John J. Williams was born on April 9, 1923, in Tampico (Tamaulipas State) city. Tampico is a city in eastern Mexico in Tamaulipas State, a port on the Ponuco River (near its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico). The city is in a rich petroleum region, it is a chief commercial center of northern Mexico and one of the most important seaports of the country.
John was the fourth of eight children born to John and Nellie Williams. Alfred, Luis, Frank, John, Annie, Joseph, Thomas and George. Mrs. Annie Brown is the only surviving sibling.
John was nine years old when the Williams family relocated across the border to the west tip of Texas on the Rio Grande and settled in El Paso, Texas.
The family and childhood memories of the days in El Paso were many and enduring.
John and Nellie would soon enroll their children in Frederick Douglass School. School days at Douglass would prove to be a challenge for both John and siblings. The primary language spoken at home was Spanish. English was the only language spoken at school, by both teachers and students. John proved up to the challenge and became fluent in both Spanish and English. Coming from a multi-culture Hispanic background gave John the upper hand in many employment opportunities within the city.
After ten years as a grammar school, Douglass became a high school. While attending Douglass High School, John would be selected as the first drum major to represent Douglass during the first Sun Bowl. John was very multi-talented in many areas. He loved sports and music. John was capable of playing several different positions in both football and baseball. He would become very successful at playing both sports. He would become one of Douglass's varsity star athletes.
After graduating from high school, John would meet and marry his teenage sweetheart, Eleanor Person. John and Eleanor would be blessed with eight beautiful children plus one. Michael, Patricia, Beverly, John III, Garry, Linda, Gilda, Kenneth, and Brenda.
In 1943, John was drafted into the United States Army, Fort Bliss, Texas. Shortly thereafter during World War II, he would be stationed overseas. His first tour of duty would take him to France. While serving in France his duties would consist of delivering cargo to combat missions under adverse conditions. John returned home safe and sound but would lose a brother, Frank in the war.
After the war ended John returned home to his wife and children. He then would begin to play his favorite game of baseball. He would play for several local major baseball teams in El Paso. Because of his versatility, John played both pitcher and outfielder. He influenced two of his close friends Jeff Jefferson and Dupree, to join him on several local teams, as well as his brother-in-law Howard Person. They would later become the four best black players in El Paso. John was also an avid die-hard Dodger Blue Fan win or lose as far back as the original Brooklyn Dodgers before they became the LA Dodgers. He enjoyed watching the games while drinking his "El Cheapo" which is the name he gave to the least expensive beer on sale.
In the late fifties, John, Eleanor, his sister-in-law Irma Brown, and his mother-in-law Ethel Person became co-owners of a small family restaurant called Palladium.
Soon after the late fifties and early sixties, John would retire from the Southern Pacific Railroad in El Paso. In 1963, once again John would relocate his family to Los Angeles, California.
Patricia would be the first daughter to marry and have John and Eleanor's first granddaughter. Eleanor would live to see only three of their children married, Michael, Patricia, and Beverly. From these marriages, she only held love, and spoil four of their grandchildren.
In February of 1967, Eleanor would succumb to breast cancer at the early age of 45. While in Los Angeles John worked long and hard hours to provided for his large family. He worked at Crown Car Wash with his eldest son Michael and his son-in-law Benjamin Armstrong. He worked in Beverly Hills as a doorman for the Beverly Glen Postal Service for over fifteen years before he retired.
John was a very strong, brave, and courageous man. He had a brilliant mind and memory. He hung on until the very end, even when the doctor gave up on him.
He was preceded in death by Eleanor Williams (First Wife), John Williams III (Son)Susan Oliver (Stepdaughter), Nina Williams (Last Wife), and Michael Williams (Son). John leaves to cherish his memory, his children: Patricia Armstrong,(Benjamin), Beverly McCrimmon, Linda Claxton, Gilda Williams, Garry Williams, Kenneth Williams, Brenda barton (Edwar) and John Oliver; one sister: Annie Brown; one sister-in-law Evelyn Williams; twenty-five grandchildren; forty great-grandchildren; twenty-two great-great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of relatives and dear friends both near and far.
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