Family man, philanthropist, and founder of Williams Securities Group, Inc., Jerry Lee Williams of Tampa, Florida, passed away at age 89 on April 10, 2022. By his side was his devoted wife Jane of 66 years and his loving family.
Jerry’s life was an amazing journey, highlighted by a rewarding career, many avocations, a deep commitment to philanthropy and a lifelong dedication to his family. The cornerstone of his life was Jane – his girlfriend in Elkhart, IN and sweetheart at DePauw University (1954). After graduating in 1956 with an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he and Jane married and moved to Tampa.
Jerry began his career in the investment industry incorporating his own business, Jerry Williams & Co. in 1957, the predecessor of Williams Securities Group, Inc. to provide market making and research for Florida domiciled publicly traded companies. He was a trailblazer when he obtained the first NASDAQ machine in the State of Florida. Jerry was particularly proud of the investment returns of the firm’s clients. In 1980 he served as President of the Florida Securities Dealers Association. In 1990, Jerry was elected to the Board of Governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers. In 2008 he was inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame. One of the true highlights of his career was the opportunity to work alongside his son, Brooke, daughter, Brynne and son-in-law Eric Ebbert.
Waterskiing and boating, beginning on the St. Joe River in Elkhart, were a family passion. In his early 20s he was Midwest Waterski Trick Riding Champion. Always a competitor, he had the good fortune to compete and win trick riding tournaments at Cypress Gardens. He and Jane loved wind-in-face sports – trips from Florida to the Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda, and Maine on their boats as well as family snow skiing vacations, whitewater canoeing and transatlantic crossings. They visited all seven continents – polar bears to icebergs, bicycling in Europe to rounding Cape Horn, African safaris to Japan and China, – they did it all and now Jerry is “Safe in Port”
Playing his trumpet or cornet and singing were hallmarks of Jerry’s life. Jerry always had his pocket trumpet in his suitcase. He had the honor to play with jazz greats Sir George Shearing, Joe Venuti and John Pizzarelli. In addition to these musicians, Jerry, was invited by Dennis Connor, skipper of Stars and Stripes, to join the syndicate’s spectator boat in Fremantle, Australia to play “California Here I Come” as the team brought back the America’s Cup in 1987.
Jerry’s donation of time to the Tampa community was paramount. He served as Board member and Chair, The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay; Board member and Chair, United Way Suncoast; Board member, The Straz Center for the Performing Arts; Board member, University of South Florida Foundation; Capital Campaign Committee, DePauw University; Trustee, The Tampa General Hospital Foundation; He also supported The Tampa Bay History Museum, The Tampa Museum of Art, Meals on Wheels, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, WEDU, and All Sports Community Service. Recently, Jerry and Jane donated their collection of Sammy Davis, Jr. musical scores to The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Jerry was born in Elkhart, IN on September 14, 1932, son of Rollie and Bea Williams. In addition to his wife Jane, Jerry is survived by his sister, Sharon Williams Ubben and his three children Brooke Hunter Williams (Amon), Blythe Williams Ebbert (Eric) and Brynne Williams Shaner (Bill) and his nine adored grandchildren Merrick, Tai, Alina, Toon, Tee, Barrett, Davis, Morgan, and Mallory. Jerry was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, Tampa Yacht & Country Club, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and an honorary Tailhooker.
The family wishes to thank Life Path Hospice for their excellent caring assistance with Jerry’s care.
Jane and family welcome friends to a celebration of life at Jerry and Jane’s home on Saturday, April 30 at 6:00 pm concluding with a farewell toast at sunset, 8:00 pm. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Jerry’s memory be made to any of the following: Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, DePauw University, or a charity of your choice. Parking is limited and valet will be offered, however, ride share is recommended.