Leon Purdith Williams
Published 10:04 am Friday, March 20, 2009
Mr. Leon Purdith Williams, 86, of 1603 Fayetteville St., Durham, died Sunday, March 15, 2009, at Durham Regional Hospital. His funeral service will be conducted Saturday, March 21, 2009, 12 o’clock at White Rock Baptist Church. The family will receive friends Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 12 o’clock, at White Rock Baptist Church, just prior to the service. The interment will follow in Beechwood Cemetery. There will be a public viewing at Burthey Funeral Chapel on Friday, March 20, from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Mr. Williams is the son of the late Matthew D. and Addie H. Williams. He was born on September 2, 1922 in Whiteville, NC and relocated to Durham in 1933 with his family. The family joined White Rock Baptist Church which was then located at 600 Fayetteville St. A graduate of Hillside High School, Class of 1937, Leon received a Bachelor of Science degree; double major in Chemistry and Biology with a double minor in Mathematics and Physics from North Carolina College for Negroes (North Carolina Central University), Class of 1941. He continued his Post Graduate Studies at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, where he received a Masters Degree. He then began his teaching career as a science teacher at Little River High School.
In November of 1942, Mr. Williams entered the U.S. Army where he served in the European Combat Theater of Operations during World War II. He was honorably discharged in November, 1945. He resumed his career as a Teacher and an Assistant Principal in the Durham County Public School System at Little River High School and John A. Wilkinson and Carmel High Schools in Belhaven, NC. In 1982, he was selected as “North Carolina State Teacher of the Year.” Leon retired from the N.C. State Teacher System in 1983 after 40 years of outstanding and dedicated service.
Mr. Williams participated in the Adult Education and Volunteer Community Service from 1982 to 2000. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Doric Lodge F@A Masons, the Golden Eagles and the American Legion-Weaver McLean Post.
He was preceded in death by his wife of over 50 years, the late Lillian Murphy Williams. Cherished memories of him will continually be in the hearts of his many students, friends and family.
Surviving are his brother, Major General (U.S. Army/Ret) Harvey D. Williams; his sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary E. Glenn Williams; one nephew and three nieces, who were more like his children, Mr. H. Dean Williams, Jr.; Ms. Karen Denise Williams, Ms. Mignon “Rose” Khargi (husband Thomas Fowler, daughter Hannah) and Ms. Joyce Lynne Williams. His greatest joy and favorite teaching position was as “Grandpop” to Mark Dean Williams the son of his niece Joyce. He was blessed in having one other nephew, the late Mark Erickson Williams. He is also survived by several loving cousins and a host of wonderful friends.
Arrangements by Burthey Funeral Service.