on April 3, 2013 - 12:17 AM
Feb. 12, 1934 – March 30, 2013
Retired Army Reserve Maj. Henry S. Williams Jr., a laboratory technician, teacher, counselor and founder of the Buffalo Inner City Youth Fan Club for Golfing, died Saturday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga. He was 79.
Maj. Williams earned nationwide recognition for the BICYG program, which he founded in 1993 to use golf to teach at-risk youngsters about math, science, drug prevention, discipline and responsibility and to encourage them to go to college or join the military services. During its 18 years of operation, more than 500 young people took part.
Born in Goldsboro, N.C., he enlisted in the Air Force at age 18. He was sent to medical laboratory school, learned to be a lab technician and was assigned to the medical corps.
After a year in college in North Carolina under the G.I. Bill, Maj. Williams moved to Buffalo with friends and took jobs in the medical labs at Meyer Memorial Hospital, where he became senior biochemistry technician, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Returning to college, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Canisius College in 1966 and became a clinical instructor in medical technology at the University at Buffalo Medical School.
During the next 20 years, Maj. Williams also earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, a master’s degree in health science education and administration, and associate degrees in nursing and mental health counseling.
Serving in the Army Reserve, he attained the rank of major in 1985.
Retiring in 1989 after 30 years in his lab technician jobs and 20 years in the Army Reserve, he became a nurse and drug counselor for Horizon Human Services. Later, he was an adult learning center instructor for the Buffalo Board of Education, a drug and vocational counselor for the Buffalo City Mission, and a GED instructor and transitional counselor at the Erie County Holding Center.
A golfer, he was impressed by the number of young black golfers taking part in a special program in North Carolina and decided to start one in Buffalo. For help, he contacted an officer he knew from Fort Bragg, N.C. – Lt. Col. Earl Woods, father of golf prodigy Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods gave Maj. Williams’ first class a golf clinic when he came here to play in the Porter Cup in 1994.
The BICYG program earned numerous awards, including a Buffalo All-American City Civic Empowerment Award and the Erie County Council on Drug and Alcohol Prevention Award. Maj. Williams also received the Black Achievement Award, the Congressional Recognition Award and the Daniel Acker Community Service Award from the Buffalo Branch NAACP.
A scholarship was established in his name in 2012 for minority students attending Canisius College.
Surviving are his wife of 31 years, the former Mary C. Bonner; a son, Elder Henry L. Sr.; a stepson, the Rev. Stanley Roberts; five stepdaughters, Consandra Hatchett, Barbara Franks, Elder Lisa Roberts, Pastor Rachelle Moses and Xzonnia Young; and a sister-in-kind, Clynethia Smith.
Services will be at noon Friday in Antioch Baptist Church, 1327 Fillmore Ave., after a wake at 10 a.m.