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H. Harold Williams
September 01, 1923 - January 28, 2016
Sept. 1, 1923 – Jan. 28, 2016 Henry Harold Williams, of Mountain Brook, Alabama and longtime Birmingham attorney was born on September 1, 1923, and passed away on January 28, 2016, at the age of 92. Mr. Williams is survived by his wife, Elouise Wilkins Williams; daughter Anna Elizabeth Williams of Montgomery; and son Richard Wilkins Williams of Birmingham. He is also survived by his niece, Gwen Williams Peace (Awtrey) of Milton, Florida; nephew Edward Bowlin (Lanita) of Pell City; and a host of cousins. He was predeceased by parents Annie Meehan and Henry Clemons Williams; his brother Johnnie C. Williams (Lorene); and sister Gay Bowlin (Ruble), all of Pell City. Harold grew up in Pell City where he attended Avondale School and Pell City High School, graduating in 1941 as president of the Senior Class. He worked at the First National Bank of Birmingham for a year before enlisting in the Army Air Force in November 1942. He spent two years in India with the 497th Squadron of the 44th Air Service Group that operated a repair depot for planes making air drops to Merrill’s Marauders in Burma. Later his group serviced planes flying supplies across the Himalayas to our Chinese allies. He coordinated the work, serving as chief clerk of an engineering office. Returning home in February 1946, Harold graduated from the University of Alabama in 1949 with an accounting degree and membership in both Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma, the top recognition in the business school. He enjoyed his social fraternity, Theta Chi, and served as President. Harold then obtained a Doctor of Law degree from Columbia University in 1952 and joined the Birmingham firm now called Balch & Bingham, where he practiced for 41 years. William Logan Martin founded the firm in 1920, and for many years, the firm was named Balch, Bingham, Baker, Hawthorne, Williams & Ward. He specialized in real estate work. A major career project included legal work for Alabama Power Company’s acquisition of land for five hydroelectric dams along Alabama’s Coosa River: Weiss Dam, H. Neely Henry Dam, Logan Martin Dam, Lay Dam Raise, and Walter Bouldin Dam. He also handled land acquisitions and land management for other large corporations. He married the love of his life in November 1953, and they continued their ties to Pell City. He served as chairman of the St. Clair County Board of Education and as a director of the St. Clair Federal Savings & Loan Association. He was also instrumental in organizing the Peoples Bank and the Pell City Industrial Development Board. Active in the Pell City First Baptist Church, he chaired the board of deacons and the financial committee and also taught Sunday School. He had made a profession of faith when he was 8 years old during a tent revival set up in front of the then new Jefferson County Court House under the masterful preaching of evangelist Mordecai Ham, who led Billy Graham to faith. In late 1967, his family joined Mountain Brook Baptist Church where he served as Life Deacon, director of the Sunday School, and moderator of the congregation for 22 years. He and Elouise particularly enjoyed teaching the young single adults. He also served as volunteer church attorney. Harold was a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham and a director, with his name inscribed on the International Tablet of Honor, the highest recognition for service award. Harold chaired the History and Archives Committee of the Birmingham Bar Association in 2002 when it published a history of the legal profession in Birmingham entitled “Lawyers in a New South City.” He also served on the History and Archives Committee of the Alabama Bar Association and led the effort to write “From Power to Service,” a history of the Alabama State Bar, which was dedicated to him by Pat Rumor, the author of both books. He was listed by Woodward/White, Inc. of New York in editions of “The Best Lawyers in America,” as well as “Who’s Who in Alabama,” “Who’s Who in the Southeast” and “Who’s Who in American Law.” Harold enjoyed and supported the work of Samford University. He was on the Advisory Board for Paralegal Studies and a member of the Dean’s Executive Council of the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education. In gratitude for the service of Harold and Elouise Williams, Samford University recognized them as the first honorary alumni – Alumni Honoris Causa. He and Elouise were also recognized by Women’s Committee of 100 for Birmingham as 2008 Citizens of the Year. The Pell City Board of Education named its newest school the Elouise and Harold Williams Intermediate School. Harold was an avid reader and book collector. He enjoyed photography throughout his life and was often seen with a camera around his neck, ready to serve as volunteer photographer. He was a historian at heart. Walking through the woods was a favorite leisure activity. He was a “people person” and excelled at finding the good in everyone. He maintained a positive attitude and found life busy, full, challenging and fascinating. He was known for his kind and gentle spirit. He particularly enjoyed accompanying and supporting Elouise in her many civic endeavors. He was a member of Mountain Brook Club, the Summit Club, a director of The Club, and longtime director of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center. A memorial service will be held at Mountain Brook Baptist Church at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 12, with visitation following in Hudson Hall outside the sanctuary. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, that any memorials be made to Mountain Brook Baptist Church or Samford University Legacy League or to the charity of your choice.
Published on February 8, 2016
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