Melvin Williams, devoted husband, father, and community leader, died August 19, 2019, after a brief but fierce battle with cancer. His wife of 48 years, Beate, was at his side. He was 75.
Melvin was born June 17, 1944, in Parsons, Kansas, to Naomi Long and Vernon Williams. Both parents preceded him in death.
His life was marked by a dedication to his family, his community, and his God. He was influenced by a desire to give to each, thus leaving a legacy of love, faith and service.
He began his education in segregated schools in Kansas. By junior high school, the district had integrated and in 1962, Melvin graduated from Parsons High School. After college, Melvin would spend his professional career ensuring diversity in the workforce. He served as the first director the University of Kansas Medical Center Affirmative Action Office, and was later recruited to lead UTMB’s Diversity and International Affairs office.
Melvin was excited about the opportunity to leave Kansas winters for life on the island. His wife Beate was uncertain, but learned to love the island as much as he did.
The couple met when Beate worked at a bank in their hometown of Parsons. She worked with Melvin’s sister who invited Melvin to the bank holiday party. Melvin had recently completed a tour with the Peace Corps, and the two hit it off. That was December 1970. Beate and Melvin married August 26, 1971.
While living in Mission, Kansas, Melvin served on the city council. When he moved to Galveston, that service continued through numerous volunteer positions in the city. He served on the Park Board of Trustees and the Galveston Housing Authority.
Even in retirement, Melvin chose to serve, working as executive director of the Galveston County Community Action Council, and was actively involved with the Nia Cultural Center’s Freedom School.
Melvin was known as a sports enthusiast. He watched almost any sporting event, but was an avid Kansas Jayhawks fan as well as a Cowboys supporter, and was never shy about either. He also enjoyed staying active and played tennis just about every Saturday weather permitting, and had coached at O’Connell Preparatory.
As involved as Melvin was in politics, and in local service, he managed to keep his calm and cordial demeanor with almost anyone. Few can recall hearing him speak harshly of anyone, even those he disagreed with or didn’t exactly favor. He was a generous and kind man who gave of himself every opportunity he could.
Some of the biggest benefactors of that kindness were his family and friends. His energy seemed never failing and his enthusiasm for life unstoppable. Weekends meant movies with Beate, and holidays meant decorations. He decorated everything he could. He baked every cookie. And holiday meals were a chance to share his culinary talents with family and friends. Sitting idle was not Melvin’s style, even in his last days where he was out and about as much as he could be.
Melvin is survived by his wife Beate, and their children; daughter Amy Sloan of Galveston, son Micah Williams and his wife, Kristi, of Conroe, Texas; and son Jonah Williams of Dickinson. Melvin also is survived by siblings Charles, Melba and Lea Long; grandchildren Alexis, Brandon and Kya Williams; and great grandson Chayton Williams.
Beate offers her sincere gratitude to the community of support that surrounded her and Melvin throughout their life in Galveston, and recently in his illness.
The community is invited to celebrate Melvin’s life at a memorial service Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church, where Melvin was an elder and volunteered with numerous church ministries. Service begins at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent in Melvin’s memory to the Nia Cultural Center Freedom School, PO Box 1491, Galveston, TX 77550. Or email email@example.com.
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