Monday, October 29, 2007

Stick a Fork in Him

Gallows humor, I know, but I think he would've laughed at it. He's not dead yet, but it'll be any second now.........

My dad is no longer "tolerating" kidney dialysis, therefore the doctors are no longer performing the procedure on him. His heartrate is down to 40-50 bpm. He will die tonight or tomorrow. My colleagues here at Coker College have graciously offered to cover my classes for me so I can go be with my mom.

I spent the morning writing my dad's obituary, before I knew that it would be today or tomorrow. Tell me what you think.........please.

John McLarty Williams Jr., “Johnny Mac” to his family, CEO of Efolder, Inc., died October 30, 2007 at Emory Hospital of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease; he was 57. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Laura of Acworth, GA; his children Mac of Hartsville, SC and Susanna of Moss Beach, CA; his parents John M. Williams Sr. & Norma Williams of Moreland, GA; his sister Sherry Connell of Gordon, GA; his sister Connie Craig of Moreland, GA; his grandchildren Marley Xiomara and John McLarty Williams IV, “Jack,” who will greatly miss their “Pappy Mac”; his aunts Harriet Jensen of Newnan, GA, Glenna Blair of Sacramento, CA, and Artie Blair of Somewhere, CA; his uncle Loren of Winston-Salem, NC; his father-in-law Raymond Buckner of Canton, GA; his favorite daughter-in-law Mickelle; many nieces and nephews, scores of cousins, hundreds of friends, and countless colleagues and business associates.

Johnny Mac was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 11, 1950. He grew up on Baxter Road in Hapeville, GA, playing with his good friends Freddie Henderson of Dallas, GA and Ted Jordan of San Antonio, TX. He graduated high school from Woodward Academy in 1968. After an abortive attempt at a football career at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1969 he enlisted in the US Navy, and in December of 1969 he married his high school sweetheart Laura Ellen Buckner. He served in Vietnam, Sicily, Scotland, New Jersey, and Charleston, SC as a Naval Minesman/EOD Technician.

After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1972, he returned to Samford to pursue a degree in Accounting with a minor in Computer Science. While at Samford, he and Laura had their first child, John McLarty Williams III, in 1973. At Samford, Johnny Mac became lifelong friends with Burt Luce of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; through the years they spent innumerable days together sailing around the Bahamas and the Florida Coast.

After graduating from Samford, Johnny Mac worked in a family business as a professional apiculturist, raising honeybees and making honey. In January of 1980, he and Laura celebrated the birth of their beautiful daughter Susanna Marie. After three years of drought in the early 1980’s and the removal of tariffs against imported honey ruined the bee business, he found that his interest in computer science in college served him well in the emerging personal computer market of the 1980s. He would spend most of that decade commuting between Atlanta and California as he worked for various companies, including Vice President of Sales for Eagle Computer.

Tiring of the strain of constantly traveling, in 1990 Johnny Mac founded his own company, SafeNet, Inc., and worked in the Atlanta area during the bulk of the 1990s. In the last few years, he devoted all of his talents to the growth of his new enterprise, the now-thriving Efolder, Inc., along with his business partners Bill Gross of Sandy Springs, GA, Lyn Christensen of Kennesaw, GA, and Kevin Hoffman of West Lafayette, IN.

Johnny Mac was a member of the Allatoona Ward of the Marietta East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving as the Ward Clerk up until his illness no longer allowed him to fulfill his duties. He had a personal testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and that families can be together forever through Our Heavenly Father’s Plan.

An avid fishermen, often found sporting a cap that read “Women Love Me, Fish Fear Me,” if he could’ve, Johnny Mac would have spent every day of his life, save the Sabbath, fishing the waters of Apalachicola Bay, Florida. He enjoyed making music boxes and turning wood on a lathe with his good friend John Mitchell of Acworth, GA, playing with his grandchildren, and telling some of the most hyperbolic and wonderfully interesting stories you’ve ever heard. A true Southern storyteller, he had a knack for knowing how to spin a perfect yarn and make his audience erupt into laughter or tears.

Anytime there was a disaster, Johnny Mac would hurry to bring aid. He served as a volunteer firefighter in the Dillard, GA fire department. In 1992, he rushed to Homestead, Florida, after Hurricane Andrew struck, to help with the relief efforts. In his later years, somewhat limited physically, Johnny Mac still lent his organizational skills to relief efforts, bossing people around disaster areas from Pensacola, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana after hurricanes Ivan and Katrina ravaged those areas. He was still planning to go back to New Orleans to help people rebuild their homes when the disease caused him to slip from consciousness. He loved working with people, being part of a team (provided he got to tell people what to do), and he had an infectious enthusiasm that motivated others to do their best.

John McLarty Williams Jr., will be laid to rest in the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA. Funeral services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints chapel, 5095 Holt Rd NW Acworth, GA 30101. A wake/potluck dinner will be held for all at the LDS chapel immediately after the interment. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Coker College Endowment Fund, 300 E. College Ave., Hartsville, SC 29550.

Johnny Mac, you will be missed.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mac,
You might want to put in something somewhere about how your dad insisted that he could never be a racist or a bigot because he hated everybody.
In all seriousness, he was the quintessence of joviality and charm. What a fine soul he was.
your pal,
Norman

swampbaby said...

I'm so sorry, Mac. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I always feel very sad when I know people are grieving, because it is the worst feeling in the world.

I feel weird commenting on something so personal as this. But since you asked, I will offer an opinion. I think this is a beautiful tribute to him and definitely something you should keep and perhaps present at his services. But having written my sister's obituary and dealt with the newspapers concerning that, you will have to trim this down quite a bit for them to print it. (Unless your newspaper does not have the same restrications as the ones I worked with did). I would keep it concise and focus on the main points/facts you would want people to know - his family, his service, his entrepreneurialism, etc. And the church name should be The Church of ...instead of the Church of...

Again, you have our deepest sympathies.

The Fonnesbeck's said...

Mac, I am so sorry to hear the news. You have written an absolutely beautiful tribute to him. He would be so pleased and honored to hear such things about him. I can only imagine how you much be feeling. I empathize with you, your sister, your mom, and the rest of your family of course. We will pray for you and for your family to get through this with grace. At times like this, we all want the perfect words, but I think "we are thinking of you" will have to suffice. Hang in there and remember to cry when you need to.

Love, Erin

Paul Dunn said...

Mac,

I'd just like to share what kind of impact your father had on my life. Eight years ago, he practically begged me to come work for him and I turned him down. Three years after that, I really had wished I would have. He always showed me the utmost kindness, respect, and (for whatever reason) held me in the highest esteem. As you said, he had a way of motivating and challenging people, and perhaps I was afraid of his challenge.

He was always a prankster and a joker. One time he called me up claiming to be from the IRS. Like a true fisherman, he had me hook, line, and sinker. Who knew such an honest man could be so deceptive?

I know that life for you will not be the same now. But it does my heart well that you have accepted this and are ready to move on with this new chapter. I know that you will always try to uphold his integrity and character and that you will love life just as much as he ever did.

Your friend and his,
Paul

Anonymous said...

Dear Mac,
You Dad pulled my ass out of the fire when some kid put a virus in my computers at Radio Shack. He would not let me pay him.
He was a good man as is his son.
Norm's Dad,
Steve

jeff hinkle said...

I was just sitting here in my office thinking about my last meeting with your dad - it was about 3 weeks or so before he died - it must have been days before he was not functioning. We have missed him around here.

I hope all is well with your family.