Presbyterian works to expand the faith

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2000

(Editor's Note: The following installment of Sweet and Sour was originally printed in the book Chamber Music and Camellia Bouquets by Buster McGuire.)

Lord Beaverbrook asked Josef Stalin in 1941 to promise him that if he (Stalin) became a Christian, that he'd become a Presbyterian.

Our Camellia recipient this week is cut from the same piece of cloth as was Beaverbrook-with an exception or two.

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Those exceptions include the abscence of the lordship designation and the political leanings that go hand-in-glove with baronetcy.

When it comes to considerations of religion, our man, Warren Jackson Williamson Sr., falls right in line with his lordship's proclivity toward Presbyterianism.

Better known as Jack, the wearer of this week's bouquet, a native of nearby Pine Apple in Wilcox County, arrived on the scene on April 18, 1919 and completed his secondary education at the Moore Academy.

He matriculated at the Citadel and attended that institution for two years before enrolling at the University of Alabama.

Jack gathered unto himself numerous academic, social and campus honors at the university, qualifying for Omicron Delta Kappa, an award for all-around outstanding curricular and extra-curricular activities.

He also earned the Phi Betta Kappa key, the highest academic honor attainable, and was active in the Sigma Nu social fraternity.

He completed his undergraduate studies at the U of A and also completed the requirements for a law degree there, graduating in 1942.

Jack entered the Air Force following completion of his studies at Tuscaloosa, and it was in 1944 that he wed the former Tere McGowin, just prior to starting his overseas tour in the European Theater of Operations.

He was shot down over Austria, captured by the Russians and imprisoned as a POW at Odessa for six months before being liberated. He was aboard a British liner, traveling the Black Sea following his release, when he received word that World War II was over.

His law practice was set up here in February 1946 and he has maintained that practice for forty-five years to date with no end in sight.

As an elder in the Presbyterian Church, Jack has been more than active in the functions of the P.C.A. (Presbyterian Church of America) since its inception in the late 1960s.

He served as the first moderator of that body, and has traveled worldwide in pursuance of furthuring the P.C.A. "word." Those travels include visits to China, France, Japan and Africa.

Jack and his attorney son, McGowin have been instrumental in seeing to the proper

adjudication of local church properties in more than twenty-five states. Several of these have gone to the state supreme courts.

He has taught an adult Sunday school class in the Greenville Presbyterian Church for more than forty years, and on numerous occasions has filled the pulpit of his home church.

Jack has one brother, Lamar (Preacher) Williamson of Birmingham, and two sisters, Mary Riley of Greenville, and Lenore Burgess of New Orleans.

He and Tere have raised four children, Cecelia, Warren, McGowin and Carol. Warren and McGowin now share the law practice, Williamson & Williamson, with their father.

When he's not practicing law, Jack is either out jogging along Fort Dale Road or attending his church-related affairs.

He might even ask you, if you're not already a Christian, to become a Presbyterian if you ever do become Christianized.

-January 3, 1991