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PARIS — Retired Post-Intelligencer editor and publisher William Bryant “Bill” Williams Jr., 85, died Thursday, February 6, 2020, at AHC Paris. His body will be cremated, with the ashes later interred in the family plot at Maplewood Cemetery. McEvoy Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church, 105 S. Market St., Paris.
Born August 20, 1934 to W. Bryant and Julia Williams of Paris, he is survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Anne Corbett. The couple married June 21, 1956, at First Christian Church in Paris. Other survivors include three daughters: Cindy Barnett of Murray, Julie (Doug) Ray of Gainesville, Fla., and Joan (Skip) Howe of Paris; a son: Michael (Evonne) Williams of Paris; 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and another on the way.
Williams began his newspaper career as a P-I carrier while a student at Atkins-Porter and Grove High Schools. During his high school years, he worked as a reporter after school, on Saturdays and during the summers. After graduating third in his class at Grove High School in 1952, Williams went on to graduate with honors as a journalist and ROTC student at Murray State University. During his summers, Williams continued to be a P-I reporter. Throughout his college years, Williams was also a member of the college newspaper staff and was named the outstanding journalism student during his senior year. After graduating from college, he was a reporter for The Memphis Press-Scimitar for a brief period before entering the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., and served as a forward observer in an artillery unit, and helped work out the logistics of transporting howitzers by helicopter. He then served seven years in active reserve. Later, he worked for The Tullahoma News for three years before he returned to Paris in 1960 as The P-I’s news editor. He spent the next 39 years working his way up to editor, then editor and publisher, finally retiring as publisher in late 1999. He continued to write editorials until late 2016. He became editor and publisher at the retirement of his father, the late Bryant Williams. Bryant, in turn, had taken over as publisher at the retirement in 1967 of his father, the late W. Percy Williams, who had come from Alabama to purchase The P-I in 1927.