George R. Willliams (Sept 29, 1929 – Feb 24, 2013) Passed away at the age of 83 in San Francisco. With him at his bedside, were his only grandson Casey, and our dear family friend, Jordan Ward. George was born on September 29, 1929 in Highland Park, Michigan. He had a twin sister Mary, who was born first, but unfortunately arrived into the world outside on the steps of the hospital. George always said that he kicked her out, because he preferred to be born in the comfort of the hospital.
At the age of fourteen, he and his family moved to Cygnet, Ohio. His mother taught school, and sometimes he and his siblings were students in her class. With a common last name of Williams, most of their peers hadn’t a clue that she was their mother, as well as their teacher. After graduating from Cygnet High School in 1948, George held various jobs, including working on the Ohio Pipeline and constructing the Ohio Turnpike. He joined the United States Air Force in 1951 during the Korean War, and was trained as an airplane mechanic. After honorable discharge from the Air Force, he entered a five year apprenticeship program in the printing industry. He married Hilda Semler on September 15, 1956. From 1959 to 1964, he was a machinist with the Toledo Blade. During this time, they were blessed with their four children. Always the adventurer, the family spent 3 1/2 months traveling the U.S., where they settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. In July of 1965, he began his nearly 30 year career with the San Francisco Chronicle. Never one to sit still, George became involved with numerous volunteer organizations, as well as being active with the United Farm Workers, protesting the war in Vietnam, and working diligently to get the Glide Food program off the ground.
George never met a stranger, nor turned his back on anyone in need. Giving back to the community was a priority with him; his 60 plus years as a blood donor is evidence of that. For his continuous efforts in working for the senior community, the SF Board of Supervisors in 1996 honored him by declaring October 10th “George Williams Day” in San Francisco. He was a proud member of the International Typographical Union, Local 21.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Hilda B. (Semler) Williams of 46 years, his only son, Roger R. Williams, his brother, Nelson Williams, and his twin sister, Mary Counterman. He is survived by his daughters, Ann Williams (Kimio), of Yokosuka, Japan, Rosemary, of San Francisco, CA and Nancy, of Pinole, CA, his grandson, Casey Nakazawa Williams , of Yokosuka, Japan, his brother Paul (Virginia), of Fostoria, Ohio, his sister Martha Williams, of Washington, D.C., friend, Jordan Ward, and many nieces and nephews.
Feeding the hungry was very important to George; the family requests that any donations be made to the San Francisco Food Bank (sffoodbank.org) in his honor. A memorial service will be held on Sat. March 2, 3:30 -6 p.m. at St. Mark’s Heritage Hall, 1111 O’Farrell, St., San Francisco.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on February 28, 2013