A grand celebration was held for two fathers — one, the patriarch, and the other his son. Long-time Waxahachie resident R.C. Williams, 84, was surrounded by four generations of family to celebrate his life and contributions to his family and the community.
Along with R.C., his son, Bishop Eric Williams, was honored for his contributions and dedication to continuing his father’s faith and service.
The Fellowship Hall of the World Life Inter Denominational Church was filled with family and friends for Sunday afternoon to celebrate R.C.’s 55 years of service as a community leader and advocate.
Arranging and organizing the celebration was Linda Robertson, the church’s administrator.
“Approximately 70 percent of the people here are direct family members of R.C.,” Robertson said. “Every year the family gets together for a Father’s Day dinner. This year, we all wanted to do something really big to show how much we really appreciate him.”
Joining R.C. were his family members, Eric of Desoto, Anton of Atlanta, Georgia, Pauline Hunter and Vera Newton, both from Dallas.
R.C., born in Bastrop County, came to Waxahachie in 1944 and began working as a sharecropper, growing cotton.
“This is where I wanted to live and raise my family,” R.C. said.
Later, he went to work with Austin Bridge when he retired at age 60.
While raising four boys and four girls, R.C. was dedicated and faithful to his church, the Friendship Baptist Church in Waxahachie.
“This is the church I raised by children in,” R.C. said.
R.C.’s son Eric remembered growing up with his father and siblings.
“He always stressed three things: Respect to our parents and others, education and being true to our church,” Eric said “It was an unspoken requirement that we went to church every Sunday and Wednesday for BTU (Baptist Training Union). This is where I got my roots as a Christian that led me to the ministry.
“A lot of his rearing and teachings going into my teen years worked. I see a lot of my dad’s guidance for me taking on a more spiritual life. I have to credit my dad for that foundation,” Eric said.
Joshua, grandson of R.C., and Eric’s son, said he sees his own growth from his dad through his grandfather.
“A lot of my spiritual values and growth has been passed on to me. He had a great influence in me,” Joshua said.
During the service, Joshua performed a mime expressive dance performance dedicated to his grandfather.
“My father started all of this before I was born. I feel I’ve have been on a great spiritual journey that started with my father, Early Williams, while growing up in Bastrop County. He was devoted to what he believed in and a real religious person,” R.C. said of his rearing and the values that he learned that he has passed onto his children.
During the ceremony, both R.C. and Eric received testimonies about how they helped people with daily living and the start of their spiritual journey.
“He took me in, gave me a place to live, saw that I went to school and graduated,” one speaker said of Eric.
Eric learned from his father, the value of being a father to others. Robertson read from a biography telling where R.C. would help anyone who came to his door whether it be for money, to buy milk or bread for their baby, transportation or a place to stay during their times of difficulties.
“He has taken in his home five children in addition to his own four, whose parents were unable to care for them. He raised these five children along with his four without any government support,” Robertson said.
For his dedication to friends, R.C. received a Bible from long-time friend and fellow deacon Richard Donaldson.
“Before he passed a way, he asked that R.C. be given this Bible,” Donaldson said giving the leather covered Bible to Williams
One of the recognitions presented to R.C. was recognition from the city of Waxahachie by Mayor Ken Strength, for R.C.’s 55 years of service to the community as a community leader and advocate to families.
A second recognition was a combined certificate for the Friendship Church Baptist Church and the Interdenominational Church for his service as a deacon for 51 of the 55 years he has been a member.
R.C. was also presented a certificate of recognition from the state of Texas and Governor Rick Perry for his continued service to the community.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Eric’s life ands community service was also recognized with testimonies and gifts of thanks. A certificate of recognition for The State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry was presented to Eric.
In his closing statement, R.C. told his guests: ‘It is very important that you stand up and be strong in what you believe.”
Making comments for advice to fathers raising children today, “This generation is not understanding. But when we give advice, back it up with scripture,” R.C. said.
When asked what life lesson he has to the younger generation, he said: “You must hold your peace. Stop running your mouth like a dog, running after a rabbit. But do what brings you joy and peace.”
Closing, R.C. told the guests, “I want to give honor to God for the many blessings I have received in my life and for my family.”