Donald Wayne Williams, 83 of Melbourne Beach, FL passed away January 26, 2019, at Holmes Regional Hospital. Born July 2, 1935 in Washington, D.C. he was the son of the late Chester Garland Williams and Margaret Futch Williams.
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Don graduated from Gwynn Park HS in Brandywine, Md. His small town roots never held him back as he embarked on a job at the old Capital Theater in Washington, D.C. during his teenage years. While working at the theater he met and ran errands for many of the industry stars of the day including Gloria DeHaven, French actress Denise Darcel and Dagmar, the first major female television star. During an inaugural event there, he once opened the car door for his favorite U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It wasn’t until he helped Mamie out of the car that he recognized the famous couple.
On another occasion while working at the Theater he was approached and interviewed by a Washington Times-Herald reporter, the young Jacqueline Bouvier. The “Inquiring Camera Girl” and future Mrs. Kennedy roved the city taking pictures of people she encountered, while writing their responses to her questions of the day into her newspaper column.
During the summer of 1954 Don met his future bride while working at the Pargas Co. in Waldorf, Md. He married Mary Jean Gardiner, daughter of the late William Ralph Gardiner and Mary Imogene (Perrie) Gardiner on October 20, 1956 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Waldorf, Md. Together they raised five children.
Don went to work in 1958 for Gardiner Equipment Co. in LaPlata, Md. In 1970 he branched off with two other family members and opened the Waldorf, MD store specializing in heavy industrial equipment sales. A John Deere Circle of Excellence winner; during the height of their success they maintained additional locations in Beltsville, MD and Manassas Park, VA employing a staff of over 125. Gardiner Equipment Co. was a proud field maintenance equipment provider to the Washington Redskins for use at RFK Stadium during both their heydays. Currently operating as Gardiner Outdoor Products in Waldorf, they remain in business today. Don retired in the late 1990’s eventually becoming a fulltime FL resident.
He is survived by wife, Mary Jean Williams, sons Michael, Todd (Stephanie), and Brad; daughters Beth Bonifant (Edward), and Kimberly Keller (Bayard). Thirteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren and sister, Nancy Richards, also survive him.
He was pre-deceased by brother, Chester Garland Williams, Jr.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:00 AM in St. John’s Catholic Church Hollywood, MD. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.