Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and Crematory

4520 North Crossover Road, P.O. Box 8982, Fayetteville, AR

Phone: 479-521-5000

Nolan Eugene "Gene" Williams

Fayetteville, AR

1923 - 2017

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Published: December 20, 2017

Nolan Eugene "Gene" Williams, Ph.D., of Fayetteville, Arkansas, passed away on Monday, December 18, 2017, at Butterfield Trail Village. He was born August 2, 1923, in Buckeye, Madison County, Arkansas, the son of Nolan L. and Rubie A. Williams. Gene grew up in Westville and Haskell, Oklahoma. As a youth, he worked in his Dad's canning company to earn money to buy his first car which he soon traded in for a diamond engagement ring for his childhood sweetheart, Madelyn.

Preceding him in death were his parents and his beloved wife of 64 years, Madelyn Englert Williams. Gene was the eighth child born to Nolan and Rubie, and his sisters and brother also preceded him in death: Mabel, Irene, Evelyn, Shirley, Maxine, Christine, and Luther. Survivors include his two daughters, Janet Roessler (husband Rick); Susan (Mayes) Carney (husband, Allen), all of Fayetteville; his four grandchildren, Jennifer Schultz (husband Fred and son Bill) of Bloomington, IN.; Kristin Higgins (sons Will and Drew) of Fayetteville; Meredith Brunen (husband, Kyle and sons, Jude and Beau) of Spartanburg, S.C.; and Andrew Mayes of Fayetteville. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and their children.

Gene received his BS and MS degrees from Oklahoma A&M University, now Oklahoma State University, and his Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Texas. He dedicated 36 years of service (1951-1987) to the Accounting Department and Business Administration College at the University of Arkansas where he was a professor and holder of the Walter B. Cole Chair of Accounting. In 1957, he was appointed head of the Accounting Department, a position that he held for 14 years. Under his leadership, the department developed a doctoral program. Gene was a Certified Public Accountant in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

In 1972, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching from the Arkansas Alumni Association. His reputation as a "rigorous but fair" professor is remembered by many accounting professionals who looked to him as both a mentor and colleague. His contributions reached far beyond the University to state, national, and international levels. Gene served as vice-president and member of the Board of Directors of the American Accounting Association; member of the Council of American Institute of CPAs; treasurer, secretary, and president of the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy; and president of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. He taught accounting in the University's European graduate program in management in both Germany and Spain and was a visiting professor at several universities.

Gene was a dedicated Christian and member of Central United Methodist Church. He served on the Administrative Board and many other Central committees. He was a devoted Sunday School teacher in the "Walking through the Bible" class and was known for his ability to recite from memory the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew.

The accolade "member of the greatest generation" is truly fitting for Nolan E. Williams. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals for his exemplary service in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, a critical Allied victory in the closing days of World War II. He offered his life and nearly gave it for his country and would do it again if called upon.

A memorial celebration is scheduled for Friday, December 22 at 10 a.m., Central United Methodist Church, 6 West Dickson Street, Fayetteville, Ark. 72701, with Reverend Tony Holifield officiating. The family will receive guests at the church following the service. The service of burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Central United Methodist Church (P.O. Box 1106, Fayetteville, Ark. 72702), Butterfield Trail Village Foundation (1923 E. Joyce Blvd., Fayetteville, Ark. 72703), or the University of Arkansas Foundation - Nolan E. Williams Lectureship, (Walton College Office of Development, RCED 217, 1 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72703).

Somewhere the bass boat is already in the water, and Gene has been reassured for the fourth time, "Really, there's no limit here. You can catch as many as you want for as long as you want. You've earned it. You are in a place now where the catching is eternally as good as the fishing."

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