Writing about someone you’ve never met may seem like a difficult task but when that person is Leroy Williams – who has an abundance of friends lining up to share their stories — it’s easy.
Williams, a prominent Langford citizen, business owner and family man, died suddenly at the beginning of the month. He is remembered for his generosity, humbleness and big heart.
Darrelll Midgley knew Williams for over 30 years, both being in the car business their paths crossed often. Midgley says even though they were competitors, the meetings were always positive and led to a great friendship.
Midgley recalls being invited to a surprise birthday party for Williams as one of his fondest memories, the event turned out to be an even bigger party than expected.
“Him and Liz walked out in their wedding attire and it was actually a surprise wedding,” he says.
Midgley operates the Western Speedway and was often approached by Williams wanting tickets for under privileged families.
“I would never say no, but I know if I had — he would have just got his wallet out and bought them,” says Midgley.
Denis Andrews met Williams at Esquimalt High years ago, and after Andrews got into the car business he recalls telling Williams it was a career he should pursue. Obviously taking the advice to heart, Williams owned and operated two used car lots, with one of the lots still being run by his son.
Andrews recalls an incident about five years ago during a two-month stretch of solid rain, Williams bought boxes of raincoats and distributed them downtown to various people in need.
“For the next two months, you saw nothing but yellow raincoats on homeless people downtown,” says Andrews.
Gary Mcinnis’ friendship with Williams goes back 45 years, meeting through their involvement with a sports team dating back to 1972.
“If you say you had a good friend, in [Leroy’s] case — you had a best friend,” says Mcinnis. “If he offered his hand, you shook hands and you knew where you stood, he was as honest as the day was long.”
Mcinnis says it’s a testament to Williams’ integrity that both Galaxy Motors and Jim Pattison Subaru readout signs displayed messages of ‘RIP Leroy Williams, gone but not forgotten.’
“When you look at a public display from a peer, I think that’s the highest respect you could ever imagine.”
Phil Dagger of Galaxy Motors knew Williams for over 30 years and calls him a fixture in the car industry. The two friends made a couple of trips to Hawaii and had planned to make another trip just next month. Dagger says they enjoyed doing nothing and “we were very good at it.”
“I think I’ll miss how he’d just come walking into my office, sit himself down and just start blabbing away about stuff,” says Dagger.
A Facebook group has been started called “In Memory of Le Roy Williams” as a place for friends and family to share their favourite memories.