Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Passing of a Friend and Former Colleague

This week a friend went home to glory. Charlie Williams, long-time coach at Ozark Christian College passed away this week after a sudden illness. We went to his visitation last night, and attended the funeral this morning. It was very well attended (an understatement indeed!), which is a testimony to how many lives he touched.

Bud Clapp and Randy Gariss officiated. Bud's message was taken from John 4, perhaps a strange text for a funeral message. In his message, he compared Charlie's simplicity as a coach, always sticking to the fundamentals (the ABCs) of the game, to Jesus' approach to the Samaritan Woman in the text.

He emphasized that in the text, Jesus (as did Charlie, in his life), stuck to the ABCs, by
  1. Making himself AVAILABLE to those that really had a need.
  2. BATTLING over things that were really important.
  3. Remaining COMMITTED to the will of God in all things.
College Heights played last night versus Diamond High School, and lost. The guys on the team wanted to play for Coach Williams. You can read the newspaper article about their defeat, which also pay tribute to Coach Williams, by clicking here. An earlier tribute, "Williams Left a Gentlemanly Mark", written by The Joplin Globe's Jim Fryar, is available here.

The video below was recorded from KODE TV (ABC affiliate) channel 12 local news on December 16.

The Obituary:

Charles R. "Charlie" Williams, age 67, of Carl Junction, MO passed away at 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin following a sudden illness.

Charlie was born September 27, 1942 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to Carl Junction in 1985 from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was a graduate of Midwest Christian College in Oklahoma City, and received his Master's Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Charlie servied in the U.S. Army, and then served 20 years in the Army National Guard. Charlie was employed as the Athletic Director, Men's Basketball, and Baseball Coach for College Heights Christian School in Joplin. He previously served as the Athletic Director, Men and Women's Basketball Coach, Women's Volleyball, and Baseball Coach at Ozark Christian College in Joplin. He also assisted with the Women's Basketball program at Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College. Charlie was a member of the Joplin Sport's Authority Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Basketball Coach's Hall of Fame. He led several of his teams to National Championships in various sports.

Charlie married Kim Wright August 17, 1979 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and she survives. Additional survivors include a daughter, Trisha Gage, and husband Harrison, Carl Junction, two sons, Charles R. Williams Jr., Webb City, MO, and Cody Williams, Carl Junction, one sister, Patricia Self, Claremore, OK, and one grandson, Gaven Williams, Carl Junction. He was preceded in death by a sister, Betty Burks.

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