Earl L. Williams was an extraordinary man, whose bright smile, robust laughter and generous spirit lifted the heart and soul of every person he met. He is the original “pay it forward” man; the quintessential volunteer’s volunteer and the guardian angel for so many others. Just think about his long and outstanding service to his beloved Lions Club. I know that he held their mission: “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs” very close to his heart. He lived it every day, never turning away from an opportunity to serve as a mentor or collaborator to help his family, friends, coworkers and/or those in need of a helping and supportive hand .
I worked with Earl for some 25 years. He used to say that he could tell my mood just by hearing how I walked into the office. I believed him. Twenty-five years is a long time, and we shared a life time of experiences. We laughed, cried and rejoiced together. Our Panamanian roots were always fodder for bonding and how he delighted to speak with both my mother and father about their querida Panama!
Earl was a renaissance man as well. He was constantly reinventing himself. He loved to learn. Always taking classes, achieving certifications and embracing technology when some, like me, were running away from it! When our office developed a computer lab, Earl was the first to dive into the design and development of the lab. He became our office techie, a role he relished. He would start talking the lingo of techies and my eyes would just gloss over and he would start over again, ever so patient, to help me understand the intricacies of the equipment. Earl served as the Master Instructor of the Lab! A role he loved.
Earl was a terrific colleague, a fabulous friend and a true gift to the community where we worked. He leaves a legacy of good works in Spring Creek Towers, aka Starrett City: if I try to list them all I know I will leave out some, but I must share with you his exceptional role in the development of the Starrett City Judo Club. Along with Margaret Novack, and Sensei Parnel Legros, Earl transformed an afterschool program into an internationally recognized judo club with several of the world’s most outstanding judoists. He became a master at understanding the intricate details of judo. His love for the children of the Spring Creek Towers community and his desire to bring judo to the community will never be forgotten. Upon Earl’s retirement in 2012, Earl was presented with an honorary black belt by the club. It was a glorious and heartfelt presentation.
Earl was a trusted friend. A pillar of strength and compassion, and dear to all of us in the Office of Public Affairs and Community Relations. During the past year, as many of you know, we lost two beloved colleagues, Agnes Green and Margaret Novack. I can only imagine the reunion that is going on upstairs in the heavenly Office of Public Affairs and Community Relations. And, if they didn’t have one before, they sure do have one now. Oh the plans those three are developing! Earl has his planning buddy Margaret at his side and Agnes is taking pictures and writing up the media releases!
Earl I have missed you and will continue to do so. Rest in peace my friend.