Obituary of Jay G. Williams
Dr. Jay G. Williams, of Preswick Glen in New Hartford ended his earthly journey and began a new one on the solstice, June 21, 2023. The son of the late Rev. Jay G. Williams and Mary Craig Williams, Jay was born in 1932 in Rome, New York, where he attended a one room school house until the 8th grade. He graduated from RFA in 1950.
Jay grew up on Williams Road and spent much of his childhood working on the family farm on Turin Road with his uncle Dan Craig. He delivered milk in the City of Rome for the Craighurst Dairy. Although he attended the Rome Methodist Church, he was raised as a Quaker, as his family, the Craig family, was very active in the local Friends Meeting.
He held degrees from Hamilton College (A.B.), Union Theological Seminary of New York (M. Div.), and Columbia University (Ph.D.). He was ordained to the ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Rome. He later served as an interim pastor at Moriah Presbyterian Church in Utica and at the Welsh Congregational Church of New York City. In 1956 he married Dr. Hermine Weigel. They made their home on College Hill in Clinton and were married for 62 years.
His first job after seminary was as the director of the ministry in the National Parks which allowed him and Hermine to travel the country. Beginning in 1960, he taught Religious Studies at Hamilton College, where he served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies and director of Asian Studies. His most popular course was “Time, Space and Power.” He was also a constant presence at Hamilton basketball games and in its weight room. In 2011, he retired as Walcott-Bartlett Professor emeritus. He was the author of numerous books and many scholarly articles. His extensive collection of nineteenth-century illustrations by Thomas Nast, Winslow Homer, and Frederick Remington, among others, was exhibited in a number of major art galleries.
He was an active member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Utica where he made many good friends. He was a world traveler, archaeologist, poet, author, minister, teacher and baseball enthusiast, but above all a loving husband and father.
He is survived by his children, Jay G. Williams III, Esq. (Kim), Lynn Marie Cooper, Amedee Daryl Williams (Karen), Ruth Christine Williams (partner Will Madden); grandchildren, Dr. Thomas E. Williams (Rachel), Elizabeth C. Williams (Caleb Muller), Rebecca Williams (fiancé John Dorer), Andrew Cooper, Christopher Cooper, Ryan Cooper (Kristi), Kurtis Williams, Dylan J. Williams; step-grandchildren Clayton Walsh, Sean Dunker, and Hannah Dunker; and one great grandchild, Levin Stanley Williams, who recently traveled from his home in Australia to meet him. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his wife Hermine (2018), step father Luther E. Olson and brother and step brothers Craig Williams and Robert and Eric Olson.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 11:00am in the Hamilton College Chapel followed by a reception with light refreshments in the Dwight Lounge. "Will there be more? Let's wait and see."
In Loving Memory
1932 - 2023
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