James Gaston Williamson


Obituary Notice

James Gaston Williamson, age 88 of Little Rock was born in Monticello, Arkansas, January 22, 1914, the second of four children of Lamar and Lillian Phillips Williamson, died June 6, 2002. A product of the Monticello public school system, Gaston attended Monticello A & M. College for two years, followed by two years at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received a BA Degree and Phi Beta Kappa key in 1934. During his second year in law school at Fayetteville in 1935, he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University in England for three years. There he earned two degrees in Jurisprudence and traveled extensively in Europe. In early 1939, Gaston began his practice of law in Monticello with his father, Lamar and uncle, Adrian in the law firm of Williamson and Williamson. Convinced that war in Europe was inevitable and that the United States would eventually be drawn into it, Gaston in 1939 also joined the 206th CA (AA) National Guard Battery at Monticello as a Second Lieutenant. In November of 1940, he married Wrenetta Worthen of Little Rock, who died in 1999. In January of 1941 he was inducted into Federal Service with the National Guard Battery at Monticello. He served for five years in the U.S. Army during World War II, including two years (without) leave at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Island, and nine months of fighting with the VII Corps across Germany. Discharged as a Lieutenant-Colonel at the end of 1945, Gaston practiced law with a Wall Street law firm for two years. He then moved to Little Rock where he practiced law for forty years with the Rose Law Firm, retiring at the end of 1989. Gaston was an active member of the Presbyterian Church since childhood, with membership in Little Rock at Second Presbyterian Church. Before retirement, he was active in civic affairs in Little Rock, including a movement to reopen the high schools following the 1957 school crisis. He was also an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association of which he served as President in 1968-69.

He and his late wife Wrenetta are survived by three children, James Gaston Williamson, Jr. and wife Carole of Van Buren, Arkansas, Dr. G. Gordon Williamson and his partner Dr. A. Georg Fleischer of New York City, Edith W. Farrell and her husband Joe of Danville, California, one brother Reverend Lamar Williamson and wife Ruthmary of Montreat, North Carolina, four granddaughters, Edith W. Bell and husband J. Kevin, Mary W. Riche and husband Dr. Andrew B., Jennifer W. Farrell, Shannon M. Farrell, and four great-grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service Wednesday at 10 A.M. at Second Presbyterian Church officiated by Reverend Steve Hancock and Reverend Karen Akin. Services are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers memorials should be made to the Gaston and Wrenetta Williamson Cardiology Research Fund, UAMSC, 4301 West Markham St. Slot 716, Little Rock 72205, or the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home, 745 Old Warren Road, Monticello, Arkansas 71655.