James M. “Coach” Williams, 87, of Middletown died Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at home in Middletown. Mr. Williams was born February 9, 1930, in the middle of a blizzard in the families Brinley Street home in Newport, RI.
He is the son of the late Matthew J. and the late Ethel (Barker) Williams. He was married to the late Catherine M. Peckham for 58 years.
Mr. Williams was the Athletic Director for the Middletown School Department and was a physical education teacher.
After graduating from De La Salle, he joined the Air Force and served during the Korean Conflict. After the Air Force, he attended Boston University, after graduating, he was hired with the Middletown School system as a Physical Education teacher, and started the basketball program. Before Middletown, he worked with handicap children in the Boston area. Throughout his career as a coach, his basketball teams won many championships, and division titles. During his tenure, he earned many coaching and athletic director awards. He was one of the first inductees in the Middletown Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2016, the High School Gymnasium was named in his honor. In addition, he also coached Little League, and coached the High school baseball team for one season, winning the division. He was also inducted into the Rhode Island Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Rhode Island Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.
He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was an avid New England Sports fan, and he loved to fish. He was an avid gardener for many years, and in his retirement, worked for a few Newport Estates. One year he won an award for his green thumb. He loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He was cherished by all his students, and all whom he came in contact with. He was an “old school” teacher. He loved all the kids he taught and made impacts on too many lives to count. He was a very spiritual person, and loved the old Latin Mass, which he attended weekly, his faith was a very important part of his life.
He is survived by his children: James M. Williams, Jr (Rachel), Susan Berti (Mark) of New York City, Daniel J. Williams of Middletown, RI and Scott H.R. Williams (Lucia) of Newport, RI. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Alyse, Karley, Nicholas, Mackenzie, Daniel, Sydney, Quincy, Luisa and Matthew, and his great grandchildren, Alexander, Shane, Adrianna and Samuel, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his 2 sisters-in-law, Elaine Bock and Elizabeth LaFebvre and He is preceded in death by his wife Catherine, and his brother, Robert Williams, and his sister Margaret Richard.
Jim’s family would like to especially thank his loving care givers, who helped throughout his illness.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday July 16, 2017 from 3-8 pm in Hambly Funeral Home, 30 Red Cross Avenue in Newport.
His funeral will be held on Monday July 17, 2017 at 9 am from the funeral home, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 am in St. Joseph’s Church, Mann Avenue and Broadway.
Burial will be in St. Columba Cemetery, Brown’s Lane in Middletown.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made in his memory to the Middletown Athletic Boosters 130 Valley Road, Middletown, RI 02842.