J.D. Williams was responsible for many of Somerville’s firsts.
The former mayor of the 700-person town, who served 42 years, had a hand in forming the town’s police and fire departments, library and Brewer High School.
Williams died at his home on Christmas Eve. He was 86.
His family described him as a man who was loved, and who loved the town he grew up in.
“He was raised a farmer, like a lot of people out here, and he fell in love with Somerville,” his son, Lonnie Williams, said.
The former mayor’s family said he took pride in recruiting and overseeing the training of the town’s police officers, often hiring young officers with little or no experience.
“He made sure they walked the chalk line close,” J.D. Williams’ wife, Sally Williams, said Christmas Day while chuckling a little.
She said two officers came by to offer condolences almost immediately after his death.
“One of them was listening to the scanner and heard the ambulance call,” she said. “He said to himself, ‘I know that address.’ ”
Sally Williams worked with her husband as the town’s city clerk for 46 years.
“I think some wanted to call me the boss, but I wasn’t,” she joked.
J.D. Williams was a city councilmen under two mayors until one of them moved away.
“The council appointed J.D. interim mayor, and he stayed mayor for 42 years,” Sally Williams said. He only had two opponents, “and he won out over each,” she said.
Williams was a member of many civic organizations, including a seat on the Morgan County Economic Development Board. He was recognized at Thanksgiving by Masonic Lodge 721 in Somerville for being a member for 60 years.
Williams’ funeral will be Thursday at Somerville Church of God. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the funeral at 3 p.m.
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