The Late Senator Strom Thurmond's First Grandson Is Dead at 63

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Essie Mae Washington-Williams' eldest son dead at 63

October 8th Senator Strom Thurmond's first grandson, Julius Thomas Williams III, died after a long battle with lung cancer. He was born on February 9, 1949 in Coatesville, PA. The eldest of four children, Mr. Williams was the son of the late Julius Thomas Williams II and Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond. Mr. Williams worked for the Seattle Department of Transportation for 27 years. He is survived by his six children, a brother Dr. Ronald Williams and two sisters Wanda Williams-Bailey and Monica Hudgens.

"My brother deeply admired our mother for her strength, wisdom and devotion as a single parent," explains Wanda Williams-Bailey, "He was supportive during and after her announcement."

In 2003 Mrs. Washington-Williams formally announced at a press conference in South Carolina that she is the bi-racial daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond and the late Carrie Butler, who worked as a house servant for the Thurmond family. After The Washington Post broke the story, Mrs. Washington-Williams made a number of television appearances and later authored the book Dear Senator – A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond (HarperCollins Publishers, 2005).

Mr. Williams was preceded in death by his father, Julius II, who was active with the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s and practiced law for the NAACP. He was a long-time friend of Reverend Martin Luther King. While in his early teens, Mr. Williams met King on several occasions when the Reverend visited his father's office.

Senator Thurmond played host to Washington-Williams and her children on a visit to a church in Los Angeles, California, and had a brief one-on-one conversation with Julius III who was fully aware that Strom Thurmond was his grandfather.

A private memorial will be held in honor of Julius Williams III. Donations may be made to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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