I've been coming to this website since December 2004 after the death of my son Don. I use to post a lot but now I read more than post. Today is Don's 19th birthday so I thought I should introduce my wonderful son to you.
My name is Kathy(dmom) and I live at the foot of the mountains in
North Carolina. I have a husband and 2 children (both boys). My
oldest son Don(16 years old) was killed in a car accident on Oct. 2,
2004. He was on a rural country road after stopping at a friend's
house coming home from work. Don was speeding. He ran off the road
and while coming back on the road crashed into a van with a family of
four. Don was killed instantly. The family was all injured ,but they
are out of the hosptial and recovering.
Don loved life and was a friend to all. He never met a stranger. Everyone that
every met Don thought he was very special. Although I am the forever proud
mother, Don had that special something. Don wanted to change the world as
was evident in his autobiography he wrote in his junior year of high school.
He wanted to always be remembered for doing something good. We have
a scholarship in his name so that he will always be remembered.
While being a typical teenager, sometimes he had wisdom beyond his
years. Don was in the National Honor Society, a member of the Varsity
Basketball Team, on the Yearbook staff, Peer Leadership
Involvement, Academic Booster Club and Key Club.
You can read more about Don in the article below that appeared in our local paper. Don's death brought the community together.
‘…there is a peace in this place’— Rev. Nelson Granade
By KEN WELBORN
Eleven days ago, we all became one color, and that color was sad.
Howard Donald Williams Jr. – known to everyone as “Don” – tragically lost his life, and several members of another family were also seriously injured in an automobile accident on Saturday evening, Oct. 2.
I do not pretend to imagine the heartbreak and sorrow being felt by his mother and father, Don and Kathy Williams, for nothing is more unnatural than to bury a child.
Don Williams was a good kid – a really good kid. You know, the kind of kid who other parents were glad to see their own kids hang out with. He was a member of the First Baptist Church on Main Street in North Wilkesboro. At Wilkes Central High School, where he was a junior, he was a member of the Key Club, Peer Leadership, Academic Booster Club, National Honor Society, the yearbook staff and the varsity basketball team.
But more than any of that, he was a true and trusted friend, and to me, no finer compliment can be afforded to this remarkable young man. The outpouring of grief at the loss of Don wasn’t just for his family, for his friends knew they, too, had lost someone very special and that their young lives would forever be changed.
My wife, Laura, and I knew Don from his part-time job at the Brushy Mountain Smokehouse Grill in North Wilkesboro. He was always outgoing and polite, answering “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” when spoken to. I had forgotten, but Billy Joe Church pointed out to me that Don played YMCA basketball for both Thursday Magazine and The Record’s teams, Our son, Levi, was a classmate and friend, and Don had spent the night in our apartment on the Friday before that fateful accident.
The impact this young man had during his short life was made all the more obvious by the number of people who responded in so many ways to the tragedy. For days, the Knollwood neighborhood where the Williams family lives was almost impossible to get through for the cars of visitors parked on both sides of the street. On Tuesday evening, when I drove out to the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home for the wake, cars were parked all the way out to the Cattle Sale on Highway 115. And on Wednesday, when we went to the First Baptist church on D Street, my wife and I stood in the vestibule and listened to the service with all the others who were unable to get inside the church.
I have to say that the funeral was one of the most powerful services I have ever attended.
When I arrived, the choir from Don’s home church was already setting the tone for what would be a true celebration of the young man’s life. You simply could not sit or stand still during this service.
A lady standing behind me knew the songs and sang along beautifully with the choir. A young soldier in uniform gave up his seat in the church to an older person. Young people, wearing black ribbons consoled each other, many of them weeping openly.
Rev. Nelson Granade said in his remarks that… “On this day, we are all one church, one in Christ.” He went on to mention things about Don’s life, referring to him as one who broke barriers of all kinds, whether they were educational, social, economic, or racial. Granade pointed out that because of the extraordinary life of this young man, people were together in the same building that may have never come together otherwise, referring to the somewhat historic joint service of North Wilkesboro’s two First Baptists Churches.
Rev. John Speaks, pastor of the First Baptist Church on Main Street, also spoke to those assembled, striking a theme of: “I want to see good things come out of this…” And, true to his evangelistic roots, he worked in a brief sermon based on: “Too much salvation on the outside, and not enough on the inside.”
Like so many folks attending the service, I couldn’t help but think back to my own days of being 16 year’s old and truly wondering how I had survived to be here today. We all make choices and we all make decisions, which can change our lives and the lives of those around us. Everyone feels badly for the Robert Watkins Jr. family, injured in the accident that tragic Saturday, and they are thankful to friends and family who have rallied strongly to help them through this time.
Don Williams Jr. appeared to be a kid who had made a lifetime of right and proper decisions, and who was clearly on his way to greatness — when one simply wrong decision had cost him his life. It is incumbent on all of us; friends, family, and clergy alike, not to let this young man’s life to have been lost in vain – to remind our children that they are neither invincible nor immortal while here on this earth.
Previously I mentioned that the choir of the First Baptist Church on Main Street set the tone for the service for Don Williams Jr. As they sang, swayed to the music, and gave spontaneous testimonies of faith, I briefly thought of a conversation I’d once had with Don’s aunt, Ella Jean Williams, when we were working on a program for the service.
I had awkwardly tried to express my condolences and sympathy to her and she replied, “You know, Mr. Welborn, God sends each of us to do a job, and when that job is done, he takes us home. I believe Don’s job on earth was done, and God called him.” She continued, “Of course we’re not happy about it – we’re sad, and we miss him, but we understand. We have faith.”
Howard Donald “Don” Williams, Jr.
March 29, 1988 – October 2, 2004
Rest in Peace http://www.therecordofwilkes.com/newsa.asp?edition_number=257&pg=L