Adrian Williamson Jr.
Adrian Williamson, Jr., a retired banker, state economic development director and prominent civic leader, died Friday, November 29. He was born August 20, 1925 to Catherine Montgomery and Adrian Williamson, Sr., of Monticello, descendents of pioneer families in Arkansas.
He graduated from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. and attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a BS degree in business administration. During his professional career, he completed advanced training from the Louisiana State University School of Banking, the Brookings Institution for Advanced Study on Urban Policy, and the U.S. Department of State Executive Diplomat Institute.
Mr. Williamson served in the Army during World War II in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, Germany. An avid aviator, he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and a captain in the Air Force Reserve. Following graduation from college, he was branch manager of Riggs Tractor Company in Jonesboro and state sales manager in Little Rock; Vice President of Marketing for Commercial National Bank in Little Rock; Vice President of the International Division of Union National Bank in Little Rock; Little Rock; President of City National Bank in Fort Smith; President of Williamson Chevrolet-Cadillac Company in Monticello; and investment banker with Prudential Bank Securities in Little Rock.
He was appointed by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller to serve as Director of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. As a state cabinet officer, he established the first statewide vocational industrial training program for employees, advocated multi-modal transportation for the region and secured the permanent location of the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson County. He was selected by the National Association of State Development Agencies as the official representative of the 50 states to encourage foreign businesses to locate manufacturing facilities in the United States. He traveled extensively in Europe and the Far East in the 1970's meeting with prospective manufacturers.
Throughout his professional career, his primary focus was promoting his home state of Arkansas nationally and internationally. As an outstanding statewide community leader, he was founder and chairman of the Southeast Arkansas Health, Education and Cultural Corporation. He served as president of Downtown Little Rock Unlimited, the Farm and Ranch Association of Arkansas and the Arkansas Arts Center School of Arts and Drama. He was chairman of the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Council, U.S. Department of Commerce District Export Council for Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce International Committee, the Arkansas State Council on Economic Education, the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Department of Area Development, the Arkansas Bankers Association Industrial Development Committee and the Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Systems. He was vice-chairman of the Arkansas Arts Center board of trustees and the Pulaski County Chapter of the American Red Cross; and district chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He was a board member of the Southeast Arkansas Vocational Technical Institute, the Arkansas State Advisory board for Vocational Education; the Urban Progress Association and Youth Homes, Inc. He served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Second Presbyterian Church.
After retirement, Mr. Williamson's interests included woodworking and gardening. He enjoyed crafting unique writing pens and other artistic items using native Arkansas woods from locations with historical significance. His love of nature led him to become a master gardener.
He is survived by his wife, Sue Shepherd Williamson; his sons Adrian Williamson III, M.D. and his wife, Katherine, of Little Rock; Richard Shepherd Williamson of Holly Springs, Mississippi; Arthur Starr Williamson and his wife, Mychelle, of Little Rock; two grandsons, Adrian Williamson IV and Jonathan K. Williamson of Little Rock; and two sisters, Ann Young of Little Rock and Margaret Smalzel of Cohasset, Massachusetts. Graveside services will be at Roselawn Cemetery on Tuesday, December 3, at 1:00 p.m. following by a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church officiated by Reverend Steve Hancock and Reverend Karen Akin. Visitation will be at Ruebel Funeral Home Monday, December 2, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Adrian Williamson Cancer Memorial Fund, Arkansas Cancer Research Center, UAMS, 4301 West Markham, Slot 623, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, to Second Presbyterian Church, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72227, or to a charity of your choice.