WWII vet, attorney, Williamson laid to rest

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Greenville has lost a member of the “greatest generation.”

Warren Jackson “Jack” Williamson, longtime Greenville attorney, civic servant, and World War II veteran, died on Saturday.

Williamson, a native of Pine Apple, was in law school at the University of Alabama in 1941, but volunteered to fight in World War II and was a B-24 bomber pilot with the U.S. Air Corps. He flew 34 combat missions from the Army’s base in Italy before being shot down by Germans in March of 1945. But it was Russian soldiers, advancing towards Germany along the eastern front, who arrested Williamson and his crew.

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“The worst thing of all was the fact that the Russians, supposedly our allies, would not let us notify our families that we were alive,” Williamson said in 2005 after being honored by the University of Alabama on the field of Bryant-Denny Stadium during the homecoming game as a “distinguished alumnus.”

He started his practice in 1946 and was fond of rising early for jogs along Fort Dale Rd. near his home. He was also an active member and elder of First Presbyterian where he taught a Sunday school class and occasionally served behind the pulpit.

He helped found the Butler County United Fund.

“Several of us went around soliciting funds for various good projects and it was time consuming,” said Williamson in 2005. “We spent time doing it, though, because it made Butler County a better place.”

One of Williamson’s last public speaking engagements was as keynote speaker during the Greenville Lions’ Annual Memorial Day event in May 2008.

He is survived by wife, Tere McGowin Williamson, and leaves behind a large family, consisting of four children, two sisters, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. His two sons, McGowin Williamson and Warren Williamson Jr., followed their father into law practice. Williamson was interred in Magnolia Cemetery on Monday.