Cover photo for Edwin Winston Williams, Jr.'s Obituary
Edwin Winston Williams, Jr. Profile Photo
1936 Edwin 2022

Edwin Winston Williams, Jr.

June 22, 1936 — October 22, 2022

Edwin W. Williams, Jr., 86, of Johnson City, Tennessee, passed away peacefully in the presence of family on October 22, 2022 after a brief illness.


The son of the late Edwin W. Williams and Mary Yeates Williams, he was born in Belzoni, Mississippi and remained in his heart a true son of the Mississippi Delta.


He was a graduate of Millsaps College (BA), Duke University (MDiv), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD). He also completed graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh and served as a Rotary International Scholar at the University of Hong Kong.


Dr. Williams began his career as a minister at Hickory Ridge Methodist Church in Winston Salem, NC then went to teach at Brevard College. He also served as a Teaching Assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill before coming to East Tennessee State University in 1972. In addition to his teaching as a professor of English, he served as Director of Humanities, Director of Summer Study Tours of England, and as an Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He was a member and president of the Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences, and for 16 years also a member of its Faculty Senate and its president. In his wider service to the state, he was a member, then the chair, of the Faculty Sub-Council of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and a member of the Tennessee Historical Records Advisory Board serving as an appointment of the governor.


Dr. Williams was also an active participant in several learned societies (Modern Language Association, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Tennessee Philological Association, Popular Culture Association and others) and read a number of papers at their annual meetings. He also published articles in journals and chapters in encyclopedias and academic journals on the modern novel, especially on his great love, James Joyce.


He was a longtime member of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church as a member of the Philosophers Class. He served in many capacities there including being a teacher of several different classes. He was a member and president of the Hurstleigh Club of Johnson City. He served on the board of directors for many years of the Wesley Foundation of ETSU and as its chairman. He also served on the board of the ETSU Retirement Association.


He loved sports, whether playing golf or cheering on the Buccaneers or his beloved Carolina Tarheels.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Lackey Williams; sister, Rosemary Cloughley; and brother-in-law, Bill Cloughley.


Survivors include his much loved wife, Calvert Hankins Williams; sons, Timothy Yeates Williams (Kristin), Jonathan Dixon Williams (Misti); step-son, Walter Hankins Mathes (Katya); seven grandchildren, William Webster Southard, Molly (Alder) Southard, Katherine (Kate) Elizabeth Lackey Williams, Elizabeth (Betsy) Ann Williams, Benjamin Barnett Williams, Patricia Bailey Williams, and Thomas Alexander Mathes; brother, Parham Williams; sister-in-law, Norma; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.


A private memorial service will be held at Monte Vista Memorial Park.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: 

Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church (P.O. Box 1336, Johnson City, TN 37605 or https://www.munsey.org/give), 

Alzheimer’s Association (225 N Michigan Ave, Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or https://www.alz.org/), 

or the ETSU Athletics Department (Attn: Jo Anne Paty, P.O. Box 70707, Johnson City, TN 37614).


Memorials and condolences may be shared with the family via www.morrisbaker.com


Morris-Baker Funeral Home, 2001 E Oakland Ave, Johnson City, TN, is honored to serve the Williams family. 423-282-1521


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edwin Winston Williams, Jr., please visit our flower store.

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