ATLANTA, Georgia – Feb. 16, 2015 –Industry veteran Neal Williams, chairman emeritus of the N.A. Williams Company, passed away on Feb. 14. He was 78.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our esteemed and beloved leader, Neal Williams,” said Roger McCollum, president and CEO of N.A. Williams. “It is impossible to speak of Neal other than in superlatives. A true gentleman, he was kind, generous and possessed great personal charm. All who knew him were drawn to him. His encouragement, counsel and wisdom will be greatly missed. While we have lost a great mentor and friend, his sterling qualities will live on and continue to inspire us.”
After attending the University of Georgia and service in the United States Army, Williams joined N.A. Williams Company in 1959, the firm founded by his father in 1934. During a long, successful career that spanned over 50 years, Williams led the company to become one of the top manufacturers’ representative firms in North America. Widely respected for his integrity, fairness and achievement, Williams is a renowned figure in the automotive aftermarket industry.
In 2009, Williams was presented with the Martin Fromm Lifetime Achievement award by the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA). In 2010, N.A. Williams Company was recognized as the Georgia mid-size Family Business of the Year. He received the Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader Award in 2012.
Active in both industry and civic causes, Williams served on the board of governors and manufactures’ council of AWDA. He was a deacon at Trinity Presbyterian Church and a trustee at Darlington and Trinity Schools.
Williams’ survivors include his wife of 56 years Virginia, his children Neal Jr. (Sarah), Mary Fleming, Ridley (Beth) and Chris (Kendrick). He was a doting grandfather to twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His three sons and two of his grandsons serve in the family business.
A memorial service honoring Neal Williams will be held on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.
About N.A. Williams
N.A. Williams Company is a leading manufacturers’ representative firm that provides sales, marketing, consulting, research, training, call center, and merchandising services to the North American auto care and commercial vehicle industry. The firm serves manufacturers, retailers and distributors of automotive & heavy duty replacement parts, chemicals, accessories, tools and equipment. Founded in 1934, N.A. Williams is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, with six satellite offices and over one hundred associates. For more information, visit www.nawilliams.com.