We have lost a really, really good man.
Garlan "Gar" Williams of Hudson, Florida died April 26, 2012 at the age of 61 after a three year battle with cancer.
Gar and his wife Tammy were the folks in charge of the annual Angelus Country Concert and Golf Tournament event in Tampa, Florida. Working with Charlie Daniels and so many others, they raised a lot of money to help keep the Angelus open and caring for non ambulatory kids and adults. Read all about the Angelus here.
Anyone wishing to remember Gar may make donations to The Angelus or HPH Hospice.
I am posting the thoughts of a few of the Angelus regulars in tribute to a life lived well. A man who would give the shirt off of his back to help others. A man I was blessed to know for the past 14 years.
A HERO: By CHARLIE DANIELS
A little piece of my heart resides in the Tampa Bay area at a place called The Angelus where some special people are taken care of with a kind of love and selflessness that you rarely run across this day and age.
The reason I say that is because The Angelus provides care for people who truly cannot take care of themselves because of physical and mental disorders that leave them wheelchair bound, some of them unable to even speak and totally incapable of taking care of even their most basic hygiene needs.
Dave and Pauline Shaffer and their son Joe oversee the care and the constant needs of 30 or more "clients" as they call them, though I think patients would be a more descriptive term, as their every need is a hands-on proposition morning, noon and night.
Constant, demanding and largely thankless for anybody who is not totally devoted to doing the Lord's work.
As is the case with most of these shelters in the storm, there is never enough money to go around and it's seldom want to or need to, but have to, that governs the budget leaving little for the small extras that can help brighten the lives of people who, spend 24 hours a day in bed or a wheelchair
Though there are many good people involved in donating and raising funds for The Angelus, nobody has ever been more faithful and devoted to the cause than Gar and Tammy Williams, who over the course of many years have given their money, their time and their hearts and souls to make life a little better for some people who fly below almost everybody's radar.
Organizing events, coordinating logistics, contacting artists to do concerts, attracting golfers to play in the tournaments, securing sponsors, seeing to the needs of scores of participants and guests, and the list goes on and on, and they tirelessly attended to each detail, seeking no glory and asking no thanks.
After a long battle with cancer, Gar Williams went home this morning, leaving a rich legacy of service to his fellow man and more friends than can be counted.
Gar Williams was a man's man, an imposing, larger than life ex-pro football player whose gentleness was touching, whose energy was boundless and whose heart was several sizes larger than most.
To say Gar will be missed is an understatement, it's hard to imagine going to Tampa for our annual event and not getting a bear hug and spending time with one of my favorite people.
I loved Gar Williams and the many good deeds he left behind will be long remembered.
To Tammy and the family,
Hazel, Charlie, Jr., myself, and all of The CDB organization extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences.
Rest in peace, buddy.
Your friend and admirer,
(Reprinted from Charlie's Soapbox at charliedaniels.com
FROM GUY GILCHRIST - NANCY Cartoonist and Recording Artist. An Angelus Regular
Gar having a lunchtime meeting with Danny Shirley of
Confederate Railroad during the 2007 Angelus event.
(Michael Buffalo Smith Photo)
It was always about the Angels of The Angelus, wasn't it, Gar? All about loving them so much. All about the feeling they give you when they look at you so happy and so so loved. Charlie, Doug, Danny, you brought us all together to feel that. To know God's love filling my heart right here on Earth during my lifetime....so I wouldn't have to wait to get to Heaven to feel that kind of love. Now, you've gone there before me, Gar. And I've got to try and be joyous for you. You are beyond the pain and get to be with the angels forever. But, I'm telling you....man....it's a rough day down here on Earth today. Gar...we'll see each other again, and laugh again. My love to Tammy, and my Angelus family. - Guy Gilchrist
FROM THE CHARLIE DANIELS WEBSITE
The CDB family wishes to extend their condolences to Tammy Williams over the loss of her husband Gar, who passed away on April 26th after a long battle with cancer.
Gar and Tammy have been huge supporters of The Angelus in Hudson, FL over the years, and have helped raise countless dollars to help keep it operating.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tammy. Gar will be sorely missed.
To learn more about The Angelus and how to help support the work they do, go to: http://www.theangelus.com
FROM MICHAEL BUFFALO SMITH
The last conversation I had with Gar.
(Photo by Tammy Williams)
From the first time I was introduced to you some 14 years ago at my very first Angelus event, I thought the world of you. A big man, a towering figure, a former pro football hero. A gentle giant with a heart as big as Texas.
Over the years I have had so many good times at the Angelus events, playing music in the Lobby Bar, jamming late at night with all of my Southern Rock and country heroes, and onstage during the big concerts with Doug and Marshall Tucker, The Charlie Daniels Band and others. One thing I remember most is feeling so special when you gave me the big Gar smile, and the many times you thanked me for my tiny contribution and complemented me on my music and writing. You had a way of making us all feel like rock stars.
When Tammy told me three years ago about your cancer, I broke down and cried. That is, until I saw you a while later at the Angelus event and I was made to feel so good by your simple words when I told you I was sad, “Well, I'm ready whenever it is my time. Until then, I am going to just keep doing what I do and trying help these kids any way I can.” Selfless. Wow. I want to be more like you Gar.
I had no idea that that night in the big tent for the banquet would be the last time I would speak to you. I didn’t attend the two years after that, but was so excited that I am coming back this year. I was looking forward to seeing you again. The thing is, I may not see you, but I guarantee you I will feel your presence. Your spirit will be felt at Angelus from now on.
Well. I will let you go now. I am sure you hare to visit with Tommy Crain, Taz DiGregorio, Rene Gray and all the other friends who have crossed over. Tell them all ol’ Buffalo says hello, and when my time comes brother, I will see you in the light.
To Tammy, I know you will be fine. You are one tough lady. I know you will miss your sweet man, but I know you will keep moving forward with your life’s work, just like Gar would want. God bless you darlin.’ I’ll see you in December.
With a heavy heart, Michael Buffalo
Lisa Rae Shekter, Bill Goldberg, Gar and Hulk Hogan at the Angelus event.
(Photo courtest Lisa Shekter)