BY JAMES HARPER
The Volusia County community will come together at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Basilica of St. Paul Catholic Church to remember School Board Chairman Dr. Alfred Williams, who died unexpectedly Monday at Halifax Health Medical Center. Williams was 70.
Williams, who first moved to Daytona Beach, in December 1978, was known as a dedicated family man, an accomplished educator and administrator, an active community volunteer and successful businessman.
“He dedicated his life to providing a quality education for every child and an excellent working environment for teachers,” Volusia County Schools Superintendent Margaret Smith said in a statement.
She referred to Williams as a loyal member of the “Team Volusia’’ family.
“He had a big personality and a bigger heart for students, teachers and the world of education. Dr. Al, as he was affectionately known, will be deeply missed,” she added.
Williams started out as a teacher and a professor and worked as an educational consultant for low-performing high schools for Chicago Public Schools. He also was the executive director of the personnel department for the Austin (Texas) Independent School District.
He was first elected to the Volusia County School Board in 1984 and served until 1992. He was re-elected to the school board in 2004 when he returned to Florida. In August, he won another new four-year school board term.
Williams represented District 2, including the Greater Daytona Beach area, Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet, South Daytona and a portion of Port Orange.
Quite a shock
“This news is quite a shock to me about Dr. Williams. He was a well-respected leader in the community who fought for both students and personnel within the Volusia County School System.
He was a member and staunch supporter of the NAACP. Dr. Williams will be truly missed,” Cynthia Slater, president of the Volusia County-Daytona Beach NAACP chapter told the Daytona Times on Monday after hearing of Williams’ death.
“I plan to make contact with the governor to ensure that Dr. Williams’ replacement represents his constituents – in other words, a minority,’’ Slater added.
The process for filling the school board seat vacancy is governed by state election law. Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall is consulting the Florida Division of Elections about the process to replace Williams on the school board.
Son died this year
Williams was born on June 7, 1942, in Chicago and earned a doctoral degree in Educational Administration from Columbia University in New York. He received his Master of Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and a Master of Science in Mathematics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
His Bachelor of Arts degree is from St. Mary’s College in Minnesota.
Williams’ first wife, Willenor, died in 1997. They had two sons, Alan and Anthony. Williams would later marry Dr. Katherine Smith.
He was preceded in death in January of this year by his son Anthony.
In addition to his wife, Katherine, and son Alan, Williams is survived by a stepson, Jerrell (Beth) Smith; stepdaughter Shevonn (Royce) Willis; six grandchildren and many other family members.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to the “Futures/Al & Anthony Williams Scholarship Fund.”
Visitation is scheduled Friday, Oct. 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Basilica of St. Paul Catholic Church, 317 Mullaly St., Daytona Beach.
Funeral services are being handled by Gainous Funeral Home.