N.A. Williams mourns loss of chairman emeritus
Industry veteran Neal Williams, chairman emeritus of the N.A. Williams Co., died on Feb. 14. He was 78.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our esteemed and beloved leader, Neal Williams,” says Roger McCollum, CEO and president of N.A. Williams. “It is impossible to speak of Neal other than in superlatives. A true gentleman, he was kind, generous and possessed great personal charm. All who knew him were drawn to him. His encouragement, counsel and wisdom will be greatly missed. While we have lost a great mentor and friend, his sterling qualities will live on and continue to inspire us.”
After attending the University of Georgia and serving in the U.S. Army, Williams joined N.A. Williams Company in 1959, the firm founded by his father in 1934. During a career that spanned more than 50 years, Williams led the company to become one of the top manufacturers’ representative firms in North America. Widely respected for his integrity, fairness and achievement, Williams is a renowned figure in the automotive aftermarket industry.
In 2009, Williams was presented with the Martin Fromm Lifetime Achievement award by the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA). In 2010, N.A. Williams Company was recognized as the Georgia mid-size Family Business of the Year. He received the Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader Award in 2012.
Active in both industry and civic causes, Williams served on the board of governors and manufacturers’ council of AWDA. He was a deacon at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and a trustee at Darlington and Trinity Schools.
Williams’ survivors include his wife of 56 years Virginia, his children Neal Jr. (Sarah), Mary Fleming, Ridley (Beth) and Chris (Kendrick). He was a doting grandfather to twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His three sons and two of his grandsons serve in the family business.
A memorial service honoring Neal Williams will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.