Thomas Julian Williams, much better known as Tommy, died March 12, 2021 at his home on Bainbridge Island, WA after a long and persistent illness. He is survived by his wife Mary; his daughter, Brandi and spouse Renni Bispham; his stepdaughter Jennifer Ely and spouse Andrew Walker; his stepson, Mark and spouse Kimberlee Ely; his sisters Judy McClendon and Barbara Howse; and seven grandsons: Spencer, Nicholas, Carter, Max, Zachary, Jeremiah and Theo, all of whom he called the “family gold”.
More importantly, his death was preceded by a very successful “big” life, full of people he enjoyed and who enjoyed him – who can ask for more? At Whitehaven High School outside Memphis,TN he was very active and always a leader, participating in drama, debate, honoraries and football topped by the fact that he was chosen by his fellow students as the Senior Graduation Speaker. However, his favorite high school experience was when Elvis Presley and his cronies pulled up to a local football field and asked if they could play pick-up football with Tommy and his friends – that story was told many, many, many times.
A football scholarship took him to Mississippi State University. This he lost his freshman year when the coach told him to get bigger or faster and he couldn’t figure out how to do either. So he joined ROTC, which covered his tuition. He really enjoyed MSU—he was a freshman class officer, a distinguished student and became a member of Sigma Chi. His senior year, he attended the University of Tennessee Law School. However, after a course in Contracts he learned that a law degree involved a lot more than Perry Mason in the courtroom, and decided Law wasn’t for him. Upon graduation, Tommy was immediately commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and hired by IBM as a salesman.
Discharged with a Bronze Star after a demanding year in Vietnam, Tommy reentered the world of sales of some of the first commercial computers. Over time, he worked for a number of the major companies, leaving a trail of sales and good friends behind him.
After many moves that followed job opportunities, Tommy and his wife moved to Bainbridge Island—Tommy felt at home. He spent countless hours golfing with friends at Wing Point Golf and Country Club, his absolute favorite thing to do. He loved the Club and served as a Board Member.
March 12th, Tommy left this world. The “Southern Gentleman” with his big voice, big smile and big personality
will be missed by many.