Baylor Mourns Death of Football Letterwinner and Generous Benefactor Billy Williams

  • Billy and Elaine Williams
    Billy and Elaine Williams (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
  • Billy and Elaine Williams with Team
    Billy and Elaine Williams are surrounded by the Baylor women's soccer team following the dedication of the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center in August. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
Dec. 16, 2015

WACO, Texas (Dec. 16, 2015) – Baylor University is mourning the passing of Billy Williams, B.B.A. ’63, a former football letterwinner, successful businessman and generous benefactor of the University and its students. Williams died Dec. 14 at the age of 74.

A funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Sullivan Funeral Home, 60 South Grant St., Hinsdale, Illinois.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Billy Williams, a cherished member of our Baylor family,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “Billy was a remarkably generous man whose enthusiastic spirit and deep love for the University enriched the lives of so many in the Baylor community. A former student-athlete and successful businessman, Billy and his precious family stepped boldly forward two years ago and provided a magnificent lead gift in support of the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center. Only a few months ago, the Williams family again responded out of their great care for Baylor to provide the lead naming gift for a planned practice facility for our men’s and women’s golf programs.

“We lift up in prayer Billy’s dear wife, Elaine, and the entire Williams family, to ask that God may comfort and encourage them during this difficult time. While we grieve the loss of Billy’s friendship and dedication to his alma mater, we celebrate his extraordinary life and his great legacy of generosity to our University – a legacy that will continue to support Baylor’s mission and its students, both now and for years to come,” Judge Starr said.

Williams lettered in football in 1962 on a John Bridgers-coached team that included star quarterback Don Trull, who was Williams’ roommate. After graduating with a degree in finance, Williams joined the First National Bank of Fort Worth’s executive training program and earned an M.B.A. from TCU in 1965. He went on to a 26-year career at Owens Corning, working his way up from field salesman to executive vice president for the building materials division at the company’s headquarters in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1991, Williams and two associates purchased Liquid Container, a packaging company in Chicago. As its president for 19 years, he oversaw the company’s expansion from a regional manufacturer to a national presence in the plastics packaging industry before selling the company in 2011. He and his wife maintained homes in Hinsdale, Illinois, and Naples, Florida.

In 2012, Williams was named by the Baylor “B” Association to its Wall of Honor, which recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletic department.

In 2013, Williams and his wife provided the lead gift for the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center, which opened in fall 2015 and houses Baylor’s soccer program and other Olympic sports. In October 2015, Baylor’s Board of Regents announced another multimillion dollar lead gift from the Williams family to name a planned golf practice facility near campus for Baylor’s nationally recognized men’s and women’s golf teams.

The Williams family also established two endowed scholarships at Baylor, the A.J. and Marie Williams Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund in Football and the Bill and Elaine Williams Family Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund, and were generous supporters of the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center, the Baylor “B” Association and the Baylor Bear Foundation.

“Baylor Athletics is deeply saddened by the passing of Billy Williams, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to Elaine and his family who remain in our thoughts and prayers during this time,” said Ian McCaw, vice president and director of athletics. “Billy was a loyal friend and kind man who was enthusiastic in his passion and support of Baylor Athletics. He made a tremendous impact on current and future student-athletes, and we are deeply indebted to him.”

Williams is survived by his wife, Elaine, of Naples, Florida; three grown and married children, Zachary, Elizabeth and Andrew; and seven grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Smile Train or Wounded Warrior Project.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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