Biography of Thomas W. Williams
Thomas Wilson Williams was born in 1930 in Brooklyn, New York to Charles Alfred Williams and Mildred Isabelle Philips Williams. He grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he moved when he was about five years old. From a young age he had an interest in model trains. When Tom was the age of 12, his father committed suicide not long after returning from the war. Tom worked, along with with his mother, to help support the family during high school. He had a close relationship with his grandparents and would commute into Brooklyn with his sister to visit them. He also had a close relationship with his uncle who took him on several trips when he was young.
He was married in 1957. He and Karen resided in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey and have three daughters. His grandfather, Thomas Rubin Williams lived with my parents from 1958-1961. Tom and Karen divorced in 1988.
He had a lifelong interest in trains. He built complex model train set ups as a young boy. He was constantly reading train journals and had a large book collection also. He liked to visit and tour train museums during vacation trips with the family. His other interests were antiques and Fire memorabilia.
He took classes at Columbia University, The School of Printing at NYC , and worked in the printing industry his entire life. He served in the U.S Army during the Korean War from 1951-1953. Thomas had been a dedicated lifelong member of the Franklin Lakes Fire Department since 1957. He served as assistant chief, and was chief from 1967-1969. He took many firematics classes to keep up-to-date, and worked with the boy scouts for their firematics badges.
Tom had many friends and was well-respected in his community. His well known traits included his fondness for joke telling, as well as his ever present pipe smoking habits. In his late fifties, he was overcome with the disease of alcoholism. After attending various rehab centers with unsuccessful results, he spent the last decade of his life institutionalized in a Veterans Hospital.
Tom died February 27, 1999 in a Veterans Hospital from septicemia. His body is interred at Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood, New Jersey, the same cemetery where his father, uncle, grandmother and grandfather are buried.
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