Birth Date: 09/06/1933
Deceased Date: 05/08/2018
Dr. Norwood Williams passed away on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at SECU Hospice house after a four-year battle of dementia. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, May 11, 2018 in the chapel of McLaurin Funeral Home with the interment following at Powhatan Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery. Dr. Norwood Williams is survived by his wife of 40 years, Dr. Kristin Williams and their 52-year old son Kevin Williams who currently resides in the Monarch Group Home for the developmentally disabled in Pine Level. His first son, Timothy Grant Williams, died in 1964 at the age of eighteen months. He is also survived by one sister, Nelda Williams Barnes, and one brother, Charles Williams and numerous nieces and nephews. Also surviving is their 18 year old Maine Coon cat, Rachel Antionette Williams, who is a significant and special member of the family.
Dr. Norwood Williams has spent 50 years in the field of mental health. He has been a pioneer in the field of mental retardation having started vocational rehabilitation programs for the mentally retarded in three states – North and South Carolina and Maryland. He ended his public service career in Washington, DC as the Director of Counseling Services nationwide in the Veterans Administration.
In this position, he led a task force to write and implement the 1980 GI Bill – “The Education and Rehabilitation Act of 1980” with the focus on providing services to Vietnam Veterans who suffered from Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Prior to his retirement in 1995, Dr. Williams had a successful counseling practice for 20 years in Maryland specializing in treating children and young adults with mental disabilities.
Norwood has been most publicly recognized in establishing non – profit 501(c) (3) for serving as the President of each – the Wilson’s Mills Alumni Association (WMSAA) in Year 2000 and the Service the Need in Johnston County (STNinJC) in year 2009. From year 2011 to 2014 he has also served as the President of the Mental Health Association in Johnston County.
Throughout Dr. Williams’s entire career he has been recipient of numerous special awards. To name a few — In 1977, he received the “State Senate Citizen Award” in recognition of 12 years of dedicated service to mentally disabled persons in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1986, he was awarded the “Channel 13 Gold Star Award” as Psychologist of the Year in tribute to serving physically and sexually abused children in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2011, he was presented a “Humanitarian Award” by the WMSAA for his community service in helping those with unmet needs. In June 2011 he was named “Tar heel of the Week” in the News and Observer in recognition of his community service in leading initiatives for the poor, elderly, disabled, and veterans in Johnston County. In 2012, he was twice awarded the “Rotarian of the Month” for his leadership in establishing a Speaker’s Program. In August 2013, he was selected for the “2013 Vision of Hope Award” for outstanding community work and leadership. In December 2013, he was presented a “Humanitarian Award “by STNinJC” as Founder and First President of STNinJC and through whose vision of hope the needs of countless Johnston County citizens have been met.
The attributes best demonstrated by Norwood was vision, vitality, determination, selflessness, and generosity. He possesses an extraordinary ability to build partnerships with organizations and churches, among others, to help solve social problems and to mobilize others to develop a spirit of volunteerism. He exemplifies the values and attributes of a community servant as a leader, organizer, innovator, advocate, and mentor. Dr. Williams’s strength is well reflected in a tribute which appears on the most recent Humanitarian Award presented to him by STNinJC where he is described as a “Bridge Builder”.
His legacy resides in the words of Will Allen Dromgoole in his poem “The Bridge Builder”.
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
‘Old man,’ said a fellow – pilgrim near,
‘Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm deep and wide;
Why build you this bridge at even’ tide? ‘
‘Good friend, in the path I have come’, he said,
‘There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way,
This chasm that has been naught to me,
To that fair-headed youth may a pitfall be;
He too, must cross in the twilight dim –
Good friend, I am building this bridge for Him
Special thanks are extended for the loving care provided to Norwood by the Nurses on the 3rd floor of the Johnston Memorial Hospital and to the compassionate staff at the SECU Hospice House in Smithfield, NC.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Serve the Need in Johnston County at 24 Noble Street, Smithfield, NC 27577, or to Wilson’s Mills Alumni Association at Post Office Box 429, Wilson’s Mills, NC 27593. Online condolences may be made to the Williams family at www.mclaurinatpincrest.com. Arrangements are with McLaurin Funeral Home, Clayton.