Remembering Carla Williams
By County Executive TR Williams
When I became County Executive almost three years ago, my office came equipped with everything I needed to help me do a good job. The most significant was not a filing cabinet full of records or a Rolodex with important phone numbers. It was a person, Carla Willliams.
Carla was hired by my predecessor and agreed to stay on as part of my office staff. I knew that her familiarity with county business would help me make a good start. I was right about that; what I didn’t know was that she would make my job easier every single day.
I believe the key to serving as your County Executive is the word “serve.” Although we never talked about that specifically, I know Carla felt the same way. Every interaction she had, whether it was on the telephone or in person, conveyed her attitude of love and concern for others. We had multiple visitors every single day that came here simply to see her, to get a hug and hear words of affection and encouragement. She gave both to everyone she met.
I’ve been told again and again by those who grew up with her “she’s always been like that.” Her attitude was amazing, even more so because the entire time I worked with her she was battling cancer. It was a fight that began before I took office, and from the start it was a very serious struggle.
Carla’s treatment included major surgery, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trials. But through it all, she maintained the loving, giving, positive attitude that waved like a banner above her pain and discomfort. It helped her defeat the odds and spend much more time with us than she would have otherwise.
I believe in the power of prayer, and I refuse to believe that our prayers for Carla’s healing were not heard. We have a loving God who designed her life long before she was born, and we must know that His concept of her healing was far beyond ours.
I am so happy that His plan included all of us who knew her. Her friendship and demonstration of grace during hardship were gifts to us from Him. I cannot imagine the encouragement that her attitude gave to those who walked the same path with her in treatment centers and hospitals. I find comfort in the fact that every phase of our lives, no matter now painful, has purpose.
Carla passed away this past Friday morning. It was a loss for this office, for our community, for her friends, but most of all her family. We grieve with her husband David Williams, daughters Ashley Williams and April Shaffer, son Solomon Williams, her four grandchildren, brother Carl Pete Bedford, sister Pam McCune, her parents Carl and Martha Bedford, and extended family.