Date: August 17, 2012
Author: Golf NSW

Vale Life Member Earl Williams

Golf NSW Life Member Earl Williams sadly passed away on Sunday, 12th August 2012. Earl is recognised for his involvement in golf from club level to national level. At one stage he served as the delegate to the Australian Golf Union. Many remember Earl&aposs many years of involvement as a NSWGA Board and Council Member, including the time he served as the NSWGA Vice President. His colleagues say he was the &aposheart of the Northern Rivers District Golf Association&apos. Earl served as the Northern Rivers DGA President for numerous years and was the driving force behind the Association. He was a great leader recognised by his peers. Even as a club member, Earl served as President of the Murrwillumbah Golf Club and awarded Life Membership to the Club. He was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contribution to golf. Earl was an extremely generous man and will be sadly missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to family and friends of Earl Williams.

Eulogy Earl Williams – August 17 2012

Alice, Bruce, Cindy, Lorraine, David, Members of the Williams Family, Family friends, Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I have been given the honor to say a few words on behalf of Alice, Bruce, Lorraine, and the Williams family, about the life and times of a much loved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Earl Williams. I first met Earl and his late brother Harry when I moved to Murwillumbah some 33 years ago, and purchased the Newsagency next to the Williams Store. Both Earl and Harry were the first of the local business people to offer my wife and I the hand of friendship and welcome us to the town. Over the years I came to respect and appreciate the fact, that Earl and his late brother Harry, had built a very successful business, by working together and establishing a relationship, built on family values, mutual trust and respect, despite their sometimes different, but yet complementary, personalities. Earl like his brother Harry leaves behind a legacy for the Williams family to be proud of, and for us to better understand, the significance of the Earl Williams Legacy, we must go back to when Earls dad, James Henry Williams, or Jim as he was known, migrated from England, and in the early 1920&aposs married a local girl, and then purchased a farm at Tyalgum, where Earl was born on the 29th October 1927. As history shows, in April1935, Jim Williams purchased a seed and produce store, from the Winterbon family, and as the business began to grow and expand, Jim was initially joined by his daughter Quida and Son Harry. Earl, who was the youngest member of the family, was still at school, and had aspirations to become an engineer, and on completing school, began working for the Power House in Murwillumbah. He later joined the firm of Partridge and Walker, where he worked for several years in the spare parts department. It was only when the Williams Family Business began to expand, and became involved in an International Harvesting Machinery Franchise, that Earl&aposs advice and input was sought, with the result that he was eventually enticed to join the family business. As history now shows, Earl, and his brother Harry had become the driving force behind the rapidly growing business and in1953, the brothers took over the company from their father, and the new family company of JH Williams & Sons Pty Ltd, was established. In the years that followed, the company continually expanded and diversified, but never strayed from the original concept of being a family business, working for the community, with integrity and honesty. Earl was known to say that part of his success in life was due to the love and support of the “local girl” he married. At 23 years of age and on the 9th of June 1951 Earl married Alice McDonald, and the arrangement was that Earl would be the bread winner, and Alice, the mother and carer of their children, an arrangement that not only stood the test of time, but now forms part of the legacy, of the success of the Williams family. One of Earls other passions, besides his family, and the Williams Business, was a love for the breeding of cattle, which initially began on the family property at Dallas Park in Murwillumbah, where he began breeding Hereford Simental Cross cattle, and in the 80s and 90s, resulted in him winning numerous awards at the Local, Northern Rivers and Casino shows, and culminated 1994 when he won a special award for the longest succession of wins, by any cattle breeder in the northern rivers region. Son Bruce tells the story, of how he remembers his dad Earl, and his Uncle Harry drinking the odd bottle or two of scotch, out of the Crystal Glasses, which were part of the trophies won by his dad&aposs successful breeding achievements. Earl was also involved in the exporting of locally bred Zebu Cattle to South East Asia, and on many occasions he would oversea the delivery of the shipment, by travelling with them on the Cargo Planes. Earl told the story that on one such trip, when they had landed and were delivering the cattle, he picked up some infection, and had a very high fever, so much so, that the only way he could bring his fever down, was to lie in a bath of cold water; the story goes that he was so scared of fainting, or dying in the bath, and missing the plane home, that he tied his big toe to the bath plug with a piece of string, so that if he fainted he wouldn&apost drown. One of Earls other passions was participating, promoting and growing the sport of Golf, and over the years his efforts were recognized on numerous occasions, by a number of golfing organizations, including the Australian and the NSW Golf Association&aposs; and after serving as Director and Vice President for a number of years was awarded Life Membership of the NSW Golf Association. Earl was also awarded Life Membership of the Murwillumbah Golf Club, where he holds the record for the longest serving board member, having served the club for 40 years. Earl was also a Life Member of the Northern Rivers District Golf Association, where he held the position of President for 20 years. Earl was also recognized for his contribution to sport, by the Australian Government Centenary Awards, leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, where he was one of the 20,000 recipients presented, with a Centenary medal, for his contributions to the sport of golf. Some of Earls other sporting interests included being a Director and Secretary of the Cudgen Football club, and a number of years involved in the operation of the Cudgen Headland Surf Club. In the 1970&aposs Earl and the Williams group were involved in finding a treatment for a Banana Leaf disease which was threatening the whole Tweed Banana industry. In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, they developed “a misting oil” which was initially sprayed over the banana plants by fixed wing aero planes. Earl and the Williams group further refined the product and the process, and initiated the use of helicopters to administer the chemical, a process which was later adopted by the Department of Ag, for the control of all major Banana crop diseases. Earl and Harry hosted many overseas delegates, at the family property in Murwillumbah, where they demonstrated their approach to treating tropical grass and legume diseases, with the result that many of the process now used overseas, are the result of work initiated by the Williams group, in Murwillumbah. Earl was also one of the inaugural Board Members of the Combined Rural Traders Buying Group (Known as Your Local Bloke from CRT) and served as a director for 20 years until1986, when he resigned as a director, as a result of the sale of the Williams Agricultural Store, to the Primae group. Earl, or EJ as he was also known, also loved a good time, and there were many a story of his escapades at the Imperial Hotel after cattle sales, and on other special occasions when he would invite main street staff, to share a drink at the Aussie Hotel, and the owners were so impressed, they aptly named one of their “bars” the “Williams Workers Bar”. These hotel and golf club outings, would also often involve a game or two of snooker or pool, and as the story goes, there were the odd occasions at the golf club, when games and drinking went beyond the closing times, and the manager Laurie Jenkins, would throw EJ the keys, and ask him to lock up when he was finished, as he was going to bed. Imagine trying to get away with that today. As Earl would say “They were the good old days”. Earl also loved a punt on the horses, and the BP/Williams Race Days, at the Murwillumbah Race Track, were legendary, with many of BP&aposS top executives flying in from Sydney, and even overseas, to be part of the special day&aposs activities, at the Murwillumbah BP Williams race day. I&aposm told the date was a fixture in every ones calendar for many years. Whilst Earl was passionate dedicated and committed to the development and success of the Williams Family business, he was also sensitive to the feelings and needs of others, and as such never liked to buy new and flashy cars, as he was always conscious of how people might perceive those actions. Son Bruce tells the story of how Earl brought daughter Lorraine, a push bike for one of her birthdays, and when she looked at it, she told her dad she was disappointed, because it didn&apost look new. Her dad responded by saying, that it was in good condition, and that he had had it spray painted, so that it looked new, because times were tough for the cane farmers, and for her to turn up at school with a new bike was inappropriate. Earls humility, was part of the complementary partnership, he shared with his brother Harry, and resulted in the success of the Williams Group of today, which employs some 250 staff, and where the range of services have grown to include; Paint, Hardware and Nursery products; Seed importing & exporting (Now exporting seeds to over 60 countries); Produce; Timber, Frames and Roof Truss Manufacturing; Light Machinery; Aluminum Windows Manufacturing; and, an extensive property portfolio. Whilst success can be measured in many ways, there is no doubt that Earl Williams, in his passing, leaves behind a legacy for which he, Alice and the Williams Family, current and future generations, can be truly proud of. In saying our last farewells to Earl, and on behalf of wife Alice and the Earl Williams family, I would like to sincerely thank all of Alice and Earls close friends in Murwillumbah and Lennox Heads, and especially neighbor John Stewart from Lennox Heads, for his caring friendship, and unending assistance, strength and commitment particularly, in the last few years, your efforts have been greatly appreciated by Alice and the family. On behalf of Alice and the Williams family, my sincere thanks to you all, for your attendance and compassion on this sad, but memorable occasion, I can assure you that your thoughts and attendance are much appreciated by Alice, and the family. Earl, May God Bless you, and May You Rest In Peace. Thank you Tom Senti