Robert Leon Williams was born on May 4, 1958, to Rev. James B. Williams and Alberta Wood Williams. He departed this earthly life on June 5, 2022, and entered into eternal life with the God and Father who created him.
Robert’s preferred name of choice was Leon, Rob, or Professor. Rob was short for Robert, and Professor was the name his peers gave him because he was an absolute genius in the areas of Science, Chemistry, and Biology. If you called him Robert, he would give you a few choice words which would stay with you for a while, and you knew never to call him Robert again.
Leon received his primary and secondary education in the Lee County Public School System and graduated from Sanford Central High School, now known as Lee County Senior High. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served four years and earned the rank of Sergeant. He completed his overseas tour of duty in Aschaffenburg, Germany, as a tank driver and marksman honors. After successful military service, Leon enrolled at Sandhill Community College and earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Cosmetology and upon graduation, became the proud entrepreneur of his own barber shop. He later worked for the U.S. Army as an Information Assurance Specialist, Lowes Home Improvement as a Department Manager and enjoyed an exceptional fifteen-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard in Security. He developed strong relationships with his colleagues and was known to bring laughter, wisdom, and an element of “cool” wherever he went.
Leon married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Brown, and they had two children, Tiffani and Paris Williams. Leon and Joyce were married for over 20 years and remained friends all of his life. He later remarried.
Being raised in a home where his parents served the Lord, He accepted Jesus at the age of accountability and reverenced God no matter where he ventured in life. Leon rededicated his life as an adult. His favorite movie of all time was The Ten Commandments. “So let it be written, so let it be done.”
Like Vincent van Gogh, who was self-taught and had no formal training, Leon was an artist extraordinaire. As a teenager, his artistic ability launched him a full tuition scholarship to The Art Instruction School. He could draw with his eyes closed. His second love was sports. He was a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and his loyalty was unshakeable whether the “Steel Curtain” won or lost. Leon’s favorite hobby was fishing. He could walk out on a fishing pier where no one was catching a single fish and leave with an ice cooler full of croaker, spot, flounder, or drum. He enjoyed hooking up with his brothers (James and Lewis) and fishing from sun-up until there was just enough daylight left for them to make it out of their favorite fishing holes safely. He also taught his children, nephews, niece, and grandchildren how to fish. It was a known known, “If you can’t find Rob, he’s probably fishing.”
Growing up with Leon was never a dull moment. From hatching frog eggs into tadpoles and tadpoles into frogs; from rounding up baby snakes in jars to exploring endless pastures; making sling shots from tire inner tube or bow and arrows from tree limbs and soda bottle tops; the country and farm life was his multi-sensory science lab of never-ending adventure. Every day was another day of fearless fun and sometimes dangerous escapades, and he always took his pack with him; his brothers and sisters.
Leon was a comedian at heart. If you were ever in his presence, it wasn’t long before he would have you in stitches while quoting one of his favorite comedians or laughing at one of his favorite cartoons. “Some Say” Leon was incredibly cool, a sharp dresser, and a mild-mannered guy who left an indelible mark on those with whom he came in contact. Rob, Professor, Leon will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Leon leaves to cherish his memory his daughter, Tiffani Joi Williams; son, Paris Leon Williams; ex-wife, Joyce Williams; mother, Alberta Wood Williams; brothers, Rev. James A. Williams (DeLisa Taylor Williams) and Lewis R. Williams; sisters, Janice F. Williams, Glenda O. Williams, Minister Vennessa W. McLaughlin (Rev. Walter V. McLaughlin, III); grandchildren, Jayden, Landon, Bryson, and Braxton; nephews, George, Desmond, Walter IV, Donta’, and Brandon; nieces, Ashley, Paige, Elisha, Christian, and Nicole; as well as a host of great nieces, great nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Leon was preceded in death by his father, Rev. James B. Williams.