A Praiseworthy Life

Christmas is a time when we remember, honor and celebrate people whose life was the gift of service to others.

Credit unions attract and provide fertile ground for  persons with this character.  They create an ideal platform for assisting others at important junctures in their lives.

These individuals’ efforts are not measured solely by numbers; more important is the personal legacy of bringing “soul” to their work in the movement.

The following tribute to a long-serving credit union employee is by Jim Blaine.

James McArthur Williams (1943-2023)

Why do we so often become confused when taking the measure of greatness? Why are we so easily distracted – and dazzled – by the spectacle, the swank, and the swagger? Why do we so often miss who is truly important – and what really makes a difference in each of our lives?

Had the privilege of attending the funeral of a great man last week at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in downtown Raleigh. James Williams was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, and friend. He married his high school sweetheart Ginger; he called her “Bread“. They had two children – JaSonne Yvette and James Eric.

James Williams was a veteran, 33rd degree Mason, Emeritus Board Steward in his church, graduate – and beyond ardent supporter – of his HBCU, “THE” North Carolina Central University  – “Go War Eagles!“. James was a devoted family man at heart, loved traveling, and as an empty-nester, cruising with Ginger. A full life – important, meaningful.

James Williams came to work at the State Employees’ Credit Union in 1973. That was 50 years ago. That seems like a long, long time ago. Much has changed in that time, much hasn’t.

James McArthur Williams was the first Black employee to work at SECU. He faced some unusual challenges, not of his making. But he persevered, he persisted. James Williams was a senior lender at SECU for over a quarter of a century. No individual was more important in building the reputation for integrity and fairness at State Employees’ Credit Union than James McArthur Williams. With humor, grace, and kindness, James Williams navigated all the “historical difficulties”; he left a positive mark on all he touched; because he knew how you felt – he had walked in your shoes.

Thank you, James Williams, for helping me and many, many others to understand better. 

Can an organization have a soul? As a faithful “soul man”, James McArthur Williams spent a lifetime showing us there is a path…

Can you measure greatness in people and in institutions? Here is what SECU members say:

 “James will long be remembered as a person who showed many of us how to overcome obstacles in the world of finance. He demystified bank forms and protocols. And most importantly, he always encouraged patrons of SECU as we realized with God all things are possible!”

“James was our greatest ally at the State Employees’ Credit Union.”

“James and Ginger are two of the warmest people you’d ever want to meet. Many state employees knew James through the State Employees Credit Union in downtown Raleigh.”

Thank you, Sir!

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