Early on Monday morning, July 15, 2019, God called Edward Claxton Williams, 90, to come and live with Him. Ed is now with his Lord and Savior and resting in His arms, free of pain and suffering. Ed was born in the year of the great stock market crash, May 1, 1929 in Cumby, Texas to Cecil and Beulah (Edmonds) Williams. He grew up in Cumby except for a couple of years during WWII when they lived in Texarkana, where his father worked for Red River Arsenal. His father passed away there. Ed, his mother, sister and brother returned to Cumby, where Ed attended Cumby schools, graduating Cumby High School in 1947. He attended Hardin-Simmons University for a year and then enlisted in military service. He was trained as an air traffic controller, but someone learned he was a talented artist and he spent most of his 7-year military career in Tokyo, Japan writing and illustrating for the Stars and Stripes military publication in the same building where Gen. Douglas McArthur had offices. Ed was honorably discharged from the Army in Dec. 1954. Upon returning to the States, Ed resumed his college career and graduated from East Texas State University (now known as Texas A&M Commerce). He attended University of California, Berkley and University of Texas at Austin for graduate studies. He accepted a teaching position in Port Arthur in 1956. It was there he met his future wife, Mary Jane Hooper, also a teacher. After a few years teaching, Ed decided on a career change, applied for Civil Service in Washington, D.C., was accepted and assigned to Pusan, South Korea. Ed and Mary Jane planned their wedding long-distance and two weeks after his return to the States, they were married June 16, 1962 in Garrison, Texas. By this time, Ed had become a well-known artist and had won several awards and recognition, including having articles/columns published in art magazines. Ed and Mary Jane moved to Houston, where they both taught school and Ed was an illustrator for NASA during the Mercury Space Program. He illustrated a man walking in space 10 years before it happened. Their son, John, who has been the light of their lives, was born in Houston in 1966. In February, 1967, Ed got a call from Washington, D.C. offering him a position in Panama. He accepted it, and he, Mary Jane and 7-month-old John went to Panama and served there for 6 years. In 1972, Ed was assigned to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He retired there in 1989, having served with the Department of the Army (Dept. of Defense) for 30 years. After Mary Jane retired in 1994, they returned to East Texas settling in Tyler to be near John and his family. Ed spent his last years enjoying his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and church. He looked forward to the 4th Monday of each month, when he delivered Meals on Wheels with Dean Fuller. He was a member of Green Acres Baptist Church, where he was an inactive deacon and he and Mary Jane were group leaders in John Childs' Sunday school class. Ed and his friend Grady Barr made coffee for the class for many years. He also enjoyed going to the prayer room each week. Ed volunteered at the Salvation Army, working and having coffee with Larry King, Jonathan LeBleu, Jim Jenkins, Bill Strother, Randall Grooms, Bert Jenkins and many others. Ed was active in Kiwanis Alpha Chapter, where he served as president, and East Texas Historical Fire Society, where the members restore antique fire engines. Ed painted numerous watercolor paintings depicting Tyler fire stations and various fires in Tyler throughout the years. He was named by David Crim "the Norman Rockwell of the Fire Society." Ed is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Jane; son, John; daughter-in-law, Robyn; 5 grandchildren, Alexis "Lexi" Wagner and husband Ken, Benjamin, Samuel, Aaron and Katherine "Kate" (who he lovingly called "Katherine the Great"); 2 great-grandchildren, Eden and Warren Wagner; sister, Betty Herrington of Baytown; sister-in-law, Dena Williams of Chattanooga, TN; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Tom Williams; brother-in-law, Leanard Herrington; niece, Pam Herrington Stackpole; and grandson, Jacob Murdoch Williams. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the Stewart Family Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. David Dykes officiating, assisted by Rev. Glenn Jones. Visitation with the family will follow the service at the funeral home. Contributions may be made to The Hospice of East Texas Foundation, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, 75701; Green Acres Baptist Church Building Fund, 1607 Troup Hwy., Tyler, 75701; the Salvation Army, 633 N. Broadway, Tyler, 75702 or the charity of your choice, in memory of Ed.

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