S: The Story of Bruce
FC: The Story of Bruce
1: The Story of Bruce as told by Bruce with anecdotes and memories of family and friends. Compiled and organized with love by Signe Anderson
2: Bruce Williams was born on the 19th of January 1932 in Stockton Georgia. Dr. Bruce told his mama to name him Bruce with no middle name and she did; the doctor that delivered his brother had told her to name him George-Owen and she had done that too! She had so many children she ran out of names so let the doctors name the last 2. Bruce was the last of 11 children born to Annie Belle Clark Anderson Williams. His father was Archie Darius Williams, born to Jimmie and Belle Williams of Folkston, Georgia. Archie worked in the turpentine business most of his life. While working at the turpentine still in Stockton Georgia he developed pneumonia and died on 6 February 1934. Bruce was 2 years old at the time. His mother was Annie Belle Clark, born to John Lee Clark and Fannie Lou Phillips of Camden County Georgia on April 27, 1884. She married James Warren Anderson on April 6, 1904. They had 5 children, Martha Lillian, Maggie Belle, Lee Franklin (who died at 4 months), Walter Edgar, and Thomas Alwin. Mr. Anderson died on May 18, 1913 of a heart attack. Annie Belle married Archie on December 27, 1914.
3: Archie and Annie Belle had 6 children, Pearl Irma, Lucy Ernestine, Sydney Eugene, Lacy Alfred, George Owen and Bruce. Annie Belle continued to live in the house in Stockton until her death at the age of 99, October 28,1983 . | Archie and Annie Belle Williams
4: Bruce lived in Blackshear from age 2 until he was around 5 years old when his mama moved back to Stockton, Georgia. Mr Allen, a farmer in Stockton, asked her to come work for him on his tobacco farm in the sheds, handing and stringing tobacco, and she did. Mr Allen helped her find and purchased her house and 5 acres there in Stockton for $200. Over time she paid him back the money. She worked for Mr Allen and Mr Mullis on their farms to earn money, working in both tobacco and cotton. Bruce went to school in Stockton graduating from the 11th grade, 12th grade was not added until 1950. He too began working on the tobacco farms as soon as he was old enough to work. He began by making $1. a day and that increased to $4. a day. He was working for Mr. Mullis mostly. Then a Mr. Banks from Lakeland came asking if anyone could recommend a boy that might help him at his bank. Bruce's name came up and one day Mr. Banks drove up in Bobby Johnson's yard where Bruce and Bobby were throwing a baseball back and forth, and asked Bruce if he'd like to come work for him at the bank. Bruce told him "I don't know nothing about banks." Mr. Banks went on to tell him he could only pay him $17.50 a week which was probably less than what he was making in the tobacco field but that he'd get a 20% bonus at the end of the year. Thus began his long and illustrious banking career at the age of 17.
5: School Pictures!
6: It was 11 miles to the bank in Lakeland from the house in Stockton. To get to work Bruce caught rides with other people going up there until his bother-in-law, Jim Tullis, gave him a bicycle. The bicycle had belonged to Marvin, Bruce's nephew, who had gone off to the Navy. Bruce pedaled that bicycle many miles later adding a motor to it he bought from Dick Allen. Gas was only 25 cents a gallon and a gallon lasted all week! Bruce bought his 1st car from John Tullis (brother-in-law) who was in the Veteran's Hospital~a sanatorium for TB patients ~~ he had been gassed in WW1 and developed tuberculosis ~ It was a 1939 Ford with one seat but it had a trunk, he got it late in 1949. He kept it a while and finally bought a used Mercury from Mr. Banks who also had a car dealership. His first NEW car was a Dodge, also from Mr. Banks. Bruce's banking career began in 1949 as a teller at the Farmer's Merchant Bank in Lakeland Georgia. He worked there for 14 years. Then moved to a position as teller for the 1st State Bank in Valdosta in 1963. He worked his way up to Vice President of the Bank and retired in 2002 as Chairman of the Board. He served the banking community for 53 years retiring at the age of 72.
7: "In the office" Bank "gathering " at the Bank's "Lake House"
9: Some levity at the bank..Hardy (aka Bruce Williams) of Laurel & Hardy, visiting the revered institute.
10: The articles and pictures on these 2 pages are taken from the book "A Century of Service" The One Hundred Year History of First State Bank and Trust Company 1906-2006 Valdosta, Georgia
12: ~ Church Life ~ Bruce has attended Stockton Baptist Church since he was a small child. He would walk with his mama from the house down to the church. Then as a teen he attended a revival held there one summer., and at the end of that 6 day revival he came forward and accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ. He and several other young people were baptized in the Alapaha River just down from the church. He remembers Easter Sunrise services down at the Alapaha too, a bonfire to ward off the chill and singing. Oh yes, Singing!! Bruce was always singing. As part of "The Gospel Trio" he, along with Elsie Johnson, and Smitty Allen sang at churches and gatherings all around the Stockton and Valdosta area, going down into Florida and up to Adel. He was music leader/director for the church for many many years and even when he could no longer see to be the leader, his voice rings loud and clear to offer worship to the Lord. Bruce has held many positions at the Stockton Baptist Church and it has always been an integral part of his life. Treasurer, deacon, Sunday School teacher, Board member, what ever needed doing he'd help to get it done.
13: The Gospel Trio
14: Leading the singing | Bruce on the steps. Snow at Stockton Baptist Church
15: Sunday April 27, 2014 | With the youth for a Valentine celebration.
16: Travel Time! Bruce was a world traveler. Exploring all across the US visiting family and friends as well as many of the wonders this world holds . He visited Hawaii,Washington State going to the top of Mt. Ranier, California seeing San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Nevada and the Grand Canyon, New York's Niagara Falls, Mt Rushmore in South Dakota, Utah's Great Salt Lake, the swamps and coast of Maine, Tennessee - Nashville & the Grand Ole Opry as well as exploring his home state of Georgia and nearby Florida just to name some! | Top of Mt Ranier
17: Okefenokee Park | Tennessee Mountain View
18: Mt Rushmore with tour group. Friends Haywood & SaraMoore were on this trip too.
19: In New York with Jeff Goodrich, Hank Roberts, Jan Roberts (2nd wife) and Bruce Williams (picture probably taken by niece, Deb Roberts Goodrich)
20: Then there were his international travels. Europe: England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Holland. He cruised the Caribbean and traversed the Panama Canal. Asia: China & Japan and his favorite trip: The Holy Land, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. | The camel is smelling Bruce's foot.
21: Wetting his hands in the Dead Sea.
22: Pyramids in Egypt... Dining in Germany
23: Italy to Holland
24: Caught this. 6 1/2lb bass at Lake Buffum, Ft. Meade, Fl. 7/8/85 2013 Family Reunion Stockton | Relaxing at home. | Just Bruce
25: This collage of pictures is from a gift calendar great-grand nephew "Catfish" created for Uncle Bruce one Christmas. | Bruce told me: he used to go with the Holtzclaw girl, they'd babysit her little brother, and that he works in glass now, windows and replacing glass, lives over in Homerville, anyway, he thought he might marry her, but she went off with an Army guy, off down to Florida, and married him. She got a divorce and came back up here, her brother let me know, think they thought I might still want to marry her, but if she didn't want me first, I didn't want her then.
26: Family ~Ancestors and Descendants~ always an important part of Bruce's life. | Annie Belle Clark Anderson Williams ~Mama~ Honor thy father & thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy day may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee. Deut. 5:16
27: The family reunion began as a "Birthday Dinner" for Annie Belle Clark Anderson Williams.
28: ~1946~ Ernestine Williams Roberts, Pearl Williams Bennett, Maggie Anderson Tullis , Lillian Anderson Tullis, Annie Belle Clark Anderson Williams BruceWilliams, George-Owen Williams, Lacy Williams,EugeneWilliams , ThomasAlwin Anderson, Edgar Anderson
29: Walt Anderson took this picture at the 1975 "Birthday Dinner" for Annie Belle then singed the edges and decoupaged it to a piece of wood and gave it to "Grannie" as a gift. | (Inset: Martha Clark Wildes, "Grannie",Lilla Clark Bunch, Arthur Clark) Standing: Ernestine~Maggie~Annie Belle~Pearl~Lillian Kneeling: Lacy ~ George-Owen ~ Bruce ~ Edgar
30: Think it is Lacy , Pearl, Bruce and Edgar Seated is Annie Belle (Grannie), Lillian, Maggie. child? and Aunt Mark seated behind to right. Year?
31: These 2 pictures were taken the day of Annie Belle's Funeral. Oct. 30, 1983 | "Annie Belle's living children" Lillian, Lacy, Bruce, Edgar, George, Maggie, Pearl
32: Gathering at Bruce's House Tim & Sandi Roberts,?,Bill Godfrey, LouiseTullis Godfrey, Lacy Williams, FayeTullis(Marvin),Warren Tullis, Marvin Tullis, BruceWilliams Seated: MaggieTullis , PearlBennett Picture taken in Bruce's house: 3332 Plantation Dr. Valdosta, GA
35: As sand thru the hour glass the grains of our elders are passing thru. We only have two of Annie Belle Clark Anderson Williams children left to attend the annual "Birthday Dinner" or Family Reunion. For now we continue to gather and remember the remarkable legacy Annie Belle left thru her children.
36: and | Shared by and
37: As an "in-law" I learned to know & respect Uncle Bruce only recently. I went to the "Birthday Dinners".. Reunions, so visited for just that short few hours thru the years, never really getting to know Uncle Bruce. Just this year I had the opportunity to change that. I came to know him much better by spending a month with him at his home in Valdosta. A home he is proud of as well as proud to so generously share it with us. Even in the adverse and challenging circumstances he daily lives with, due to health issues, it is easy to see how his determination and dedication to schedules and details have made him a prosperous man. Were he just prosperous he would not be the special man he is though, it is his love of the Lord and his dedicated generosity that make him stand out. He still has some definite and strong ideas about how things should be, some ideas that conflict with todays lax morals and casual manners, ideas that are decidedly "old fashioned" but were some of them still in place there may not be as many problems in this world as there are today. Uncle Bruce told stories of a family that loved large and cared greatly. Helping each other to achieve goals and bear trials to prevail over adversities. Always keeping the Lord first and family following close behind. He is one of the special people that garner great admiration. | Signe Anderson (Walt) 14 July 2014
38: ~April 27, 2014 - Bill Godfrey came up , put his arm around me and whispered in my ear, "I bet you didn't know this about Bruce. when he was a young man, he could pinch blood out of a nickel." Signe Anderson ~ April 30, 2014- Daddy told me this story: There was a family death in Florida and Daddy(Bill Godfrey), Uncle Marvin and Bruce made the trip down. Bruce insisted on paying for everything. When Daddy and Uncle Marvin protested ... his response was "When I was young you all helped me and now I can pay it back". Mary Cockrell There was this woman... she used to fix him plates of food and bring it to him, she was always following him around, Bruce would go "Huhnnn.." . and she just wouldn't get the message. Smitty Allen
39: ~ May 14, 2014-Bruce & Bobbie Bland actually hired me 42 years ago. I consider him the smartest Banker I know and a beloved friend. So many wonderful memories of his being here at First State Bank. -A funny memory that I have. When I was 19 and had just started working here Bruce told me to go get him a paper from a certain cabinet and he used a word for the cabinet that I didn't recognize- now I don't remember don't think it was credenza, but I just had no idea where he wanted me to look I just felt so dumb, but it was so funny. I was rushing around trying to find someone who knew where it was. May God bless you Bruce and take care of you always. Peggy Noble
40: May 16, 2014 - Bruce hired me on Sept. 1, 1981. I was only 19 years old. In Oct, we had the big Lowndes/Valdosta football game and on that Friday we could wear our jeans. So, like everyone else I came to work with jeans on. When I got there, my coworker, Donna Cabral, asked me why I had on jeans and I said because everyone else did. She told me that "Bruce's girls" didn't wear jeans. I just knew I was in trouble. All day long I kept waiting for that "Rebecca" call into the office. Bruce never said a word and from that day on we wore jeans when everyone else did. So I guess you could say that's when I started mellowing Bruce and he started training me!!!! It must have worked because we were together for 20 years!!! The best compliment I have ever been give was when people would call me "Bruce, Jr" Bruce, Thank you for those 20 great years at work and all the years since then. John and I value your knowledge you've shared with us and your friendship. Love ya, Rebecca and John Corbett
41: May 19, 2014 Bruce was my mentor for 10 years at First State Bank and Trust Company of Valdosta. The best piece of advice he gave to me was to always be prepared because you never know when an opportunity will present itself. While he has great insight about banking, Bruce also has a sense of humor. In the early 2000's when a Vice President from Synovus was visiting Valdosta, he asked Bruce how many folks worked at the bank. Bruce replied, "About half of them." I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a part of Bruce's banking team and learning some life lessons through Bruce's teachings. Rules of the Office: Rule #1: The Boss is Always Right Rule #2: See Rule Number One God Bless Bruce Williams, my mentor and Cracker Barrel friend. The girl from Morven, Lynn Asbell
42: May 19, 2014 I have known Bruce for a very long time. I remember him singing and have had the opportunity to work with him for many years. I have learned so much from him, usually after I had done something wrong the first time. I can still hear him telling Rebecca and me that we needed to go back to school after he asked us for some very detailed information on a retirement account for a particular customer. We were trying to help him; we were just not quite as fast and knowledgeable as he had hoped on that day. I am pretty sure he already knew the answer and he was just checking to see if we knew how to find the information. I tried to set him up with a very attractive banker who lived in a nearby town. He informed me he could not afford to date her! Banking and it's processes has changed so much. One thing that has not changed is that it will always be a people business. The people that we serve and the people that we have worked with are what makes banking so wonderful! Everyone should love what they do for a living and Bruce truly loves banking. Even though he has retired, I still love seeing him at Cracker Barrel. Sherry Zipperer
43: Some of my fondest memories of Uncle Bruce are when all of us "cousins" stayed with Granny, Aunt Maggie and Uncle Bruce during the summer. Derious, Mary A., Gary and I usually stayed at the same time. We traipsed all over those woods down there and never thought about all those snakes and such I fear today. Uncle Bruce was brave enough to take us all to the movies. We enjoyed going with him and he didn't have any trouble keeping us in line with that deep voice he had. I remember him singing with the group at church. I loved to hear them sing "Rock of Ages". What a blessing to be raised in such a loving family as I had. Such fine Christian examples lived out before me. You knew without a doubt the love of all the Aunts and Uncles was real. Now, they didn't mind correcting you if it was necessary but it was done in love. Uncle Bruce has helped many of us in many ways and been a true inspiration to me during my life. TommieJean Ricketson ~ July 9, 2014