Wednesday, 10 December 2014


                                    1935 - 2014

 Collated and edited by his cousin John Williams from contributions from his family, relatives and friends and given at his funeral by his cousin Geoffrey Spencer at St Pius X Church, Alderley Edge, on December 10

This is a collection of memories and anecdotes from just a few of Tony’s family, relatives and friends. But it reflects the thoughts of the many and surely captures the spirit of him on this very sad occasion.
Tony catching  the cod
I am sure Tony would not want us to grieve today but to celebrate his life in remembrance of him with a smile, a laugh and the belief that he has not really left us.
 He would like us to think he is off on one of those adventures he so dearly loved and enjoyed – even though in more recent years he was plagued by ill-health.
This he fought with fortitude to the end, and it never stopped  Tony from being the individual he was – his own man, loving, caring of family and for others, and without doubt one of life’s true gentlemen.
Tony was one of the “gang” of very close cousins who had an exciting and somewhat wild childhood during the war years.
And what he gained in life experience and excitement along with his companions more than made up for the lack of our formal education.
He overcame this by virtue of his innate intellect, inquisitive nature, good humour and a determination to succeed.
 On one particular adventure in the woods near our homes at Dane Bank, then an isolated pocket of just pre-war houses in Denton, he shot me in the thumb accidentally during practising with an air pistol.
“Oops! Silly place to put your thumb, Geoff.” was his comment, unfazed by the bloodied appendage.
His stint as a National Serviceman in the Royal Corps of Signals fitted him well to tackle his future career as a time-served electrician and in electronics later in life.
National Service
Along with his brothers Raymond and Bernard, he helped to build a thriving gaming and nightclub business in the heart of Manchester. One of their clubs, the Portland Lodge, was among the first in the city to be licensed for gambling and was the centre for the local glitterati.
Tony was no stranger to life’s ups and downs and the early death of his wife, Dorothy (Dot), was a tragic loss.
He took pride in the achievements of his children – Heather, Michael and Vicky – throughout his life as a great, loving dad.
He dearly loved his grandchildren Nadine, Matisse and Natasha, always interested in their exploits, who they were dating, what they were up to at work.
And he was so proud of little Amelie his great grandchild.
 Even when he was struck by failing health some 20 years ago, he battled on to make a recovery, and late in life he could well have become a pro-golfer such was his will to succeed. He became a member of Lymm Golf Club where his name was a regular feature on the match board, and he was justly proud of the trophies and the ties he was awarded for getting a hole in one, incredibly twice!
One personal little anecdote I must recall is during my own service in the military at NATO headquarters in Germany.To my astonishment, I found Tony with Bernard on the doorstep when I answered a ring at the door – asking the way to Crown Point which is, of course, is in Denton!We then spent many hours reminiscing and eating out on their Diners Club Card.
John, among the cousins, was probably closer to Tony in his final years than most, and he became a regular part of his family life.
No holiday or event was planned without including Tony and John’s friends became his friends, too.They often went together to Portugal where, naturally, Tony soon found golfing soul-mates, as well as yet another circle of friends to delight with his after dinner  wit and banter.
Without Tony, says John, no trip was complete, and at home if Emma or Adrian had a problem, such as an electrical failure or mechanical breakdown, it was Tony who repaired the fault with the box of tools always kept in his car boot.
He was the ultimate Mr Fixit!
He will be missed, too, by John’s grandchildren, Hugh and Joseph, with whom he enjoyed more of a grandfather figure than a favourite uncle.
His brother Bernard remembers that only a few months before his final illness how Tony, having suffered a stroke, travelled to his home in Kent when he heard he was unwell.
“He got me up and about and on the go, and soon I felt much better,” says Bernard.
“But it was just like him – all his life he helped to cheer me up as well as other people when he felt they were a little down. He was that kind of caring person”
Bernard also recalls one of Tony’s adventures when, on a whim, he decided to drive him to the south of France in his wife’s Triumph Spitfire.
They got turned over by the customs on their return looking for contraband – but it is not recorded what Dot said about his absence.
 Tony’s great love of children was that rare gift to relate to youngsters at their own level – he was something of a Peter Pan character even into his seventies and given any opportunity he would kick a ball around a field with the liveliest of them!
Maurice Weaver and his wife, Patsy, who met Tony as the result of their friendship with John, remember him as a gentleman in the true and literal sense of the word.
“We all grew older but nothing about Tony seemed to change,” says Maurice.
“We knew nothing about his personal circumstances and maybe there was a hint of sadness behind his smile, but he clearly loved being part of the family. Yes, we will miss Tony on our visits to the north.”
Exploring Australia
Family member Andrew Hewitt, has an abiding memory of Tony more than 25 years ago when he got talked into spending a holiday in the Algarve with his future wife and the golden oldies in the family, Tony among them.
Andrew says it might have been thought a strange decision for a couple in their twenties to join such a party.
But far from it they had the most delightful and amusing holiday anyone could imagine.
 “There at the very heart of it – usually clutching a glass of red wine and extolling the virtues of the food just enjoyed –was the most charming man you could ever wish to meet – Tony Williams
“I remember being captivated about how someone so quietly spoken and unassuming generated such a natural warmth and bonhomie in those around him.
“I realise now that was Tony’s great gift – to brighten the lives of everyone around him.”
Andrew’s dad, Richard, says Tony was typical of the older generation of the Williams family and reminded him of his uncle Edgar, a quiet confident man always there with advice or a helping hand, and lovely in every respect.
Peter Yates, a cousin who entertained Tony’s company aboard his fishing launch off the Essex coast, recalls how he once discussed the benefits of keeping chickens when Tony fancied himself as a bit of farmer at his home in Mobberley.
“I asked him how it felt to have home produced free range eggs and with typical wit he said ‘I don’t really know. I can never find them. I don’t know about free range – my buggers are long range’”.
Well, I suppose these few memories in tribute to Tony are a mere second in time of the 79 years in which he packed several lifetimes and touched the lives of many.
Champion golfer
But what was on the box was not only what you got with Tony. Inside was a great bonus and a genuine love, not only for his immediate family and their children but for all with whom he came into contact.
We have all been privileged to have known him.

God bless you, son, and Rest in Peace….

1 comment: