Burrell (Burl) J. Williamson, Jr., age 75, died January 1, 2019. To everyone who knew him, Burl was the ultimate soldier, approaching life with the stamina and fight required to regain his strength following a severe aneurysm in early 2012. Burl was passionate about many things: his propane business, the Clinton community, the Dark Horses, life on the water, his faith, his family and his many friends.
When his father created Williamson Gas Company in 1938, the business became the first to offer propane in Sampson, Johnston, Duplin and Pender Counties. In 1964 Burl assumed the leadership of the family business at age 21. Immediately he became an industry trail blazer by staying on top of the most advanced technologies in the industry. Wanting to find ways to grow a better tobacco plant, Burl crafted a business plan which lead to the development and implementation of the company's greenhouses. In 2010 he personally spearheaded a combined heat and research project with North Carolina State Engineering Department that used propane as a preferred energy source. His company's growth model is exemplified by the saying, "Find a need and fill it."
Burl attended East Carolina College and Hardbarger Business College. He served as past president of the North Carolina Propane Gas Association as well as chair of the organization's Technology and Innovations Committee. In September 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the organization. He was a member of Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church for 40 years where he served as deacon. His devotion to his God and to his church family was obvious to all.
Burl's involvement in the Clinton community is illustrated by the many organizations he served. He was a founding member of the Sampson Agri-Exposition Center Committee, president of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, president of the NC Grape Growers Association, board member of American Savings and Loan, owner and operator of 0-Boy-Will Marine Sales, recipient of the Dark Horse football Lifetime Achievement Award, and recipient of the Clinton Chamber Outstanding Member of the Year. He was also a famous Santa in the Clinton Christmas Parade as well as a scout master.
Burl was preceded in death by his parents Burrell J. Williamson, Sr. and Elma Lanier Williamson and one sister Pauline Pruitt. He is survived by his wife of 40 years Constance Barefoot Williamson; his children Trent (Jacqueline), Tyson, and Burl Williamson Ill (Lizzie); a grandson Raleigh; sisters Faye Little of Ocala, Florida and Jane Teague of Raleigh; many nieces and nephews; his special companion Tide; as well as his family of caregivers Shelton Ray, Joyce Hewett, Dorothy Scrivner, Shirley May Williams, and Debbie Williford.
Visitation will be in the Fellowship Hall of Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church, 201 Fayetteville St., on Thursday, January 3, 2019, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 4, 2019 at Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church, 201 Fayetteville Street, Clinton, NC 28328 or to Clinton High School Athletic Boosters, P.O. Box 641, Clinton, NC 28329.
Royal-Hall is honored to serve the Williamson family.