GORDON R. WILLIAMSON, age 92, of Farmington, CT, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 24, 2020. Left to cherish his memory are three daughters - Nancy Crofton (Bill), Linda Terry (Larry) and Janet Knese (Rich); stepchildren Susan Carr (Raegan), Joy Stetler, and David Stetler; 8 grandchildren, 3 stepgrandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, who lovingly know him as "Papa." Born in Fairhope, AL, Gordon had humble beginnings. An amazing card trick he was taught at age 6 by a drifter in exchange for food during the Depression served him well his entire life. Gordon was a veteran of the US Navy, a University of Miami graduate, Sigma Chi brother and lifelong member of the Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami. He was married to Betty June Brown Williamson from 1952 until her passing in 1986, then to Linda Calkin Stetler Williamson from 1987 until her passing in 2012. Gordon had one younger sister, Norma, whom he eloquently eulogized at her passing in 2017. IBM was his first and only career path; he began in the sales division in Tampa, FL in 1951 and retired in 1986. In 1955, Gordon was promoted from the domestic side of IBM to IBM World Trade Corporation. He moved his family to New York and went to work at the new headquarters at United Nations Plaza in New York City. Gordon ascended the corporate ladder, serving as Area Manager-Asia Pacific when the family moved to Tokyo, Japan where they resided from 1963 - 1966. This is where he and Betty developed a love for antiques, dishes, and jewelry, especially pearls! A promotion to Marketing Director took the Williamsons back to Greenwich, CT for one year, followed by a move to Paris, France in 1967 – 1972, where Gordon was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of IBM Europe. Thanks to Air France, he discovered Hermes silk scarves and thus began years of collecting them. After IBM World Trade was forced by anti-trust litigation to break up into two companies, Gordon was sent back to New York in 1972, where he served first as Vice President, and then as President of the newly formed IBM World Trade Americas/Far East Corporation. This took the Williamson "party of five" back to their beloved Greenwich home. Decades of upper management IBM positions took Gordon to all 7 continents and 130 countries! Gordon had friends literally around the world. In the foreword of his book, Memoirs of My Years with IBM, he writes: "My IBM career was a glorious and remarkable trip on the road of life and I am most appreciative and grateful." He welcomed people from around the world into his family's home and always regaled his guests with colorful stories. Gordon enjoyed sports of all kinds – golf, tennis, squash, skiing, swimming. In 1988, he and Linda moved to Sarasota where they spent 24 happy years in a busy retirement, entertaining a steady stream of family and guests. Theater, music, church work, bridge and travel plans filled his hours. He especially loved the individual trips he took with each of his grandchildren. Anyone who knew "GRW" will remember him as a most remarkable man. The family will honor him privately.
Published by Hartford Courant on May 27, 2020.