Bishop W. Williams, a long-time resident of Falls County, passed away on November 6, 2009 at his home in Marlin. He was 83. Services were 1:30 p.m., Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Greater Providence Baptist Church, Marlin, Texas. The Wake was 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 13, 2009 at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Marlin, Texas.
Reared in McGregor, Texas, he was the youngest of four children born to Mr. Willis and Rev. Willie B Williams. He professed a saving faith in Christ at an early age and was a faithful member of Robinson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. This church was started in the home of his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Missouri Green and he remained closely affiliated with it until his death.
Bishop began his education in the McGregor school system. At the age of 16, his parents sent him to Corpus Christi, Texas to attend Solomon Melvin Coles High School. There, he worked as the school janitor and as a gardener to support himself. In 1943, he received his high school diploma; and, having received a music scholarship, he enrolled in Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson. University). At Tillotson, Bishop studied classical piano, play piano in a jazz combo and sang on campus programs. During World War II, his college education was interrupted by a tour of duty in the army. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Tillotson and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology.
In 1957 and 1960, Bishop pursed further studies at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (Science Institute and the National Science Foundation, Institute for Geology). In 1968, Bishop earned a Master of Science Degree in Biology from Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas. The findings from his graduate research on the flatworm, the monogenetic trematode, were so significant that he presented them to the Texas Academy of Science. In 1977, Bishop earned Administration Certification and Superintendent Level Certification from Prairie View A&M University.
In 1949, Bishop married his college sweetheart, Naomi Forbes. To this union three children were born. That same year, Bishop and his new bride moved to Marlin and joined St. Paul A.M.E. Church where he remained a faithful servant until his death. At St. Paul, Bishop served in many capacities including: Chairperson pro-tem of the steward board, church treasurer, musician and, choir president.
In addition, in 1949, Bishop began his teaching career as a science teacher, coach and choral director at Booker T. Washington High School, Marlin, Texas. In 2002, Bishop, who had 18 winning seasons as a basketball coach, was inducted into the Texas African American Coaches Association Hall of Fame. After integration, Bishop taught science at Marlin High School serving three years as chair of the science department, four years as assistant principal and eight years as principal of Marlin Middle School, and one year as administrative assistant, in charge of federal programs, to the superintendent.
After his retirement from Marlin ISD, Bishop was appointed to complete a term of office in the Falls County Commissioners Court. He was elected twice to the court. While on the commissioner’s court, he served as both Judge Pro-Tem and as Acting County Judge. Under his tenure as Acting County Judge, the plans for the current Falls County jail were developed and finalized.
Bishop’s other activities/positions included: Chairperson, NAACP’s Political Action Committee; member, H.O.T. (Heart of Texas) Regional Review Committee (appointed by Governor Ann Richards); member, H.O.T. regional Advisory Committee; member, Regional Solid Waster Management Council Member, and member, Cen-Tex Certified Development Company’s R.L.F. Board. He was also, treasurer, of the Marlin Lions Club; Charter Member, Bethel 228 F&AM Masons; member, County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas; and member, Organization of Black County Commissioners.
Bishop leaves to cherish his memory: his devoted wife, Naomi F. Williams; two children, Rev. Brenda Williams Waters of Dallas, Texas and Elder Willis L. Williams (Wynona) of Richmond, Texas; four grandchildren, Rev. Michael Williams Waters (Yulise) of Dallas, Texas, Claiborne Daniels (Sunni) of Richmond, Texas, Jomica Daniels of Richmond Texas, Chardae Daniels Hill (Cleo) of Austin, Texas; five great-grand children; and a host of other relatives and many, many friends.