In Remembrance: Frank A. M. Williams ’51 Died on March 20 2020

Frank Adair Monroe Williams, a retired New Orleans businessman, died peacefully at his home in Lambeth House on March 20, 2020.  He was 90 years old.

A lifelong New Orleanian, Williams attended New Orleans Academy and graduated as valedictorian. He earned a BA in economics from Yale University and then earned an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business. 

After graduation, Williams worked for George Engine Company, a General Motors diesel distributorship, rising to the position of president. He then worked for Custom Plastics and again became president.  Williams subsequently turned his interests to investment management and became a managing partner, and later president, in the firm of Fenner, Plauché and Williams. His keen sense of investing combined with forward thinking led him to create Delta Financial Advisors with Gerard A. Plauché and Clifford F. Favrot. The three of them successfully owned and managed the company equally until 2008, when Williams retired and assumed the position of investment counsel emeritus. 

Frank was the son of George Elliot Williams and Adele Monroe Williams. His father, along with Eli T. Watson, built the first bridge to span Lake Ponchartrain, the Watson-Williams Bridge. Frank’s grandfather, Frank Adair Monroe, was a chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court (1914–1922). Both his father’s and grandfather’s impeccable characters, and his distinguished family heritage, instilled in Frank a strong sense of leadership, integrity, and civic duty. 

Williams’s civic involvement over the years includes treasurer of the Waldo Burton Boys Home, United Way, Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Crime Commission, president of the New Orleans Speech and Hearing Center, and president of the Financial Analysts of New Orleans. He was a member of the Boston Club, the Bienville Club, and the New Orleans Country Club. He was also a member of several Carnival organizations, which he enjoyed immensely, since Carnival was one of his favorite times of the year.   

Williams spent many of his early days at the family’s home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi, where he met and married Joan Hastings Mortimer, who was the daughter of Lucille Minor. The Minor family traces back to Southdown Plantation, a lasting tribute to the sugar industry which nurtured Terrebonne Parish from its infancy.  Williams was married to his beloved and devoted wife, Joan, for 39 years until her untimely death in 1995. He later married Betty Elizardi Bland, with whom he lived until 2014 when he moved to Lambeth House. 

Frank was a fixture in New Orleans, even in his later years after retirement. He could walk downtown, through the Whitney building, into a doctor’s office, grocery store—almost anywhere—and everyone knew his name (even if he couldn’t remember theirs). He greeted everyone with a warm welcome and large smile. His personality was infectious. He made people feel as if each was the most important person in the room, and he rarely met someone he did not like.  He had a true gift for life. His joie de vivre was reflected in his natty attire, and he had the charm and self-confidence to accompany his colorful creations. He always seemed to have a grand time and never let anything, big or small, get him down. 

Williams is survived by his two daughters, Lydia Williams Buckley (husband E. Ross Buckley Jr.) and Lucille Williams Donnelly (husband Kevin J. Donnelly). He is also survived by one grandson, Monroe Brennan Donnelly; two step-granddaughters, Mary Lauren Buckley Schaer (Rob) and Carolyn Stewart Buckley; and two great-grandsons, Nicholas Edward Schaer (with whom “Frankie” bonded instantly) and Andrew Benton Schaer.

He was a “gem” of a man, a true gentleman, and a wonderful father who will be greatly missed. 

A visitation and memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, where he was a lifelong member, in the future once the COVID-19 virus is under control. There will be a private burial the following day. 

A special thank-you to Lambeth House and all of his caregivers, who were absolutely wonderful to him. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Trinity Episcopal Church or Lambeth House.  

—Submitted by the family.

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