From Sam's 1st Kershaw Trip


The above picture was taken when Sam was around 2 weeks old and we traveled to Kershaw to surprise Papa and Grandmama.

Today, we buried an amazing and Godly man, my grandpa- Ralph Williams. Right before Sam and I left SC last month to return to LA, Papa was admitted to the hospital. At the time, he was diagnosed with some kind of weird blood infection, given some antibiotics and blood, and was sent home once he started improving. However, he was shortly back in the hospital, needing more blood. This time, the tests showed that he had acute myeloid leukemia. Because of his age and other health issues, it was prayerfully decided that he would just be kept comfortable. We were not able to travel to see him in the hospital but, personally, I prefer it that way. Sam is 4 and his last memories of Papa are catching his first “real” fish (ie not in a stocked catfish farm pond) and helping to pick figs off a bush. Those are mine too. 🙂

This morning, we had his graveside service before the actual funeral service at the church. It was only for immediate family. It was nice, quiet, and I was able to walk around and take pictures.

From September 2012


Yes, his coffin was blue. He helped patent a particular shade of blue dye for a chemical company he worked for and this was as close and my grandma and aunts could find to that shade.

From September 2012

From September 2012


He was active in the Lions Club. This was the flower arrangement they sent. Sam has a little broom from the Lions club that he loves using.

Speaking of Sam, he did not attend the graveside service. We just didn’t feel comfortable taking him to that service. Therefore, I had a cousin keep him up at the church and we picked him up for the receiving of friends. Then, during the funeral, he stayed with my cousin again on the back row of the sanctuary so she could leave if she needed to. He stayed the entire time. 🙂 On our way out, he joined us and walked out with Travis- I was taking pictures.

From September 2012


I can’t find a picture of all of us together to fully show this. However, we were all told to not wear black to the funeral. Papa LOVED colors and so we all wore colorful clothes. I really liked it. Yes, the funeral was sad. Yes, we will miss him. However, we rejoice because he is with Christ and the colors really helped lighten the mood today. I think this will be my request for my funeral too.

We had TONS of friends and family come from all over NC & SC for the funeral. We really appreciate it.

From September 2012


After the service, the members of the Lions Club that were in attendance served as Honorary Pallbearers and stood outside the church.

Afterwards, several close family friends and some of my great aunts and uncle came over to visit before heading home.

From September 2012

Later in the day, we went back to the cemetery to view his gravesite. This was the first time Sam went out there.

From September 2012


From September 2012

Kind of random but, when we got back to the house, Sam and Aunt Jacky had a tea party. 🙂

From September 2012


From September 2012

My grandpa was an amazing man. One of my vivid memories was shortly after Katrina. We were talking on the phone and he was encouraging me as I went business to business selling oil changes while trying to find a “real” job. I had a hard time selling the oil changes and all the “higher ups” kept pressuring me to be deceptive in my sales pitches. I couldn’t do it. I sold enough to buy our groceries so that was all I really needed to do. 🙂 He reminded me that honesty and integrity are the most important things in sales and that is what makes salesmen stand apart from each other. He told me he had plenty of opportunities in his career to deceive but always practiced honesty and therefore, kept a lot of clients because of that- plus he had a clear conscience before God.

Some of my other memories… building couch forts in their little beach trailer when I was a young child. I remember TONS of fishing- he took all of his grands and greats fishing and they all caught a fish with him… Sam was his last and that, as I’ve said earlier, occurred less than a month before he passed away. Playing various games- he LOVED to play board games but, I mainly remember chinese checkers. He was a salesman throughout the state of Georgia and I remember multiple summers where I would get to travel with he and Grandmama for a week. I’ve seen/experienced a lot of Georgia because of that. After Katrina, he worked tirelessly on restoring furniture and other items that were damaged in my parent’s house. It was quite impressive what he was able to fix/restore. He ALWAYS helped people- even when they disappointed him. He had such a giving heart and if I can have a heart only 1/2 as big as his, I will consider myself blessed. He taught me to shoot a shotgun and didn’t laugh when the kick of the gun basically sent me flying backwards through the air. I am sure it was a funny sight- all I remember is that my shoulder hurt like crazy. 🙂 Every night, he and Grandmama would read Open Windows and their Bible together. It was so sweet to lay in the bed across the hall and “eavesdrop.” Of all though, I will always remember how important family was. He would do ANYTHING for his family and his last thoughts were about his family and praising God. My aunt was telling me that in the hospital they would hold hands and sing old hymns. That was my grandpa. 🙂

Below is the obituary that was printed in his funeral program. It is very informative but I am mainly posting it so that Sam and his little brother/sister will have something to look back on and remember/learn about their amazing Papa.

“Mr. Williams passed away on Thursday, September 6, 2012 with acute myeloid leukemia after 3 weeks of illness. He was the son of the late James Lucas and Minnie Elizabeth Connell Williams. He was a loving Husband, Daddy and Papa. He was a graduate of Baron Dekalb High School where he was a member of the FFA. He also attended Columbia Commercial College and Greenville Technical College. Mr. Williams had a long dedicated career in the textile and dye industry with Springs Mills, Cone Mills, American Color & Chemical and Crompton & Knowles. He was actively involved in his church, Meals on Wheels and the Kershaw Lions Club. He was passionate about helping others and was always concerned about meeting the needs of others. Mr. Williams was always a hard worker and started his first job by delivering the Columbia Record. He worked at the Dixie Home Store as well. He was instrumental in developing a patented dye for American Color & Chemical. Mr. Williams was involved in Youth Serve, Meals on Wheels, visiting the elderly through the community and Kershaw Lions Club. He loved being able to help with the Lions eye tests for school children. Also, he enjoyed the annual fundraiser for the Lions Club by selling Vidalia onions. He was proud of his 1950 Allis Chalmers tractor because it was built the same year he and his Sweetie got married. Mr. Williams was always teaching life lessons to his girls, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

His favorite Bible verse was 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

He was 81 years old. The picture below is of the entire family at his surprise 80th birthday party.

From November 2010

I love and miss Papa, but I am certain that I will see him again and that he is now worshipping up in Heaven. That is so comforting and encouraging.

🙂
Steph

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