The world lost a good man Christmas Eve. Somerville lost an icon.
J.D. Williams, who died at 86, loved Somerville, and Somerville loved him back. Williams served as mayor for 42 years, never taking a salary.
The town, with a population of 700 at his death, was much smaller when Williams embraced it. Raised a farmer, Williams had a seat on the town council when he was appointed interim mayor, launching him into the life-long task of shaping the community.
Williams’ mark on Somerville is everywhere. He helped form the town’s police and fire departments, its library and Brewer High School.
One of his many accomplishments was saving the former Morgan County Courthouse.
The county seat was in Somerville from 1819 until 1891, eventually moving to Decatur. The courthouse, built in 1837, was destined for demolition. Williams convinced the county to deed the structure to Somerville. It still stands, the oldest original courthouse in the state.
Williams will be remembered by some — including his children and Sally, his wife of 66 years — as a good man who loved his family.
Others will remember him as the father of Somerville. Williams made his community a better place. The end of his life was the beginning of his legacy.
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|