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Posted on: May 4, 2021

Ray Williams remembered as ‘first-class public servant’

Ray Williams

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. –  Retired Deputy Fire Chief Raimon E. “Ray” Williams Jr., who served the citizens of Clarksville for more than 30 years as a firefighter and as a senior leader of Clarksville Fire Rescue, died Friday, April 30, 2021. He was 61.

Mr. Williams was born at Fort Campbell, to Raimon E. Williams Sr. and Alma Jean Williams, while his father was stationed there with the US Army. He grew up in Clarksville and graduated from Northwest High School in 1977 and from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982. He served in the Army from 1983-87.

After his Army service, Mr. Williams returned to Clarksville and joined the Fire Department in 1987 as a firefighter. He worked his way up as engineer,  inspector and fire prevention officer. He was named Fire Marshal in November 2000, and then promoted to Deputy Fire Chief in August 2016. He retired from Clarksville Fire Rescue in 2019.

“Deputy Chief Williams was a first-class public servant, who worked long and hard and with great success for the citizens of Clarksville,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “I extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends, and his extended family of Clarksville firefighters.”

Colleagues at Clarksville Fire Rescue remembered Mr. Williams as a highly regarded professional who treated people with respect.

Fire Chief Freddie Montgomery said Mr. Williams “had a great demeanor.”

“Ray was a great example of professionalism, kindness and consistency,” Montgomery said. “He was in the enforcement and regulatory side of our business, where sometimes you have to be tough, but Ray was always able to win people over and get them to do the right thing.”

Jobe Moore, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, is essentially Fire Marshal, the job Mr. Williams performed for the department for 16 years.

“Ray hired me as a fire inspector and taught me a lot by example,” Moore said. “He was genuinely a nice guy, a people person. He might have to get after a business for breaking a safety regulation, but he would be nice about it and treat people with respect.”

Former Fire Chief Mike Roberts worked for many years with Mr. Williams.

“I considered Ray a good friend, who was always dedicated to the Fire Department and the people we served,” Roberts said. “He was a good man, a family man who was dedicated to raising his grandson. He was really well-liked by the men and women of Fire Rescue, and he will be missed.”

The funeral for Mr. Williams will be at noon Friday, May 7 at First Missionary Baptist Church,  301 Fairview Lane Clarksville. The burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Gardens.

Visitation will be from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6 at Fostons Funeral Home. His family will receive friends and colleagues from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Mr. Williams is survived by his wife, Deborah Williams, of Clarksville; a daughter, Kimberly Barker Gray, of Lawton, Okla; a son, Raimon E. Williams III, of Clarksville; a devoted grandson, Carlos Robertson, of Clarksville; mother, Alma Jean Williams, Clarksville; brother, Brian Keith Williams, Clarksville; 5 grandchildren, aunts, uncles, family and friends.  

He was preceded in death by his father.

Ray Williams

Deputy Fire Chief Ray Williams.

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