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Obituary for Claude Williams Jr.

Claude  Williams Jr.
Claude Williams, Jr., 1290 Crystal Hills Drive, Athens, passed away peacefully at home, January 20, 2018.
Longtime civic leader and dynamic founder of numerous successful businesses, Claude was born November 5, 1922 in Tifton, Georgia to the late Mary Nix and Claude Williams, Sr. He grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, graduated from Gainesville High in 1940, North Georgia College in 1942 and the University of Georgia in 1944, with an AB degree.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant after officer training at Fort Benning, he served in the European Theatre, where he received the Purple Heart, Bronze and Silver Stars, a presidential unit citation with two Battle Stars and in 2013 was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal. He was honorably discharged as a Captain, Infantry in 1946 and returned to the University of Georgia to earn a Journalism degree in 1948.
In 1947 he married Charlotte Leverett of Gainesville. He then co-founded Radio Station WRFC, becoming Sales Manager and Sports Director. He later founded radio stations in Cornelia, Monroe, and Sandersville, GA.
Claude and Charlotte, with their two young children, moved to Gainesville in 1951 where Claude worked with Charlotte’s father’s Ford dealership. After O. B. Leverett’s death in 1952, Claude became general manager. He also became a director of The Citizens Bank, a Rotarian, president of Jaycees and the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, and was named Gainesville’s Young Man of the Year.
Returning with his family to Athens in 1958, he founded Williams and Company Advertising and developed The Advertiser, a weekly that became the Athens Daily News. In 1964 he founded Georgia Outdoor Advertising. Following the sale of Georgia Outdoor in 1986, the Williams family formed a partnership with George Allison to purchase Allison Outdoor Advertising in Sylva, N.C. The partnership continues.
He became a director of First American Bank in 1981. In 1988 he became one of the organizers and chairman of the board of Georgia National Bank from 1988 to 1998. In 2000 he was one of the organizers and served as a director of The National Bank of Georgia, retiring from the board in 2007.
He shared his business skills and enthusiasm with numerous organizations. These include the Athens Chamber of Commerce as president from 1980-1982, Athens Business Council, Athens Rotary Club, Athens Regional Medical Center Development Council, the first Boys Club board, Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council, The Champions Foundation, the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame, and Foundations of the University of Georgia and North Georgia College. The Heart Association cited his “meritorious service in the fight against heart disease”.
Deacon Emeritus, First Baptist Church, he was a charter member of the Athens Country Club, founding member of Jennings Mill Country Club, Gridiron Secret Society, Athens Touchdown Club, Monday Quarterback Club, The Old Men’s Lunch Club, and former member of the Highlands Country Club, the Wade Hampton Golf Club and The Chattooga Club in Highlands and Cashiers, NC.
Mr. Williams was preceded in death by his loving wife of 70 years, Charlotte Leverett Williams, his parents, Claude Williams, Sr. and Mary Nix Williams, his sister Mary Nix “Nickey” Sellers, and his nephew Dr. Allan Tucker.
He is survived by his son Dr. R. Sanders “Sandy” Williams (Jennifer), San Francisco, CA; daughter Lynn Dicks (Dr. R. E. “Happy” Dicks, III), Athens; grandchildren Alec Dicks (Sharon), Atlanta, Claude Dicks (Carla), Asheville, NC, Spencer Dicks (Kristen), Durham, NC, Molly Pugh (Bill), Alexandria, VA, Nicholas Williams (Kate), Durham, NC, Owen Williams, Pullman, WA and great-grandchildren Maggie, Charlotte, Tad, Thomas, Robert, Everett and Lila Dicks, Meredith and Alwen Pugh, and Uma Williams; nephews Chip and Scott Sellers, Dalton, GA, David Tucker, Lawrenceville, GA, and niece Susan Sellers Patterson, Dalton, GA.
The Williams family offers their sincere gratitude to Debbie Jones and Angela Barnett for their many years of faithful service. We are also thankful for Care to Continue and Compassionate Care Hospice for their assistance.
A service in memory of Claude will be conducted by Dr. Paul Baxley at First Baptist Church, Athens, GA at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 26 with a reception and visitation in Fellowship Hall immediately following the service. Interment will follow at 3:30 pm at Alta Vista Cemetery, 521 Jones Street, Gainesville, GA.
Batts & Bridges Funeral Home, 3035 Atlanta Highway, is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church, Williams Ministers Education Fund, 355 Pulaski Street, Athens, GA 30601

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