John ‘Jack’ R. Williams, Sr., obituary

Posted:  Monday, January 15, 2018 - 7:00pm
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CAMDEN — John “Jack” Richard Williams, Sr., 90, of Camden, died January 8, 2018 at Windward Gardens in Camden. Born July, 9, 1927 in Rockland, he was the son of William Grierson and Medora Lillian (Kenniston) Williams. He was a member of the Class of 1945 at Camden High School, where he played baseball, basketball and football.  On July 3, 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until August 1946.

In 1950, Jack received a bachelor’s of science in engineering physics at the University of Maine, then worked for the Knox Woolen Mill, Kittery Shipyard, and General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts, until 1951.  

On November 18, 1951, he married Edith Verrill Clark in Rockland at Pratt Memorial Methodist Church.  Jack was employed at Tibbetts Industries in Camden before moving to Massachusetts, where he worked for Raytheon in Newton. In 1959, Jack started a new company, Crystalonics, in Cambridge, which he operated until 1969, when he sold the business.  

Returning to the family home in Camden in 1971, Jack became involved in civic affairs, becoming director of the Camden YMCA, president of Camden Alumni Association, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Camden, member and past president of Down East Jazz Society, and member of the Camden Historical Society.  He has also been an active member and former president of the Camden Lion’s Club since 1952 and was an honored recipient of the Melvin Jones award.

As a Camden native and distinguished local historian, Jack grew up skiing at the Camden Snow Bowl in the 1930s and 1940s.  His book, The Camden Snow Bowl, is a comprehensive history of the ski area. Jack had been an active member and former director of the Camden Outing Club.

In 1974, Jack formed a new business, Knox Semiconductor, Inc., serving as president from its inception until he retired.  The company was sold to Micrometrics in 2005.

Jack and Edith formed the Billy Williams Foundation, a charity and engineering scholarship fund to benefit local students in the Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville school district and organizations, in memory of their son. They were members of the John Street United Methodist Church in Camden.

In 1989, Jack wrote the History of Camden, which was published in 1989. In 1973, he authored This Was Your Hit Parade, a historical documentary.  

An avid skier and outdoorsman all his life, Jack skied every day during the season at the Camden Snow Bowl until the age of 82. As a young man he had skied Tuckerman’s Ravine.  At age 85, Jack completed his last back flip off the diving tower at his Megunticook Lake cottage. 

In 1990, he led the effort in reconstructing the old toboggan chute at the Snow Bowl beginning new races in 1991.  The chute was named in honor of Jack.  That same year, he founded the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Foundation, continuing as its director until 2004.

In 1987, Jack was instrumental in creating a new hiking trail over the Tablelands on Mount Megunticook, and was later honored by the naming of the trail “The Jack Williams Trail.”

Part of Jack’s philanthropy included donating 80 acres of land in Searsmont to Sweetser in December 1980.    

In 2000, Jack was inducted as a distinguished member of the Francis Crowe Society through the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. 

Predeceased by his wife, Edith Williams in 1998, and son, William R. Williams in 1960, he is survived by his three children, John R. Williams, Jr., and his wife, Tina, of Camden; Patricia Brissette and her husband, Tony, of St. George; Janice E. Williams and her husband, Stephen Rickett, of Portland; nine grandchildren, David Williams and his wife, Crystal Carpenter, Jacalyn Williams, Brian Prescott and his wife, Abby, Candice Jones and her husband, Jonathan Jones, Nicole Denis and her husband, Mike, Denis, Kimberley Williams and her husband, Sheldon Main, Jamie Clark, Molly Rickett, and Sarah Rickett; several great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Evelyn Morse, of Union; and a special friend, Priscilla Hart. 

Calling hours will be held 4-6 p.m., Friday, January 19, 2018 at the Long Funeral Home, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.  There will be a funeral service followed by a reception at 1 p.m., Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the John Street United Methodist Church, 98 John St., Camden. 

Memorial gifts may be made to the Billy Williams Foundation, 24 Union Street, Camden, ME 04843.  Condolences and memories may be shared with Jack’s family at www.longfuneralhomecamden.com.