Robert Worth Williams entered his eternal rest on the morning of August 10, 2022 after a brief illness. Surrounded by loved ones, his last days were filled with laughter, tears of joy and recollections without regret. He looked forward to joining his beloved wife of sixty years, Penny Norwood Williams, in the life beyond. Her wit, intelligence, and steadfast devotion to her family and friends facilitated Bob’s endeavors at every turn; their mutual support of one another was inspirational.
Bob entered this life at Rex hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 22, 1936. Born prematurely and weighing less three pounds at birth, he beat the odds and enjoyed a long and healthy life of 86 years. He was predeceased by his parents Robert ‘Red” Chamblee Williams and Mildred Elizabeth ‘Lib’ Moore Williams; in-laws George Dee Norwood and Ruby Penny Norwood; brother-in-law Ronald George Norwood, and Penny, who passed in May of 2021.
He is survived by his daughter Karla Ann Williams of Raleigh; son George Chamblee Williams (Sarah) of Lexington, Kentucky; sister-in-law Georgia Liles; brother-in-law Ersell Liles; grandchildren Elizabeth Hunter Doby, William Norwood Doby and Gray Lambert Doby of Raleigh, Julia Guerry Williams and George “Bud” Capers Williams of Lexington, Kentucky; nephew Ronald Steven Norwood (Gretchen) of Raleigh, nieces Laura Smith (Vince) of Bozeman, Montana, Vicki Shute (David) and Allison Bailey (Michael) of Raleigh; six grand nieces and nephews.
A devout Christian, Bob entered the faith at the age of twelve and later became a member of Bayleaf Baptist Church. He served as Deacon for a time and the Church was to remain an important facet of his life.
A gifted athlete, Bobby, as he was known in his younger years, scored the very first touchdown in Millbrook High School history, an 85 yard kickoff return. That very night he went on his first date with Penny Norwood; they were to be inseparable for 67 years.
After graduating from Millbrook, Bob attended Chowan College in Bertie county, North Carolina on a football scholarship. Injuries ended his football career and he later attended Campbell College (University) and Wake Forest University before entering military service as a medic with the Army Reserve in Germany in 1957. It was during his time in Germany that he learned to play the game of golf which prepared him well for his professional life, as many of his business relationships were formed and nurtured on the golf course. He also gained an appreciation for fine clothes and was a snazzy dresser throughout his professional life. He could even be counted on in his retirement years to break out the fancy duds whenever the occasion arose. However, his sartorial efforts were often eclipsed by those of his wife Penny, who was a force to be reckoned with when it came to style.
After his military service, Bob began his career with the Carolina Builders Corporation, a local building supply company, while continuing his education at North Carolina State University. A year after he joined Carolina Builders, he and Penny would marry. He would remain with the company, through its various permutations, for some 42 years, and was instrumental in facilitating and guiding the company’s growth from a small regional endeavor to a nationwide industry-leading behemoth. He rose to the level of senior executive, retiring in 2001.
Although a serious and dedicated businessman, Bob had another side to him that friends and family will remember fondly. He loved absolutely everything about the Christmas season and was known to begin its celebration earlier and earlier each year. Penny drew the line one year when he put the tree up before Halloween. He was also a passionate collector of antique toys, amassing an impressive collection that he loved to share with family and friends.
In retirement he curtailed his toy collecting habits to a degree. However, his love of Christmas blossomed further. He had trees up year round amongst his toy collection in the basement and spent countless hours creating decorations by hand to give to family and friends. After Penny passed, he moved into an independent living facility at Magnolia Glen in Raleigh. He quickly made many new friends and shared with them his love of the holiday season, earning the nickname “Mr. Christmas”. He also enjoyed writing fictional ‘narratives’; some revolving around his family life, others incorporating details of his new friend’s lives. His last narrative, only partially completed, was dedicated to his Penny and entitled “A Second Christmas Without You”. Alas, there would be but one.
Bob perfected the art of balancing his professional and family life. A loving, compassionate and steadfast father, husband and friend, he will be missed. Memorials can be made to Transitions LifeCare at 250 Hospice Dr. Raleigh, NC 27607.
Bright Funeral Home is caring for this family. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 1st, 11:00 a.m. at Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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