent and Naomi through the years-they both truly are and always will be my favorite cousins- I love you Brent, Marsha
February 4, 2016
How fun it is for me to read about Brent after so many years ago as High School classmates at Terry Parker. Those of you who were not lucky enough to know Brent when he was known as a school leader for the class of 1969, should know, this man was always destined to lead. Brent knew how to laugh. I suspect this played a major role in all of Brent's accomplishments, big or small. I will forever remember Brent for how he treated people. God knows.
Jim Malinka
January 29, 2016
One of my favorite people! It was an honor to work with Brent at UF. I will always remember how kind and compassionate he was. You will be missed, my friend!
Candi Crimmins
January 28, 2016
Gainesville and the world has lost a great man...one whose legacy that will live on.

Our deepest condolences to your loved ones.

Irena & Mike Melvin and Sons
The Melvins
January 28, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with Brent's family and friends at this time. I am glad I had the privilege of knowing Brent for so many years.
Vernon McDaniell
January 28, 2016
There is no question that my life today would be drastically different if it weren't for Brent. I treasure his memory, and send my thoughts to the family.
Gillian Lord Ward
January 28, 2016
Naomi, our hearts go out to you and your family. Sincerest condolences.
Michelle and Chris Ott
January 27, 2016
I am so sorry to hear this. I worked with Brent for many years at the University of Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with Naomi and the family.
Kris Pagenkopf
January 27, 2016
I am very sorry to learn of Brent's passing. He will be missed by so many. Naomi thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
Rod Canon
Lake Mary, Florida
Rod Canon
January 27, 2016
Brent, I will miss you very much. You were a very kind and gentle man. We had so much fun playing golf. The bantering and your fabulous sense of humor will never be forgotten.
Gary Munsterman
January 27, 2016
Of all my friends that I have met through Rotary International, Brent Williams was the most rewarding. I served as a member of Zone 34 Foundation Team during the three years that Brent held his position as Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator. I was fortunate to have Brent's recommendation to follow him in this Zone 34 RRFC position. I had the great opportunity to learn Brent's leadership style and enjoyed his frequent visits to Savannah, GA where he would stay overnight in my home. Brent will be greatly missed but I know the love shared between the two of us will continue forever. Beth and I send our deepest sympathy to Naomi and his family.
Kenan Kern
January 27, 2016
I'm very saddened to learn of Brent's passing. I became acquainted with him during Catherine's school years. He embodied every wonderful trait mentioned in his obituary. May God comfort and bless all his many friends and family.
Linda Preston
January 27, 2016
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