Albert Van Gould Williamson, Jr., 75, passed away on Sunday, May 9, 2021 at home surrounded by his family. He had fought a short but brave battle against cancer.
Van was born on December 23, 1945 in Eastman, GA to the late Albert Van Gould Williamson, Sr. and Naomi Grace Duncan Williamson.
He spent most of his early years in Maryville, TN. His mother was very talented in playing the piano and so music became a big part of his life. At the end of his sophomore year, he decided to follow family tradition of attending military academies and finished his junior and senior year at Kentucky Military Institute in Lyndon, Kentucky. After graduation, he moved back home to attend Maryville College. During college, he was a member of the college choir which toured the country. One of the most memorable stops was at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Van could trace his family ancestry back to 1865 when his great-great-great grandfather built the first building at the corner at Cherry Street and Northwest Broad Street. His mother and maternal grandmother were avid genealogists, so he was raised on learning the history of his family and Wayne County. He brought to life his family ancestry and extensive knowledge of history in the vivid stories that captivated his children and grandchildren.
Van worked many years for J.C. Penney, managing retail stores and relocating several times as the position required. While managing the store in Goodlettsville, TN, he met and married his soul mate and the love of his life, Susan Lynn Holt. After marriage, Van and Sue decided to move to St. Simon’s Island to help his parents manage the family corporations dealing with commercial real estate. In 1982, Van moved his family to Jesup when another business opportunity was available. Later bought the local Western Auto franchise, which he operated successfully for many years. Later in his working career, he oversaw the building of several residential homes and managed the renovation and construction projects including the design and construction of the rebuilding of the Whaley Center building in downtown Jesup that was destroyed by fire in 2014.
Van loved being with his children and grandchildren and sharing the knowledge he had acquired in his life with them. He was an avid shooter who loved teaching the art of shooting as well as gun safety to his students. Van coached the 4-H .22 rifle team for many years where they competed and won countless competitions. He also coached the Tri-County Gun Club Youth Shotgun team. In 1998, he watched one of his sons take a gold medal in 410 shotgun skeet shooting competition in Georgia’s Junior Olympic games. He also volunteered as an assistant baseball coach. In his spare time, he loved collecting stamps, continued to look for more ancestors of his and Sue’s family, and watched movies. He and his father had been avid duck hunters and would travel to the bayous of Louisiana annually until his father’s health started failing. Later in life, he and Sue enjoyed looking for hidden treasure with metal detectors. He was a longtime communicant of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He was a 51 year Master Mason in the Rockford Tennessee Masonic Lodge #469 F&AM.
Van is survived by his wife of forty-two years, Sue Williamson, three sons, Albert Van (Trey) Gould Williamson III, Graham Williamson, Pate (Aimee) Williamson, and five grandchildren, Samantha Williamson, Isabel Gonzales, Elijah Gonzales, Charlotte Williamson, and Norah Williamson, special cousins Jeannie Tyre and Sherry Mauldin, and many additional cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Howard & Jones Funeral Home in Jesup with the Reverend Nathan Wilson officiating. A reception will follow the services at the funeral home.
The family would like to thank the following for the loving care given to Van: Dr. Lance Hendrix and staff, Dr. Doug Mullins and staff, Dr. Jon Simmons and staff, Dr. Patrick Karl and staff, Dr. Bulbul and staff, Dr. Mark Manocha and staff, Dr. Gary Stern & staff and the staff of Community Home Care.
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