Ralph Williams
Ralph Williams
  • May 14, 1962 - December 6, 2016
  • Atlanta, Georgia

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Ralph Williams III, husband of Connie Kelley Williams, passed away on December 7th after a brief, courageous fight against cancer. He was 54.

Ralph was a native Atlantan and a graduate of the Lovett School and Georgia Tech. He worked in the commercial real estate industry, most recently as a Senior Vice President at the Hailey Realty Company. For most of his adult life, he was a member of the Piedmont Driving Club.

As Captain in 1979, Ralph led the Lovett football team to many victories. His gifts as a leader meant that even after the team lost in the semi-finals of the North Georgia Championship, they sang "We Are Family" on the bus all the way home.

Ralph's love of football was closely followed by his enthusiasm for hunting and fishing, particularly in the countryside surrounding his mother's hometown of Brownsville, Tennessee. He also relished waterskiing during summers at the family home at Lake Burton.

As an adult, he became an enthusiastic guitar player and collector of guitars. A highlight of his 40th birthday party at Mike and Angelo’s was when he got to play guitar with Swami Gone Bananas, one of his favorite local bands.

Ralph was a consummate problem-solver. His approach to any difficulty was to "work the problem" until he reached the solution that benefitted all those involved. His gift for dealing with challenges in a direct and constructive way, combined with his incredible understanding of people, made him a rock for those who knew him well.

In the past few years, Ralph had become something of a patriarch for the members of his family at their annual Methodist Camp Meeting, which was founded by his Taylor ancestors in 1826. This role allowed him full exercise of his problem-solving and team-building skills. In primitive conditions and West Tennessee heat, he managed each year to recreate a home in the wilderness where his extended family could gather and thrive. He was first up in the morning making sure that everything was running, more or less, according to plan and that everyone was as happy as possible. Long into the night he would sit on the porch, telling stories that made his cousins laugh until they cried.

Ralph Williams was strong and kind, practical and wise. He celebrated life wherever he found it.

Ralph is survived by his beloved wife, whose courage during the recent weeks has been an inspiration to everyone around her. He is also survived by his devoted mother, Emily Currie Williams Huie, and his father, Ralph Williams, Jr.; his stepchildren Robbie Nelke (Elaine Liu) and son Jackson, Kelley Nelke and son Gabriel, and Ally Nelke; his sister, Mary Ann Williams (Michael Ryan) and his brother, Tom Williams (Sue Salvesen); and his nieces and nephews, Emily Ryan, Patrick Ryan, Nora Ann Williams, Sylvia Williams and Dale Williams.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 13 at St Luke's Episcopal Church. His ashes will be interred at Ponte Vedra, Florida and in the Tabernacle Camp Meeting Cemetery in Brownsville, Tennessee.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Ralph's memory to: the Tabernacle Camp Meeting Cemetery Foundation, care of Mrs. Betsy Thornton, 57 Old Highway 19, Brownsville, TN 38012 or Northside Hospital Cancer Center, 1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Atlanta, 30342.