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Charles Williamson, 78, dies; was retired Southwestern prof

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–S. Charles Williamson, 78, professor of voice emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, died July 12 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Williamson taught in the Fort Worth seminary’s school of church music for 34 years. Colleagues remember him for his professionalism and character.

“[He] was a beautiful combination of a deeply committed Christian, a dedicated churchman, a fine musician and a good friend,” said Scotty Gray, who taught music alongside Williamson for many years before becoming vice president for academic administration at Southwestern.

“Charles and I were colleagues for some 30 years,” Gray said. “I knew him in all those times to be solid in his spiritual depth and commitment, polished in his musicianship and teaching, and a good and faithful friend.”

Born in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1923, Williamson was the son of a Baptist pastor. He received his bachelor’s degree from William Jewel College, Liberty, Mo., in 1947, followed by a master’s degree from the then-University of Kansas City in 1952 and a doctorate from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., in 1964.

Before coming to Fort Worth, Williamson served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as a second lieutenant stationed in Saipan. He subsequently taught music at Lawson High School in his home state of Missouri for three years and served as music director at Michigan Avenue Baptist Church in Kansas City for seven years.

Williamson was an associate professor of music and voice at Central Baptist Theological Seminary for five years and a soloist with “The Baptist Hour” radio program from 1955-58. He also began at Southwestern in 1955.

In addition to teaching at Southwestern, Williamson served as minister of music in several churches. He also was a soloist in many productions at Southwestern. Most notable were his performances in the seminary’s annual presentation of Handel’s ” Messiah” as well as his role as one of the three kings in the production “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Gray said that Williamson’s life should also be evaluated by another standard.

“The measure of a man is often seen in his family,” Gray said. “Charles was an outstanding husband and father.”

Williamson is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Helen Faye; four sons, Steven, Nathan, Rod and Joseph; and six grandchildren.

Funeral services were held July 14 at Greenwood Cemetery in White Settlement, Texas, followed by a memorial service at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where Williamson was a member.

The family requests that memorials contributions be made to the Charles Williamson Vocal Music Scholarship Fund, Southwestern Seminary, P.O. 22500, Fort Worth, TX 76122.

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