Richard “Dick” Williams ’57, 1930-2010
Extraordinary Athlete and Alumnus
A lifelong resident of Central Florida, Dick Williams died August 6, 2010. Throughout his life, Dick excelled at everything he did and made public service his central mission. According to his family, “All who knew him remember him as an inspiration and a Christian man with a positive outlook, who lived his faith in word and deed. His friends and neighbors referred to him as a ‘gentleman,’ who never had an unkind word to say about anyone.”
Dick graduated from Winter Park High School in 1948, where he was an All-Conference quarterback and also lettered in baseball and basketball. He was named to the Winter Park High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. Dick enrolled in Rollins College in 1950, but left that same year to join the U.S. Air Force Air Reconnaissance Unit, serving in the Korean War. He returned to the College in 1954, joining the X-Club and playing baseball under the late Joe Justice. “Joe and baseball. That’s where my love lies for the school,” he once said.
It was at Rollins that Dick met the love of his life, Lamar Harper Wisley Williams ’56, whom he married after her graduation. The Williamses were truly a legacy family: Lamar’s mother, Carrie A. Lamar Harper ’15, attended Rollins (a scholarship in her memory was established by Lamar to support female athletes), as did Dick and Lamar’s granddaughter, Sarah Gillio ’06.
After earning a BA in humanities from Rollins and an MA in physical education from the University of Florida, Dick launched a career teaching history and coaching football and track for Central Florida high schools. In 1966, he was named “Track Coach of the Year” after leading the Seminole High School track team to the school’s first-ever state championship in any sport.
Dick left teaching to serve on the Seminole County Commission from 1972-80. He advocated careful urban planning at a time of tremendous population growth and led the adoption of the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. In 1980, he established Dick Williams Homes in Longwood, which several times won a Parade of Homes Award from the Home Builders Association of Central Florida.
Dick spent much of his free time giving back to the community. He served on the Board of the Seminole County Chapter of the Salvation Army, was a member of the Jaycees, and in later years worked with Fresh Start Ministries of Orlando. On behalf of Rollins, he served on the Alumni Board (1997-1999), acted as a Rollins Fund Class Agent (1992), and worked on the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame Committee and the Tar Booster Executive Committee. He is also a former commissioner of the Rollins Baseball Alumni Association.