The Rt. Rev. Huntington Williams, Jr., a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and retired Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina, died Jan. 28 in Charlotte. He was 87.
Born in Albany, New York, Williams was a graduate of Harvard University and Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1953. Williams volunteered for Army service after completing his first semester at Harvard. Serving with the 87th Infantry of Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate the concentration camp at Buchenwald. He received the Bronze Star and the Infantry Badge for his service.
He served as bishop suffragan from 1990 to 1995. He was curate of St. Thomas’s Church, Owings Mills, Md., 1952-54; assistant at Calvary and St. George, New York City, 1954-56; rector of St. Timothy’s Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., 1956-63; and rector of St. Peter’s Church, Charlotte, 1963-90.
As a priest, Williams worked to integrate St. Peter’s Church. The Rev. Ollie Rencher, an African American born in Mississippi, became rector of St. Peter’s in September. During school desegregation tensions in Charlotte, Williams joined in a silent protest with three other ministers, carrying signs that said “Calm Our Fears” and “We Need Help, Lord.”
The bishop is survived by Mary Britton Williams, his wife of 63 years; sisters Mary Camilla McKim Wallis of Newport Beach, Calif., and Cynthia Ballard of Cockeysville, Md.; a brother, McKim Williams of Newport News, Va.; daughter Sarah Britton Williams of Elon, N.C.; sons Huntington Williams III of Baltimore, Samuel Wells Williams of Sitka, Alaska, and Thomas Comer Williams of Fairview and Charlotte, N.C.; ten grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Image: Portrait of Bishop Huntington Williams/Diocese of North Carolina