Billy Rayford Williams


Graveside services for Billy Rayford Williams, 77, of Center will be held Friday, August 27, 2021 at 2 p.m. at the Sardis Cemetery with Rev. Luke Holmes officiating.  


Mr. Williams was born June 20, 1944 in Shelby County, Texas to Rayford (Jake) Williams and Zera Opal Waldon Williams, and died Monday, August 23, 2021 in Memorial Hospital in Nacogdoches, Texas. Mr. Williams was a resident of Shelby County. 


Following his graduation as Salutatorian from Center High School in 1962, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Stephen F. Austin State University. He then went on to pursue his graduate work in History at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.  Later, he earned his Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, after which he furthered his education at Baylor University.  


Mr. Williams returned to Shelby County where he pastored local Baptist churches.  For his family, he compiled genealogical histories, wrote humorous anecdotal accounts, narratives, and poetry, and he appreciated God’s creations such as the call of a whippoorwill or a hoot owl and the companionship of a faithful dog.


Mr. Williams is preceded in death by his parents, Rayford (Jake) Williams and Zera Opal Waldon Williams Brown, as well as his step-father, Jesse Waymon Brown.  He is survived by his sister, Judy Williams Winger of Lufkin, Texas; brothers, Rev. Charles Ronny Williams and wife, Betty, of Whitehouse, Texas, Danny Joe Brown and wife, Darlene, of Center, Texas, Larry Steve Williams and wife, Janice, of Tenaha, Texas, Jimmy Dale Williams and wife, Connie, of Van Alstyne, Texas, and John Waymon Brown and wife, Mary Elizabeth, of The Woodlands, Texas. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.


The family will welcome friends prior to and following the graveside service at the Sardis Cemetery on Friday, August 27, 2021, at 2 p.m.


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sardis Cemetery Fund, 6034 FM 414, Center, TX 75935.


Online condolences & tributes can be sent at

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