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John C. Williams, retired stockbroker

John Craven Williams, 91, of Wayne, a retired stockbroker, died Sunday, Dec. 13, of pneumonia at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne.

John Craven Williams
John Craven WilliamsRead more

John Craven Williams, 91, of Wayne, a retired stockbroker, died Sunday, Dec. 13, of pneumonia at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne.

Mr. Williams started out in the brokerage business with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in 1948. He then became one of the youngest partners at Goodbody & Co. on Wall Street. In a third move, Mr. Williams became business partners with Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame Phillies pitcher, at Cannon & Co.

After making one more move to UBS Financial Services Inc. in Radnor, Mr. Williams retired in 2005. He was one of a small number of stockbrokers who specialized in commodity trading, his family said.

Born in Germantown, he graduated from William Penn Charter School in 1942, and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania's Towne School of Engineering. After a yearlong break to serve in the Army Air Corps, he graduated in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. While at Penn, he pledged Psi Upsilon fraternity.

Mr. Williams married Martha McFadden. The couple settled in Bryn Mawr. They divorced in 1978 after shepherding two children through high school. She died in 1994 at age 69.

In 1981, Mr. Williams married Ann Kalp. They lived in Wayne.

Mr. Williams had a zany sense of humor and a bottomless appetite for boating, fishing, golf, playing bridge, travel, and following the Philadelphia sports teams. He vacationed in Beach Haven, N.J., and on St. Maarten.

"He had a very dry sense of humor, and would often fire off a zinger out of the blue which would catch you off guard. He had a terrific smile and a wonderful laugh. Jack definitely got his money's worth out of life," his family said in a tribute.

For many years, Mr. Williams was a U.S. Tennis Association linesman at the U.S. Open and the U.S. Pro Indoor Tennis Tournament in Philadelphia.

Little appealed to him as much as a road trip with family. The Williamses took two such trips in the 1960s - to California and later Alaska - both with the help of the AAA TripTik route planner.

"The greatest undertaking was our five-week trip from Bryn Mawr to Alaska," the family said. "The Alcan Highway was a gravel road, and the Internet, GPS, Google Maps, MapQuest, bank machines and cellphones were nonexistent.

"Just for the record, we sold the car and flew home, which was the plan. Nobody in their right mind would turn around and drive back."

He met his second wife while performing in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas with the Savoy Company of Philadelphia. The two traveled with the Savoy Company and also visited many countries as a couple.

Besides his wife, Mr. Williams is survived by daughter Lynn Williams Ray; son John C. Jr.; four grandchildren; and two brothers.

A memorial service is to be at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, in the chapel at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Burial is private.

Contributions may be made to the John C. Williams Memorial Fund, Woodlynde School, 445 Upper Gulph Rd., Strafford, Pa. 19087.