A Tribute to Louis Williams: Champion Athlete and Community Leader by
Dennis Day President, D-Day Media Group, NY. NY.
It is with great sadness I share news of the passing of LOUIS WILLIAMS at the age of 82. As many elder residents of “The Region” may recall, Louis Williams was a towering and historic figure in the fields of sports, recreation and community improvement and development. A gifted athlete and coach, Louis was among the first significant wave of African American student athletes to participate and excel in inter-scholastic sports at East Chicago Roosevelt during the mid 1950s. Later as a collegian at the University of Michigan he held the broad jump record for the Big 10 Conference; a record later broken by U.S. Olympian legend Ralph Boston.
Louis Williams was a world-class athlete and a much sought-after executive leader and advisor within the fields of community development and recreation. He served as a mentor and coach to nearly two generations of youth – boys and girls and young men and women from throughout East Chicago.
Louis “Bodly” Williams was a proud native son of the City’s New Addition community where he honed his outstanding athletic skills on its courts, playgrounds, and fields under the tutelage of his early coach and mentor Monroe Walton. Mr. Walton was an Olympic aspirant who was narrowly defeated by Ralph Metcalf, teammate of Jessie Owens on the U.S. Olympic track and field team, and who later became South Chicago’s Congressman.
Louis Williams used his considerable skill sets, dedication, and commitment to impart the values of pursing a healthy lifestyle through community activities, encouraging sports along with individual and family recreation activities. His athletic prowess and skill for organizational management were developed over years – first competing as a youth attending Columbus elementary school, then through University, and later through competing on special service teams while serving honorably in the U.S. Army.
As an athlete Louis Williams is not a household name like Jordan, Lebron, or Ali but he was a true athlete by skill, temperament, and a proven champion. More importantly he was a person who chose to give back to his community over a lifetime of service to youth and families seeking to find the right path and sound values needed to sustain success in life. Louis lived what he taught and led by example. He was a soft-spoken, strong role model who mirrored character development by his own life and encouraged our youth to acquire solid life skills and important values that, when used with discipline while also having fun, could help lay the foundation for a lifetime of success in broader pursuits. Through his commitment to the positive impact of sports and recreation, Louis helped build strong East Chicago communities.
Louis Williams left, once held the Big 10 Conference Track & Field record for the long jump pictured with United States four- time gold medalist of the 1936 Olympic games Jessie Owens.Williams died January 17, 2018 at age 82.
Louis, “Bodly” Williams will be sorely missed by loving family, by many friends, and by members and friends of the Twin Cities engaged within the community development and recreation services movement in East Chicago and throughout the Calumet Region and our nation.
R.I.P. (D. Day Media) Jan.18, 2018