Richard R. ‘Dick' Williams, 63, of 16 Van Hoesen St., Cortland, passed away in the Cortland Regional Medical Center on Monday, February 4, 2008.
He was born April 26, 1944 in Auburn, NY, a son of the late Ralph and Lois St. John Williams.
At the age of 9, Dick began what would become a lifelong love of swimming. He swam under the legendary coach James "Doc" Councilman. At age 13, he followed "Doc" to train at the Indianapolis Athletic Club. His accomplishments as a swimmer were vast; Junior Olympic National records, National Prep School records and still holds a record he set while at Peekskill Military Academy. In 1960, Dick narrowly missed a spot on the Olympic Swim Team, placing 8th in the finals.
He took a coaching job at the Cortland YMCA in 1968 and from there "The Stingers" were born. He held the position of Director for 40 years and over those years became nationally known for his coaching talents. His achievements and awards were numerous, most notably as the National Coach of Year, but his greatest accomplishment was molding hundreds and hundreds of children in the Cortland area to be the best they could be, in the water and out.
Dick was also the coordinator for several years of the Senior Empire State Games swimming events. In 2004, Dick was recognized by the Cortland Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow. He loved to play golf and travel, enjoyed a good poker game with the guys and was a devoted New York Giants fan.
He was employed for more than 35 years at Emerson Power Transmission in Ithaca, where he was a traffic manager.
Surviving him is his wife of 43 years, Jo Anne Bowker Williams; a son, Anthony M. (Hollis) Williams of Wilmington, DE; a daughter, Kimberlee A. Eckhardt of Homer; two grandchildren, Madysen and Nicholas Eckhardt and a brother, William C. (Phyllis) Williams of Cortland. Also surviving are his nephews, Seth (Helen) Williams of Manchester, NH, Christopher (Jennifer) Williams of Savannah, GA and Scott Williams of Cortland, a great nephew, Jonah Williams, several brother and sister-in-laws and nieces and nephews on Jo Anne's side of the family, aunts and cousins and his dog "Speedo".
Funeral services will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at the Donald L. Barber Funeral Home, 5016 N. Main St., Homer, with the Rev. R. Daniel DeLorme officiating. Interment in Glenwood Cemetery will be delayed until spring.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 5-8 p.m.
Those wishing to honor Mr. Williams in the form of a memorial contribution are asked to consider the Richard R. Williams Swim Trust, c/o Cortland County Family YMCA, 22 Tompkins St., Cortland, NY 13045.