Arnold E. (Ed) Williams, Jr., 75, passed away on Monday, March 20, 2023 at Cape Fear Valley Hospital with his loving wife, Gloria at his side.
Ed is survived by his wife, Gloria of 51 years; his son Anthony (Tony) and wife, Angie of Catonsville, MD and grandchildren, Lucas, Charlotte and Lydia; his daughter, Teresa Brodsky and husband, Patrick of US Army Camp Zama, Japan and grandchildren Max, Keira, Tyson and Dexter. He will also be greatly missed by his many friends he made over the 46 years he lived here.
He was born in Los Angeles, CA on July 11, 1947. His family lived in various locations in California, finally settling in Lancaster. He joined the Army in March 1966 and after basic training was assigned to a base in Germany. He eventually was assigned to Arlington Hall Station, Virginia, outside of Washington, DC. He met Gloria there in December of 1970, where she was working as a secretary for the Department of the Navy. They were married in a small ceremony at Arlington Hall Station Chapel on May 15, 1971. In April 1972, he was reassigned to AFCENT, a division of NATO in southern Holland. He and Gloria had many happy times there for 4 ½ years making many friends from all nationalities along the way. In October 1976 he was reassigned to Fort Bragg, NC, where he worked as the Administrative Sergeant for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID). In 1980 he spent 10 months on an unaccompanied tour in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He returned to Fort Bragg’s CID office until he retired in April 1986 at the rank of SFC E-7. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for exemplary service. He attended a community college and earned his associates degree in business administration. He worked at a few different part-time jobs before being hired to work for Reynolds Aluminum Recycling Center, followed up by working for a local recycling center, Cohen & Green. He decided he knew enough about the business to run his own recycling center. He and Gloria then opened a military surplus store in town.
He loved bowling and since he was very good, was on many leagues. He also had a great love for fishing and the outdoors, where there was peace and tranquility even if he wasn’t catching anything. He and the family had many wonderful hours fishing the lakes nearby and the ocean, when they went on their numerous camping trips. The beach and outdoors were truly his happy place. Ed loved being around people and knew no strangers. He enjoyed talking to anyone, whether it was standing in line at the store or at the gas station. He loved talking like Donald Duck to little children, who would smile and laugh when he did it. It seems like anywhere he went, people knew Ed. He had made many friends over the years and loved talking to them about a variety of topics.
Ed was involved in many organizations and groups over the years. He was a valued member of the Kiwanis Club of Cape Fear and enjoyed being a part of their group and joining in on their many projects. He had a passion for fundraising and could sell sponsorships to anyone. He was also a member of American Legion Post 32 and liked being around retirees and veterans of all ages. He was a long-time member of the Disabled American Veterans, supporting them along the way. He belonged to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and NC Emergency Reserves (NCER), was a graduate of the first class of Fayetteville Citizens Academy, was President of the Fayetteville Chapter NC National Wildlife Federation, a member of Cumberland County Citizens United, a volunteer at the USO at Fayetteville Regional Airport, President of Fayetteville/Cumberland County Senior Citizens Commission and served on the Public Works Commission’s Citizen Advisory Group. In 2018 he was nominated by PWC and received an award for dedicated service from Cumberland County Council on Older Adults. For the past 12 years, he discovered a passion for politics, serving in many capacities in the Cumberland County Republican Party. He even served as treasurer for a few candidates and had his own run for office in 2018 for NC House District 42. Although he didn’t win, he said he got more votes than he expected.
Ed was a very special man to his family and many friends who loved him for his wonderful spirit, great sense of humor and constant friendly attitude. He touched many people with the simple things he would do, like handing out Hershey’s Kisses to people at the grocery store, bank, doctor’s and dentist offices or anyone he thought might need it that day. He enjoyed making the people around him feel special, because he knew that people needed that. He will be greatly missed for his big heart and kindness and also his gift of being able to relate to anyone.
A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 1,000 Andrews Rd, Fayetteville, NC at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 21, 2023. The family will receive friends for visitation and luncheon following the mass in the Social Hall of the church. Interment will be at 2:00 p.m. in Sandhills Veterans Cemetery, Spring Lake, NC with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to either one of the following or to the charity of your choice:
Kiwanis Club of Cape Fear, 439 Westwood Shopping Center, PMB 12, Fayetteville, NC 28314
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 1,000 Andrews Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28311
The CARE Clinic, 239 Robeson St, Fayetteville, NC 28301