|James Bradley Williams was born March 10, 1930, the second of three children to Don and Ruby Williams in Galesburg. Brad, as he came to be known throughout his life was raised in Galesburg and attended grade school, jr and senior high school as well as college there. He earned a Bachelorís degree from Knox College. Throughout much of its history, Galesburg has been inextricably tied to the railroad industry and Brad was an avid railroad enthusiast. After leaving Galesburg, Brad moved to Denver Colorado where he earned his Masters Degree from University of Denver and married Georgene Bailey and together had three children, Margo, James Jr. and Tracy. Later, Brad married Susan Scarboro and together they relocated to eastern Pennsylvania, first to Morrisville, PA and later to Yardley, PA where they resided until Susanís premature death in 1994. He remained in PA until 2006 when a stroke left him unable to care for himself. In 2006 Brad moved to Portland Oregon to be closer to his daughters during his rehabilitation.
Brad was employed as an educator, educational advocate, deputy sheriff and as a senior administrator for the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the United Presbyterian Church and the University of Pennsylvania. At ETS, Brad worked for the GRE Program as an Associate Program Director. He was responsible for minority programs, and, in general, enhancing sensitivity to cultural differences in standardized testing. He was a strong advocate for the interests of all minority students, particularly in test construction. He was recruited for the position of Director of Employee Relations in l973óthe first person ever to hold that position in the company. In this role, he again was an advocate, this time on behalf of all employees-- from the supervisory-staff level to the level of corporate decision making and his mission was to assure that employees were treated fairly and equitably. He later acquired the position of Director of Personnel. After leaving ETS, Brad worked for the University of Pennsylvania and the United Presbyterian Church in personnel and policy making positions.
Brad was also a tireless community servant working on behalf of children as a board member for the Mercer Street Friends and on the board of trustees for the Village Charter School from 1990 - 2005.
Brad was an avid traveler and made many exciting journeys around the world and in the United States. Brad visited all 50 states including an exciting river rafting trip on the Tatshshenin and Alek rivers in Alaska and journeyed to exotic ports including China, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Morocco, Viet Nam, Cambodia and many more during his life. He shared these happy experiences with loved ones and friends along the way.
In addition to extensive travelling, Brad was a music and arts enthusiast. He played the saxophone and became a radio deejay in his early years which would help finance his years in college and later a jazz aficionado, lover of symphonic music and patron of the theatre. Brad spent many hours accompanying friends and family to plays in New York City.
Brad had an infectious laugh and was always the life of the party. Despite his immobility and his inability to speak after his stroke in 2006, that larger than life personality was not diminished. Sadly, he was called home to be the Lord, July 3, 2013. He was loved by many and will be missed by people from coast to coast.
Brad is survived by his children, Margo Williams, James Bradley Williams Jr. and Tracy Williams-Murphy, brother Don Williams Jr., brothers-in-law, Art Durst, James Scarboro, Pat Scarboro, sisters-in-law, Ann Scarboro, Susan Scarboro and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. He is predeceased by wife Susan Williams, sister, Janet Durst, and parents, Don and Ruby Williams. Brad was a true friend and will be forever missed.
Viewing and graveside services will be held at Watson Thomas funeral home located at 1849 N. Seminary St., Galesburg, IL on Friday July 26, 2013. Viewing at Watson Thomas from 10:30am-11:30am with graveside services to follow at 12 p.m. at East Linwood Cemetery.