Edward Lee WilliamsonMay 17, 1924 ~ December 24, 2017 (age 93)
Ed was given the gift of life in 1924 - May 17, in Baker, Florida, and on Christmas Eve 2017, he had to give it back. But he was an extraordinary man who led a charmed existence, and for this he was grateful. He decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad he had to die. His faith in God and love of family helped him accept what he could not change. He died at peace. And on that upbeat note, he took his leave of apartment 91 at Azalea Trace Retirement-Life Community in Pensacola, Florida, our revolving world, our sun, the moon, that weekly breakfast at Waffle House, and the memory of his daughter’s hand in his.
Ed graduated from Baker High School in 1943, and promptly joined the Army Air Corps – all 128 pounds of him. That was his first Pullman car ride. His second Pullman car ride took him to flight school and America’s Flying Fortress, the B-17 - the pivotal event in his life.
America’s G.I. Bill opened the door to further education and a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Tennessee (Martin) in 1949, the very year he secured employment with Gulf Power Company in Pensacola. Following a transfer to Birmingham in 1965, Ed experienced a meteoric rise with Southern Company Services (Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power) culminating with his appointment as Senior Executive Vice-President. Early retirement in 1988 gave him time to backpack in the Smoky Mountains, ski in Colorado, fly his Piper Comanche, and travel to 29 foreign countries.
Ed authored three books: My Autobiography, Wild Tales of the Blue Yonder, and Essays, Odds and Ends. In his own words: “To my country, to my family, to my business associates, to my service time associates, and to my many other friends and acquaintances, I will be eternally grateful for all the help you gave me – you made it all possible - and enjoyable.”
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Lee and Esther; siblings, Roland and Charles, and an infant brother; and his wives, Mary Agnes Jones and Betty Jo Bradley Givens. He is survived by brothers, Jack (Janet) Williamson of Clinton, Utah, and Frank Williamson of Crestview, Florida; and his daughter, Rebecca Ann (Dr. Tino) Ballesteros, Jr., of Celebration, Florida.
A Celebration of his Life will be held at Whitehurst-Powell Funeral Home Chapel in Crestview, Florida, on Thursday, 1/4/18, at 11a. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to “Ed Williamson Scholarship Endowment” online through University of Tennessee at Martin www.utm.edu/giving or 731-881-7626.
Arrangements are entrusted to Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home in Crestview. Guest book and condolences are available online at www.whitehurstpowellfuneralhome.com