Harold Lamar Williamson Sr. a longtime resident of Athens, passed away peacefully in his sleep on to God’s eternal kingdom on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020. He was born 94 years ago in Cordele, Georgia the son of his beloved parents, Felix Drewry and Ida Bryan Williamson. His father died when he was just a young boy and he was raised on their family farm along with his six siblings by their remarkable and loving mother. He is descended from seven generations of the Williamson family in Georgia, including the Solomon Williamson family in South Georgia of Oak Park. He learned on the family farm the values of family and friends, developed a deep faith in Christ, learned the value of hard work and a love for his country. When World War II began he and each of his brave brothers joined different branches of the armed services and left for battle. They were spread out in Europe and the Pacific. His brother “F.D.” was a squad commander in the 8th Air Force in England and he shot down five planes in one day and a total of 13 becoming and Ace Pilot in his Thunderbolt plane named “Georgia Peach”. He died in a plane crash in 1947. His brother Rudolph who was in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific was lost in action over the Admiralty Islands and was never found. As the youngest Harold was so proud of his brothers that he could not wait to join them in their fight for freedom. Harold joined the Army and was a Lieutenant in the 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company B. He fought bravely in France, and then in one of the greatest conflicts of the war in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Then he fought in Germany and went on to be part of the liberation of Czechoslovakia. That liberation he would often speak of as one of the greatest and most important events in his life.
After returning home from the war he attended Emory University in Atlanta before transferring to the University of Georgia in Athens where he received his degree in Business Administration. After graduation he moved to Atlanta and began his career at the Simmons Company where he rose up through the ranks to become a regional sales manager. He made many friendships there which would last his lifetime. While crossing Peachtree Street downtown one day with one of his best friends from Cordele he was introduced to his future wife June Malcom of the cotton family from Bostwick, Georgia. They were later married there in her family home “The Crossroads”. Their first son and namesake would be born in Atlanta a year later, followed a few years later by his second son Malcolm Bryan. They loved living in Georgia and spending so many weekends with their close-knit families. They attended Clairmont Presbyterian Church. They were members of the Druid Hills Country Club.
In Atlanta he met his mentor and life-long friend and business partner Charles Helmly of Savannah and Miami, Florida. The Helmly Furniture Company opened with the first store in Savannah. “Uncle Charlie” as we would refer to him, wanted Harold to join him in Florida to expand and grow that business of which he would later become president. There were initially stores in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Harold moved his young family to the beautiful city of Winter Park, Florida where they would all flourish. Soon after there were three more stores in Orlando, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg. They continued to grow adding stores in Boca Raton, North Palm Beach, North Miami, South Miami, Vero Beach and Stuart. Several of these stores were awarded the title of “House Beautiful Store of the Year”. Besides his Orlando offices he had an office on Brickell Avenue in Miami. He was listed regularly in Who’s Who in the South, Illinois and the Southwest. He was made an Honorary Kentucky Colonel. The family were longtime members of the Winter Park Presbyterian Church, He loved golf, June loved tennis and they were members of the Winter Park Racquet Club, the Country Club of Orlando, The Citrus Club and the University Club. They loved entertaining, traveling, fine dining and spending time at their beach homes. They were generous supporters of many of the fine arts and were members of the Orlando Museum of Art, The Morris Museum in Winter Park, Opera and Symphony Associations of Orlando. They had too many good friends to even try to mention. After selling the chain of fine stores he and June moved back to Atlanta for a couple of years before moving on to Albuquerque, New Mexico and later to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Years later they would return home to their beloved state of Georgia and retire in Athens. They were great Georgia Bulldog fans. They were members of the First Presbyterian Church and later he would become a member of the Alps Road Presbyterian Church. When his son Malcolm became ill he and June took loving care of him at home until the time of his passing. After his retirement he started working again in sales for many years at the Austin Furniture Company in Athens which renewed his love of the furniture business and where he made some new great friends. A few years later Harold would care for his dear wife in their home until she passed away. It was in his caring nature to help care for family and friends in need. He was often seen visiting them in hospitals or in nursing homes. He was a wonderful role model to family, friends and business associates. He was a true Southern gentleman. He was a loyal friend and an honest man.
He is proceeded in death by his fun-loving wife, June Malcom of Bostwick, his wonderful youngest son Malcolm Bryan of Atlanta, his brothers Felix Drewry Jr., Robert Drewry, Rudolph Bryan, Wilbur William and his two sisters Bernice Louise Harris and Lillian Estelle Owens. He loved them all dearly and took wonderful care of them all in their final years. He was a wonderful father, husband, son, brother and friend to his entire family. His wife June’s family, the Malcom’s of Morgan County, were very dear to him. He was the son-in-law of Drew Wilson and Myrtle Bearden Malcom who were like second parents to him. He will be laid to rest in the Malcom family cemetery with them there in Bostwick next to his wife and son.
He is survived by his oldest son Harold L. Williamson Jr. and Dr. Dale LeBlanc of New Orleans, Louisiana who have been fortunate to enjoy his wonderful company, love and advice for so many years. He is also survived by his nephews, nieces and cousins: Dr. James Harold Harris and Betty of Bear, Delaware, Charlton Bryan McArthur and Gayle of Birmingham, Alabama, Jason Mathew Harris and Beth of Greenville, South Carolina., Krista Harris and Scott of Atlanta, Theresa W. Green, Bobby Williamson and dear sister-in-law Ida Williamson of Charlotte, North Carolina and Terry Williamson of Vero Beach, Florida. He is also survived by his dear sister-in-law Agnes Estelle Malcom Elliott of Atlanta, Dr. Thomas W. Elliott Jr. and Kelly of Atlanta, Drew W. Elliott and Kathy of Lawrenceville, John Drew Lupo and Susan Palmer of Bostwick, Sara Thomas Shepherd and Alan of Rutledge, his brother-in-law William Jerry Thomas of Bishop and his son William Jerry Jr. and Paula, Jana Lupo Beckstine and Jeff of Eatonton and many other wonderful great nephews and nieces all who he dearly loved.
We would like to give special thanks to his sister-in law Agnes Elliott of Atlanta, Gilford Lewis of Atlanta, cousins Ruby and Russ Field of Athens, dear friends Martha Baldwin Sweat and Sue Wolfe David both of Athens, for their longtime deep friendship and loving care. We wish to thank his longtime physician in Athens, Dr. Stephen Lucas who helped take care of his son Malcom as well as Harold. We also want to thank the kind caregivers at Talmage Terrace in Athens and High Shoals Nursing Home in Bishop for taking such great care of him in his final years and days.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by A. E. Carter Funeral Home in Madison. There will be a private service for family and close friends held at the graveside in the Malcom family cemetery in Bostwick, Georgia to celebrate his life. Presiding will be his beloved nephew Dr. Thomas W. Elliott Jr. of the Emory Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. There will be a gathering after the service in the fellowship hall at the Bostwick United Methodist Church. At this time due to the circumstances there is no date scheduled for his memorial service. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his honor to the Bostwick United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 257, Bostwick, Ga. 30623 or in his honor or to The Friends of Beaurgard-Keyes Historic House, 1113 Chartres Street, New Orleans, La. 70116.