Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rest In Peace, Ben Williams

A friend emailed me the other day to let me know that Ben Williams passed away.  I paused when I heard the news, thanked her for letting me know, and then I put it in a “compartment.”  That’s what I do when I hear something that I don’t really want to hear.  I put it away to deal with at another time when I’m better emotionally equipped to handle it.  Okay, I’m a coward.  

But this morning on my train ride to work, I opened the newspaper, and saw the obituary.  It forced me to deal with it.  After reading about Ben’s life, some things I knew, many I did not, I thought, “Isn’t it funny how the ones who contribute the most, talk about it the least?"  

I was misty-eyed when I departed the train and thought about Ben all the way on my walk to work.  He was "the real deal."

Ben Williams could differentiate the real from the fake.  You could see it in his eyes.  Beautiful, light-colored eyes to complement his fair smooth skin.  Eyes that let you know he knew ‘what time it was.’  For, Ben Williams was not only a talented journalist and a wonderful reporter, he was also a very handsome man.  And a really nice guy.

Ben didn't have to "toot his own horn."  It wasn't who he was.  He knew where he'd been, how he'd gotten there and what he'd achieved.

They say the empty wagon rattles the loudest.  I think we can safely say Ben Williams’ wagon was full.

Remember our legends.  Without them, we wouldn’t be enjoying all the fruits of their labor.

Ben Williams was the first black television news reporter in the Bay Area, passed away of cardiac arrest at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward on Monday, December 17, 2012 at the age of 85.  Mr. Williams had appeared on the daily newscasts of KPIX Channel 5 for more than 25 years, covering events that included the Robert Kennedy assassination, the UC Free Speech Movement, the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, and the Patty Hearst kidnapping. He had served nine years as the station's East Bay Bureau Chief.

In lieu of flowers the Family asks that donations be made in the name of Ben Williams to The Next Step Learning Center 2222 Curtis Street, Oakland, CA 94607, or the Oakland Boys Club 920 24th st. Oakland Ca. 94607 (*from

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