The following article was originally published in the Extension Cord Newsletter, December 2009, written by Shannon Magsam, freelance writer for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.
Add all their years together and Jerry Williams, his father and his brother have 110 years of service to the state of Arkansas in agriculture.
Williams and his brother Kenneth grew up on a University of Arkansas agriculture experiment station in Crittenden County where their father, Wallace, was resident director. Kenneth was staff chair in Ashley County for many years. Both brothers retired from Extension within a year of each other.
Williams retired five years ago after 31 years with Extension.
Before beginning work as an assistant Extension entomologist in Phillips and Monroe counties, Williams attended the University of Arkansas and earned a master’s degree in entomology. He then got a direct commission into the Army Medical Service Corps as a medical entomologist, first stationed in the states and then in Korea. He focused on preventative medicine during the Vietnam War.
He began working for Extension in 1973. After just a few months as assistant Extension entomologist, he was promoted to agriculture agent in Phillips County. He served in that same position in Arkansas County until accepting a post as pest management specialist in Mississippi County.
Williams was then promoted to staff chair in Lincoln County, where he remained for over five years before moving back to Helena, where he was staff chair for 16 years.
Williams became interested in entomology through 4-H. He recalled the year he won the state with his project on harmful insects. He collected the insects and showed the different parts and stages of growth. He also included insecticide samples that would eliminate each pest.
“Those were mailed to me,” he said. “They wouldn’t send those to a kid now.”
Bugs brought Williams and his wife, Christine, together. They met at the University of Arkansas while he was in graduate school and she was an undergraduate raising the insects that he was working on in the entomology department.
They married seven weeks before he was sent to Korea for a year with the Army Medical Service Corps. She’s a retired schoolteacher and they have a daughter, Tammy Tucker, who is the communications director for the University of Arkansas’ Alumni Association.
Williams is president of the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the U of A Alumni Association. He’s also treasurer of the Bentonville Noon Rotary Club.
To reconnect with Jerry Williams, contact him at 479-876-1063, 20 Abingdon Lane, Bella Vista, Ark. 72715, williamc5263 @sbcglobal.net.