Anthony Eric Williams, 52, who overcame paralysis to live a full life.

Posted: November 22, 2013

TONY WILLIAMS wasn't about to let a little thing like being paralyzed from the neck down keep him from having a full and productive life.

Tony not only overcame his own disability, but he helped others who were also afflicted cope with their conditions.

Anthony Eric Williams, an accountant and Navy veteran whose life was forever changed about 25 years ago when he was shot in the neck during a robbery, died Nov. 11 of heart failure. He was 52 and lived in Wynnefield.

Former Gov. Tom Ridge appointed Tony to the board of the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council, of which he served twice as chairman. The council advises the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation about how well its programs and services match the needs of people with disabilities.

He also was a peer mentor to newly injured spinal-cord patients at the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

"Tony never allowed obstacles or his disability to prevent him from accomplishing anything he wanted to do," his family said. "He had a very caring and giving heart, and everyone who came in contact with him was privileged to experience this."

One of Tony's great passions was model trains. He had an elaborate display of trains in his basement, which he maintained and added to over the years.

After his injury, Tony got around on a kind of motorized bicycle that kept his body stabilized and his hands free.

"He didn't fear anything," said his longtime friend, Sylvester Young. "He would ride his bike to Atlantic City. You would see him riding on West River Drive and other local streets."

He was also a devoted traveler, and visited Jamaica, Florida and other destinations.

Tony was born in Philadelphia to Edith and Herbert Williams. He graduated from Overbrook High School and went on to Temple University, where he received a degree in accounting. He was a master with the computer.

"Anyone who knew Tony, worked with him or for him, was blessed to know his great spirit, his enormous gift of gab, his meticulous instructions about what he needed and/or wanted, and his ability to make sure it happened his way," his family said.

"His attitude in life was always, 'Yes, it can be done! And it needs to be done my way!' "

He is survived by a brother, Marc.

Services: 11 a.m. today at the Wood Funeral Home, 5537 W. Girard Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.