There was just something special about Ron Williams.
Just before a recent National Anthem Day program at Kerr School, Williams, the assistant principal, was surrounded by children, some tugging at his pant leg, others eager to get a quick hug before the assembly began. He obliged them all with a loving grin.
Moments later, he was joking with teachers who were going to be joining him in delivering snippets of lessons about the flag, the National Anthem and other historical facts. They were a bit jittery about being on stage; he was not. And, after talking with them for a brief few minutes, they seemed to lose their jitters too.
That’s just the kind of man Ron Williams was. No matter if you were young or old, rich or poor, self-confident or a little jittery, he could put you at ease, making you feel important and appreciated.
During that assembly, Williams, always mindful of what was going on around him, offered his assistance to anyone who needed him, including representatives of the newspaper who were searching for names of students that had just been photographed.
He never had to be asked. He just sensed the need and went about meeting it, quickly and quietly, always with that vibrant, infectious smile on his face.
You just felt better when you were in Williams’ company and, just as his colleagues and Kerr and Butler have said, your day was made brighter simply because you’d been in his presence.
He brought a smile to the faces of his children at Kerr, and before that Butler, and to the teaches and staffs at those schools as well. It was as if he believed it was his duty to usher in happiness wherever he went.
It is what made Williams special and it is what will be missed most about him now, as everyone continues to cope with the sudden loss of such a fine man.
He believed in giving back, and he did so at every turn, whether it was at school or in the community, where he could often be found paying visits to the sick, offering his ear to those who needed a friend or showing support in some other way. No matter the need, Williams worked hard to meet it in his own unique way.
Even when he had to be the strong disciplinarian at school, as assistant principals often have to be, the children never walked away feeling less loved than when they entered his door. While they knew he meant business when he corrected them, they also were keenly aware that no matter their misdeed Mr. Williams still believed in their innate goodness and loved them with all his heart.
It’s what allowed him to forge such iron-clad bonds with them, bonds that didn’t end when they moved on from one grade to the next.
Those bonds were just as real for the teachers and staff he worked with each day. Somehow they all just knew he was the kind of man that could be counted on, the sort of administrator who had their back.
His death has been an incredible loss for his family, which, along with his wife and children, encompasses those at Kerr and Butler.
While we’ve lost a dear, dear man, the bright light of his smile will forever be remembered and will always shine down on those who have come to call him a friend.