JERRY WILLIAMS OBITUARY
Family man, friend, businessman and philanthropist, Jerry Lee Williams of Tampa, Florida, passed away at age 89 on April 10, 2022. By his side was his devoted wife Jane (Jones) of 66 years and his loving family.
Jerry's life was an amazing journey, highlighted by a rewarding career, many avocations, a deep commitment to philanthropy and a lifelong dedication to his family.
The cornerstone of his life was Jane – his girlfriend in Elkhart, Indiana, and sweetheart at DePauw University (1954). After graduating in 1956 with an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he and Jane married and moved to Tampa where Jerry began his career in the investment industry incorporating his own business, Jerry Williams & Co. in 1957, the predecessor of Williams Securities Group Inc. to provide market making and research for Florida domiciled publicly traded companies. He was a trailblazer when he obtained the first NASDAQ machine in the State of Florida. Jerry was particularly proud of the investment returns of the firm's clients. In 1980 he served as President of the Florida Securities Dealers Association. In 1990, Jerry was elected to the Board of Governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers. One of the true highlights of his career was the opportunity to work alongside his son, Brooke, daughter, Brynne and son-in-law Eric Ebbert.
Jerry was born in Elkhart, Indiana, on Sept. 14, 1932, son of Rollie and Bea Williams, founders of Rollie Williams Paint Spot, which was purchased by Jerry's cousin, Jimmy Curtis (deceased), and remains in the Curtis family today.
In addition to his wife, Jerry is survived by his sister, Sharon Williams Ubben; his three children and nine adored grandchildren; and cousins Tom Curtis (Nancy), Dave Curtis, Stephanie Curtis (Paul Piro) and Michelle Curtis Payne (Tom).
Waterskiing and boating, beginning on the St. Joe River in Elkhart, were a family passion. He and his father built the first water ski jump on the river. In his early 20s he was Midwest Water Ski Trick Riding Champion. He and Jane loved wind-in-face sports – trips from Florida to the Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda and Maine on their boats as well as family snow skiing vacations, whitewater canoeing and transatlantic crossings. They visited all seven continents – polar bears to icebergs, bicycling in Europe to rounding Cape Horn, African safaris to Japan and China – they did it all.
Playing his trumpet or cornet and singing were hallmarks of Jerry's life. Jerry always had his pocket trumpet in his suitcase. He had the honor to play with jazz greats Sir George Shearing, Joe Venuti and John Pizzarelli. In addition to these musicians, Jerry, was invited by Dennis Connor, skipper of Stars and Stripes, to join the syndicate's spectator boat in Fremantle, Australia, to play "California Here I Come" as the team brought back the America's Cup in 1987.
Jerry's donation of time and financial support to the Tampa community were paramount. He served as board member and chair, The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay; board member and chair, United Way Suncoast; board member, The Straz Center for the Performing Arts; board member, University of South Florida Foundation; Capital Campaign Committee, DePauw University; and trustee, The Tampa General Hospital Foundation. Recently, Jerry and Jane donated their collection of Sammy Davis Jr. musical scores to The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. Jerry was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, Tampa. It was at St. John's Episcopal Church in Elkhart where Jane and Jerry met.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following: Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, DePauw University, or a charity of your choice. RIP Jerry, you are loved and Safe In Port.
Published by The Elkhart Truth on Apr. 19, 2022.
IWSA News Blog
We bring you updated information and news as every season continues!