Angelo Eugene Williams, 94, IRS supervisor

Williams
Williams
Posted: May 23, 2014

ET'S GO for a ride!" Angelo Williams would say.

And the family would pile into the car and off they'd go to Atlantic City.

There they found the usual attractions: the rolling surf, the beach, the Boardwalk. But Angelo's true destination was the Planters peanut shop.

Angelo had a passion for peanuts and was willing to drive 80 miles to get a bag.

"We'd get a bag of peanuts and go home," said his daughter, Debra D. Williams. "He liked to do spontaneous things like that."

Angelo Eugene Williams, former supervisor for the Internal Revenue Service in Philadelphia, Army veteran of World War II and devoted churchman, died Tuesday. He was 94 and lived in Wynnefield.

Angelo grew up on his grandfather's farm in Clinton, Laurens County, S.C., with 10 brothers and sisters. He didn't talk much about what they raised on the farm, but at least one crop was snap beans.

"We knew that because one of his nicknames was 'Snap,' " his daughter said.

Angelo went as far as the eighth grade in his hometown, then moved to Philadelphia in 1941 for more opportunities, and to get away from the Jim Crow South, where young black men of ambition didn't have much of a chance.

A year later, he entered the Army as World War II was raging. He was stationed in France, where at least one of his jobs was as a driver for officers. Black men weren't allowed in combat in the segregated Army of the 1940s.

Angelo was a quiet, soft-spoken man who didn't like to talk about himself, so the family was never sure what he did for the war effort, his daughter said.

He returned to Philadelphia after his honorable discharge in 1945, and met Grace Fant. Coincidentally, she was from Whitmire, S.C., a town about 50 miles from his hometown. They were married in December 1947.

In his early years in Philadelphia, Angelo grabbed jobs wherever he could. He worked for a time in a gasoline service station and even as a glassblower for a while.

Opportunities were few for a man with only an eighth-grade education, so Angelo decided to go back to school. He took night classes and eventually earned his high school equivalency diploma.

He started with the IRS in 1951, and worked his way up to a supervisory position before retiring in 1980.

Angelo began his spiritual journey in South Carolina, where he was a member of the Antioch and Mount Pleasant African Methodist Episcopal churches. When he came to Philadelphia, he became an active member of Ward AME Church in West Philly. He sang on the senior choir, served as superintendent of the Sunday school, and was a member of the board of trustees.

Angelo was the eighth of 11 children of Effie Williams and the former Letha Johnson. For many years, the family held annual reunions in Clinton, all of which were well attended by the extended families of the Williams' children.

In Philly, Angelo became a devoted Phillies fan. A highlight of his life was when the team won the World Series in 2008.

He was overheard to remark, "It's about time!"

"He was a gentle, God-fearing man who loved his family, was respected by those he came in contact with, and was thankful for his longevity so he could watch his granddaughter develop," his family said.

His wife died in 1993. Besides his daughter, he is survived by a son, Michael; a granddaughter, Lauren; and a great-granddaughter, Ava.

Services: 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 28, at Ward AME Church, North 43rd Street near Aspen. Friends may call at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to kidney.org/support.

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