American Veteran 01

James Clifford Williams

September 7, 1930 ~ June 27, 2020 (age 89)

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My name is James C Williams, I was born on September 7, 1930 in Vina, Alabama. The youngest of six kids born to father Luther F Williams and mother Laura Jackson Williams. The other kids were Richard who passed away in 1975 and is buried in San Antonia, Texas, Lillie Mae Day who passed away in 2004 and is buried in Terrell, Texas, Elmer who passed away in 1982 and is buried in Adrian, Michigan, Mack Tavye who passed in 1982 and is buried in the Overton Historical Cemetery near Atwood, Alabama, Ruby Dell who passed away in 2007 and is buried in Montgomery, Alabama. My Mother and dad are buried just south of Vina at Ebernezer Cemetery. Decoration Day is held at this cemetery each August on the fourth Saturday before the fifth Sunday. Jean and I are undecided for sure just where we will be buried. We have burial lots in Trussville, Alabama and burial lots in Cumming, Georgia. As to just where we will be buried will probably have to be made by one of our three kids. (good luck).

Now you know from whince I came now to tell you what I did with the main portion of my life, that is the working portion, etc..

Following high school, I was drafted into the U. S. Army on March 3, 1951 and discharged on March 4, 1953, a total of two years and one day in the Army. I did my basic training in Fort Benning Georgia and stayed in Fort Benning for four months following basic and our company the 836 Ordnance Depot was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Caroline, and I remained in Fort Bragg for the remainder of my service (18 Months). Our unit supplied the 82nd Air Borne who was stationed at Fort Bragg and took their training there.

While in service I met and married Nelda Jean Loden from Haleyville, Alabama. We met during Christmas of 1951 and were married in February 1952. At the time we met, Nelda, she was employed by the FBI in Washington, D.C. Before we were married a group of my buddies traveled to Washington to visit with Nelda and some of her friends.

Following my tour of duty in the Army, I was discharged and settles down in Haleyville. I immediately went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad. Jean’s dad was a conductor on the ICRR and my dad spent all of his working life or since he was 12 years old working for the ICRR. So it was just natural that I too work for the ICRR. While living in Haleyville, our oldest child was born who was James F in 1953.

My time on the ICRR was spent working on the Mississippi Division which extended from Cario, Illinois to Fulton, Kentucky, to Birmingham, Alabama and from Fulton Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee. I was employed as an agent-operator.

In 1957, I left the ICRR and went with the Southern Railway in Greensboro, North Caroline. The reason I left the iCRR was having to work the extra board which took me all over the Mississippi Division and I needed full time work. From 1957 until 1964, I was the wire chief and relay telegraph operator in Greensboro, NC and Knoxville, Tennessee.

While living in Knoxville, two of our kids were born at Fort Sanders Presbyterian Hospital. Cynthia Elaine in 1958 and David Michael in 1964.

In 1964, I left the Southern due to all Telegraph relay offices being abolished which put all 78 operators out of work. I left Knoxville in 1964, and went to work for the Georgia Railroad in Conyers, Georgia as Freight Agent at the Conyers Depot.

In 1967, I was transferred from Conyers, GA to Montgomery, on the Western Railway of Alabama all a part of the GARR, AWP & WOFARR where I was appointed Freight Agent at the Boylston Freight office which was near Montgomery. I remained at Boylston until 1969, at that time I was appointed Freight Agent at Montgomery, an official position. Shortly after being appointed Agent, the offices of Freight Agent and General Yardmaster were combined and in the later part of 1969. I was appointed Freight Agent and General Yardmaster over the Freight Office and Chester Yard operations where there were approximately 125 switchmen, yardmasters and clerks employed. Chester yard was a major yard with 24 hour a day operation 365 days a year.

I remained in Montgomery until 1973, when I was approached by a representative of the Interstate Commerce Commission an agency of the Federal Government to possibly go to work for the ICC. I finally accepted a position with the ICC in Atlanta in 1974 and was conduct close observance of the Railroads for any violations of the Interstate Commerce Act and any other violations of any rules, ETC…

In 1975, I accepted an appointment as a Special Agent with the ICC and was transferred to Atlanta. My job as a Special Agent required me to conduct high level investigations of violations of the Interstate Commerce Act with top officials of the Railroad Industry and shippers and receivers of freight.

In 1983, due to Congress Sun Setting the ICC, I was transferred to the Federal Railroad Administration an agency of the Federal Department of Transportation as a Federal railroad Safety Inspector headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.  While employed as a Federal Railroad Safety Inspector, this position took me all over the USA. This position covered all Railroad Operations from Train handling, observation of railroad employees for safe operation practices as well as inspecting required records for many facets of operations.

 In 1991, I retired from the FRA, and accepted a position as the General Manager of a Short Line Railroad in Birmingham, Alabama known as the Jefferson Warrior Railroad or JEFW. For short.

In 1995, I retired from the JEFW and the Railroad Industry..

Now about my real young years in Vina.

Vina is a small town with only about 350 residents when I was growing up. The only industry there was Planter Lumber Mill and one of two wagon hub mills in the United States and of course the railroad came through Vina.

I do not remember my mother who passed away when I was 18 months old. In fact, I do not remember very much until I was 3 or 4 years old.

Now for my Christian Life:

As stated above I was always active in church as far back as I can remember and having given life to the Lord in April 1941 during revival, I remained active in church from my early years through High school and up until I entered service, at which time I almost completely disregarded my Christian upbringing. I remained inactive until 1957 and at which time Nelda and I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. In Greensboro, we became active in Magnolia Street Baptist Church where we rediciated our life and have been active in church ever since. While growing up in Vina Baptist Church I was real active I n Ra’s and Boy Scouts.

In our married life we have been active in the following churches:

1957 Magnolia Street Baptist Church Greensboro, North Caroline

 1958, 1959 on & off and 1960 and 1964 Alice Bell Baptist Church Knoxville, Tennessee

1959,1960,1961, some of 1962 Hunter Hills Baptist Church Greensboro, North Carolina

During the above years I was working between Greensboro and Knoxville and we were living at these two locations.

1964 through 1968 Conyers Baptist Church Conyers, Georgia

1968 through 1973 Court Street Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama

1973 to 1975 Cottage Hills Baptist Church Mobile, Alabama

1945 to 1986 Rehoboth Baptist Church Tucker, Georgia

1986 to 1995 Robuck Park Baptist Church Birmingham, Alabama

1995 to present North Metro Baptist Church Lawrenceville, Georgia


While growing up Nelda attended Haleyville First Baptist and gave her life to the Lord in 1949.

Following discharge from service, we attended South Haleyville Baptist Church in Haleyville.

I have five grandchildren Scott 1975, Kimberly 1978, David 1994, Emily 1996, and Michael 1996. I also have three Great Grandchildren Taylor 2005, Jackson 2006, and Carrabelle 2015.


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Graveside Service
July 2, 2020

11:30 AM
Georgia National Cemetery
1080 Scott Hudgens Dr, Canton, GA 30114
Canton, GA 30114

Memorial Service
July 2, 2020

3:00 PM
McDonald and Son Funeral Home and Crematory
150 Sawnee Dr.
Cumming, GA 30040

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