SAMUEL WILLIAMS OBITUARY
Samuel Sykes Williams
February 14, 1935 – July 23, 2022
Charlotte, North Carolina – If only love could save us, we might never die. If tears, softly falling, were rain upon furrowed fields, waiting for rain.
We know there will be death in all of our futures, but we turn away, time after time. We turn away until the truth of it is brought home to us, one by one, or two by two; few die without taking those who’ve loved them tenderly for a lifetime; they take us with them.
Not a wise woman, I cry out for him to take me with you. Truly a part of me when he is gone will go with him. Off for somewhere out of sight but never out of mind.
If only love could save us, he’d never leave me, but love can only warm my heart, when he can no longer hold me.
Husband of Sherry S. Williams, together 43 years. Father of Kelly W. Reeves (John), Samuel S. Williams, Jr., and Emilie A. Guyton (Rob). Grandfather of Sarah Ashley Reeves, John Samuel Reeves (Taylor), Harrison Alexander Reeves, Amelia Grace Reeves, Samuel Sykes Williams III, Isabel Markman Williams, Sophia Kate Williams, Wade Ansel Williams; William Cole Guyton, Hallie Elizabeth Guyton and Robert Benjamin Guyton, all of whom love him dearly.
87 when he died, Sam had a good life. He was born in Durham NC to Lloyd P. Williams and Charlotte Markman Williams, they moved to Charlotte just in time for Sam to go to Myers Park Traditional Elementary, handy because his family lived almost next door. He loved learning right from the start. He was the paper boy of his neighborhood, always an early riser.
Sam and his oldest friend, Patrick Hunter, rode their bikes all over the place. Sam was almost killed when he slipped in loose gravel and slid under a huge 18 wheeler, but luckily emerged on the other side, unscathed. Pat and Sam continued their friendship, all of their lives.
He attended Alexander Graham Middle School, when it was on McDowell Street, then, Central High School where Knowledge is Power is emblazoned on the cornice, before it became Central Piedmont Community College.
Sam went on to Princeton University, where he excelled. His love of the University, the Ivy Club, the Glee Club, Tennis, Basketball (until he broke his wrist, and could no longer play). Always friendly he made many friends, and enjoyed the experience immensely. Albert Eienstein taught at Princeton while Sam was there. He’d often see him as both walked most everywhere they went on campus and in town.
After Princeton, he served in the Army, married Emilie Armstrong and they were off to the University of North Carolina, Chapel HIll, for his law degree.
After Law School, in 1961, moved back to Charlotte, their two children were born, and he began his practice of law which lasted for over 50 years.
Sam loved all of his family. He had many friends. He was a charter member of Olde Providence Racquet Club, he loved tennis, the lasting friends made on the courts. Sam loved music, he joined the choir at Myers Park Baptist Church where he attended rehersals, on Thursday nights, and Church on Sunday, singing in his lovely tenor voice for 50+ years. He enjoyed reading, fishing, dogs, long walks with Sherry and their pups. He enjoyed playing cards.
They played Bridge and Gin, especially during Covid, when two people were enough; rarely, Sherry won. Sam was a runner. He began running in the 70s, he trained for and ran the first Charlotte Marathon. Over time he completed 10 marathons. He’d rise early, walk the dog(s), go out for a 5 mile run, after breakfast, he and Sherry would go to the office and work together. Sometimes, if a marathon were coming up, he’d run home from their office. He ran the Chicago Marathon, Smokey Mt., Atlanta, etc. It was a full life.
Sam and Sherry enjoyed travel, gardening, turning what passed for grass into a garden, with a stream, a pond, home for Koi, and many, many flower beds, pea gravel paths, signature rocks, with help from a couple of local grandsons and sometimes their dad. Sam and Sherry were together 24/7 for 43 years. They loved each other, the children, the 7 dogs they had over time, the two formerly feral cats, that came to love them. Every trip was an adventure, were it not for working and taking care of their animals, they’d have done far more of it.
Suppose you’ve guessed, that it is I, Sherry, telling his story. I am writing this before he goes, so he can read it, so I can look into his hazel eyes, and see the love there reflecting all that he sees when he looks into mine.
If love could save him, he’d still be with me.
Published by Charlotte Observer on Jul. 31, 2022.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
FOR SAMUEL WILLIAMS
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Sherry, that really is a beautiful obituary. Peggy and I are so sorry for your loss.
February 23, 2023
Thank you. All who called, wrote cards and letters, and held us in your thoughts and prayers. All of us who loved him, appreciate your kindness, remembering who he was to you. He was my best friend, my teacher in many things, confidant, role model for children and grandchildren and he brought gentle to go in front of man. Four months have passed. . . He lives in my heart.
November 23, 2022
It all began in Everett’s pond.
I meet Sam bass fishing in a small pond tucked away in Waxhaw. There, I also meet Sammy and Ms. Cricket learning at art of fishing.
From there Sam invited me to join him and his friend Durwood to fish at the Outerbanks. We ended up on Davis Island. We caught gray trout all day and the top of my feet took in way too much sun.
Sam and Durwood commenced to sing sacred hymns. I joined in; however, they shared with me that I wasn´t of any added value – you can´t sing was their consensus.
As many know Sam, he wasn´t one to leave matters along. Soon I got a call from Sam saying he had made an appointment to meet George Lynn, guest Music Director at MPBC. George agreed to provide me with voice training on Monday evenings at 5 p.m. George agreed to take another student, Rhonda, a teenager neighbor with a spectacular voice and talent. Rhonda went on to study music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, The alma mater of George Lyn and Alice Berman.
When George left his post at MPBC he introduced me and Rhonda to Alice Berman, then retired. We had beautiful relationship for almost twenty years.
That OBX fishing trip produced many new loves in my life – Rhonda, Ms. Berman, OBX surf fishing (still going every year), choral music (still singing) and of course Sam.
It was the most productive fishing venture I ever took.
Thanks Sam. See you at choir practice before you know it.
October 20, 2022
R. Ellen Steed
August 19, 2022
We were so touched by your tribute to Sam, Sherry. He was a very special man across the board. He was kind, honest, and always interesting. He absolutely adored you, Sherry. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.
Mary Covington Rymer
August 5, 2022
Sam was our family lawyer. My father thought the world of him. Always spoke about the two of you with fondness and respect. He will be missed. My prayers are with you and your family. Sarah Covington
August 3, 2022
Thank you for your beautiful memorial to Sam. He was a wonderful human being and one of the best “creators of community” we have ever met. He engaged everyone he encountered in a friendly way and was interested in all things–people, ideas, animals, plants, the environment, and most of all–justice. The world is a better place for his having been here and we will miss him. We send Love and feel for your loss. Lane and Nancy Lasater
Lane and Nancy Lasater
August 3, 2022
Sherry, what beautiful things to say about the one you loved and the love he obviously had for you.
You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers