Civic Leader Walter B. Williams of HomeStreet Bank Dies at 85.
"First Citizen" honoree championed home ownership, economic growth and zoos
SEATTLE -- Walter B. Williams, long-time Seattle banker, attorney and former Washington state legislator, passed away yesterday. He was 85.
"My father leaves a legacy of integrity, service and leadership," said Williams' son Bruce W. Williams. Added civic leader Jim Ellis Jim Ellis may be:
Williams was president and chairman of Continental Mortgage and Loan Company (now HomeStreet Bank) from 1963-1990, continuing on as chairman until the mid-1990s. He followed in the footsteps of his father, W. Walter Williams, who was the company's first employee in 1922.
Walter Williams' son, Bruce, is HomeStreet's current chairman and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. ; his daughter, Kathryn Williams Kathryn Williams (born 1974 in Liverpool, England) is a singer/songwriter. Early years
Kathryn Williams is a singer-songwriter whose work is characterised by delicate vocals and acoustic instruments. , is a senior vice president and serves on the HomeStreet Bank board. His two other daughters, Marcia and Wendy Williams Wendy Williams may refer to:
In the nearly 30 years that Williams was president of Continental, he led the company's expansion from a small Seattle real estate lender to a full-service community bank with branches in Western Washington, Oregon and Hawaii. In 1986, he started a subsidiary, Continental Savings Bank savings bank, financial institution that, until recently, performed only the following functions: receiving savings deposits of individuals, investing them, and providing a modest return to its depositors in the form of interest. , rounding out the lender's financial services. He led Continental to be one of the first and largest users of FHA See Federal Housing Administration.
See Federal Housing Administration (FHA). and Ginnie Mae Ginnie Mae: see Federal National Mortgage Association. loan programs for affordable housing, and played a major role in influencing Fannie Mae Fannie Mae: see Federal National Mortgage Association. to delegate underwriting authority to approved lenders.
A Seattle native, Walter Williams graduated from Roosevelt High School Roosevelt High School is the name of various public and independent secondary schools:
A veteran of World War II, he served on the Pacific Islands of Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima as a Japanese Language Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. While overseas, Williams used his skill with the Japanese language to encourage Japanese soldiers to surrender. When Williams was transferred to Japan, he carried letters from the Japanese POWs to their families. Out of that experience, he developed a lifelong friendship with one of the Japanese soldiers. Later, Williams became president and a long-time member of the Japan-American Society of Washington, where he worked to promote goodwill between the two nations.
After the war, Williams attended Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (colloquially, Harvard Law or HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Law is considered one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. , graduating in 1948. He joined the firm of Bogle bo·gle
A hobgoblin; a bogey.
[Scots bogill, perhaps ultimately from Welsh bwg, ghost, hobgoblin. & Gates and became a partner, resigning in 1963 to join Continental.
Walter Williams served two years in the Washington State House of Representatives (1961-1963) and eight years in the State Senate (1963-1971). His interests were in strengthening local government and the Seattle Public Schools Seattle Public Schools refers to the school district of Seattle, Washington, USA. It is the largest public school district in Washington, and the 44th largest in the United States, with 47,449 students in 2002. and in controlling the cost of state government.
Williams was instrumental in the passage of Forward Thrust in the 1960s, a major King County public works program with bond proposals spanning transportation, community, housing, water issues and other publicly financed capital improvements - including $118 million for the purchase, creation and improvement of county parks.
He served as president of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association, the Washington Mortgage Bankers Association and, like his father before him, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He also chaired the Washington Savings League. Williams received a Presidential appointment to serve on the board of directors of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) in 1975-1976.
Williams was also president of several community organizations including the Rotary Club of Seattle, the Economic Development Council of Puget Sound, the Puget Sound Association of Phi Beta Kappa Phi Beta Kappa: see fraternity.
Phi Beta Kappa
Leading academic honour society in the U.S., which draws its membership from college and university students. The oldest Greek-letter society in the U.S. and the Downtown Seattle Association. As DSA (1) (Directory Server Agent) An X.500 program that looks up the address of a recipient in a Directory Information Base (DIB), also known as white pages. It accepts requests from the Directory User Agent (DUA) counterpart in the workstation. president, Williams advocated for construction of the downtown transit tunnel and the Washington State Convention Center.
Williams also served on the boards of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce is a private, membership-based organization that promotes economic prosperity in the metro region of Seattle, Washington, and provides businesses with tools to grow. , the Seattle-King County Municipal League, The Evergreen State College Foundation and Medina Children's Services. He was a founding member of the Washington Roundtable.
One of Williams' great loves was Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo Woodland Park Zoo, which occupies the western half of Seattle's (USA) Woodland Park, near Green Lake, began as a small menagerie on the Woodland Park estate of Guy C. Phinney, Canadian-born lumber mill owner and real estate developer. . In 1984, he was appointed by then Mayor Charles Royer to chair a 50-member Zoo Commission at a time when the Zoo was at a crossroads. The group examined the Zoo's long-range plan and recommended placing a King County Zoo bond issue on the ballot in 1985. Williams chaired the bond campaign, leading it to passage. He then chaired the Zoo Bond Oversight Committee for 10 years, serving as a key player in the Zoo's reconstruction into a world-class facility.
In 1992 the Zoo honored Williams, presenting him with the Woodland Park Zoological Society Medal for his many years of work and his contributions to the Zoo's goals of education, conservation, wildlife research and recreation. In 2002, HomeStreet Bank and Williams' four children made a $250,000 Capital Fund contribution to the Jaguar Exhibit in honor of himself and his wife, Marie Williams.
In 1997 Williams was honored as First Citizen, an annual award honoring a King County resident who has provided outstanding public service and leadership. Williams' father was named First Citizen in 1945.
Williams' wife of 60 years, Marie, passed away in September of this year. All four of their children - Kathryn Williams, Bruce Williams, Marcia Williams and Wendy Williams - reside in Seattle.
Donations in Walter Williams' memory may be made to Woodland Park Zoo.
About HomeStreet Bank
HomeStreet Bank, one of the region's largest privately owned banks, has assets of $2.38 billion and a network of 30 branches in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. HomeStreet offers a full range of financial services - including business banking, business lending, consumer banking, mortgage lending, residential construction financing, income property financing, and insurance services. Each year, HomeStreet contributes two percent of its pre-tax profits to community organizations. While the extended Williams family owns the majority of HomeStreet stock, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan is the single largest shareholder. In 2006, the first fourth-generation member of the Williams family, Glory Beijar, joined the holding company board.
NOTE TO EDITOR: Two photos are available: (1) business headshot of Mr. Williams, and (2) photo taken in the 1980s at Woodland Park Zoo showing Mr. Williams with one of the elephants benefited by the Zoo bond.