James Earl Williams, D.D.S., 78, of Katy, Texas died on Feb. 7, 2009.
He was born on June 27, 1930, to Archie Campbell and Emma Register Williams in West Columbia, Texas.
He moved to Tomball, Texas in 1933 and graduated from Tomball High School in 1948. Jim attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas before serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
In 1955 he graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Jim graduated from the University of Texas Dental School, where he was a member of Psi Omega Fraternity, in 1959.
On Dec. 22, 1956, he married his college sweetheart, Patsy Ginn Williams, who survives him, as well as their two daughters, two sons and nine grandchildren: Laura, husband Randy Williams and children Scott, Kyle and Grant; Clay, wife Jenny and children Hannah, Libby and Sam; Brad, wife Michelle and children Garrett, Cole and Lauren; Leslie and husband Luis Cerezo; and his sister Madeline Little.
Dr. Williams established his practice as a young dentist in the farming community of Katy in 1961.
As the only dentist in a small town, he found himself sharing ideas and opinions on education with his patients, winning the confidence and friendship of his new neighbors with his easy laugh and abundant common sense.
They asked him to run for the local school board when a position opened. With four children headed to Katy schools, and a blossoming passion for the mission of public education, he obliged, joining the board of trustees of a rural school district with five schools and 1,000 students.
Dr. Williams served as a Katy ISD trustee from 1967-1985 and 1988-1994, including nine terms as board president.
During his tenure he guided the district’s evolution from a quiet, rural farming community to a rapidly growing suburban district known for the extraordinary educational opportunities it provides its students.
He served as trustee during unprecedented demographic growth throughout the 1970s, through the recession of the 1980s when property values and tax receipts plummeted, and again in the 1990s as building and economic growth resumed.
Through this turbulent period, which included the racial integration of public schools in Katy, Dr. Williams was a rudder the community called upon to safely steer the district toward the 21st century – a destination that now sees the district successfully educating more than 53,000 students in 47 schools.
His service was a labor of love, grounded in his conviction of the power of public education to benefit his community.
In the spring of 2000, the Board of Trustees named its 18th elementary school in his honor, James E. Williams Elementary School.
Fridays became Dr. Williams’ favorite day because that’s when he and Patsy volunteered at the greeter’s desk, ate lunch with the children and autographed their Williams Elementary Wrangler’s T-shirts.
Jim and Patsy were both honored with a Sunshine Award by KPRC-TV in 2004 for their dedication to all the wonderful children they came to know and love through their service.
Jim Williams’ service to the Katy community extended beyond education. He helped establish the Katy Chamber of Commerce and served as president.
He held offices in the Katy Rotary Club, including serving as its president. He was president of the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards.
Dr. Williams served on the board of the Waller County Appraisal District and was an honorary member of the Katy FFA. He also was on the Board of Directors of Texas Commerce Bank, Katy.
As a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church of Katy for 47 years Jim served as Sunday School teacher, Finance Committee Chairman, and Chairman of the Board of Stewards.
Having grown up in the Tomball Humble Oil camp, he was also a lifelong member of the Tomball Oil Patch Kids.
He was a great outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping, but his greatest joy was his family.
Time spent with his children and grandchildren brought his greatest pleasure and the memories of his love for us will never be forgotten. We will miss you dearly, Dad.
The family will be forever grateful for the doctors, nurses and staff at Hermann Memorial Katy Hospital, Apex Long Term Acute Care, and Katy Rehabilitation Hospital, who were so caring and respectful of our husband and father.
The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Schmidt Funeral Home Chapel, in Katy. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the First United Methodist Church, in Katy, with Rev. Marlin Fenn and Rev. Judy Tefteller officiating. Interment will be in Katy Magnolia Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons Scott, Kyle, Grant and Garrett Williams, and great nephews, Ross and Austin Tefteller.
Honorary pallbearers are Gordon Brown, Gene Cullins, Harry Dolan, Joe Hegar, Wesley Nelson, Quay Nicklow, Lester Swanson, Buddy Ross, Dr. E.H. Longhi and members of the Southwestern University Chicken Fried Steak Club.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Katy First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 925, Katy, Texas 77493 or to Houston Area Parkinson Society, 2700 Southwest Freeway #296, Houston, Texas 77098.
Funeral services were held under the direction of Schmidt Funeral Home, 1508 East Ave., Katy, Texas 77493, 281-391-2424.