Thomas Sowell remembers his “best friend for half a century.” Here’s his conclusion:
We may not see his like again. And that is our loss.
Never trying to wow students with his credentials, Williams taught the principles of economics, which he thought of as common sense. Every year, upon completing his Ph.D.-level microeconomics class (no easy feat), Williams treated his students to food and drinks. He was impatient with nonsense, but he was never impatient with the process of learning. The number of students who benefitted from his genius are too many to count. Many of them are now teachers themselves, passing on Williams’ teaching to even more minds.
As Williams persisted well beyond retirement age, his passion for economics undimmed, he was the kind of man that made you say, “He’s going to teach until the day he dies.” On Dec. 1, he taught his last class of ECON 811 to complete the semester, ending the 7:20-10:00 p.m. block around 30 minutes early, as was typical. Fewer than 12 hours later, he died, aged 84. R.I.P.